Antrim Community Choir ended its summer season with two tea parties. First, Honorary Chairperson Marie Mulholland received an invitation from Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, to represent the choir at the Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday 24 June.
TV news a few nights before the event revealed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh happened to be visiting Northern Ireland at the same time, resulting in an “Aha!” moment, and out came the extra-smart hat and dress ensemble.
Marie and her guest, our Honorary Treasurer Adele Carroll, were among the first to arrive, and as they enjoyed their afternoon tea they noticed a double row of white lines laid out on the grass around the brass band. Sure enough they were soon told that if they found seats close to the outer line they would be right in front when the Royal guests greeted visitors.
A beautiful posy made by Linda O’Kane of Flowers On My Table was taken by a lady-in-waiting who assured Marie that it would be given to Her Majesty. Rumour has it that she not only had a good sniff, but also read out loud the discreet little ribbon that had both the choir’s name and Linda’s business name printed on it! Fame at last…
Retiring Chief Constable of the PSNI, Matt Baggott, and his wife stopped to exchange pleasantries as did Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Peters, who was very interested in the all-inclusive concept of the choir. On behalf of Antrim Community Choir, Marie and Adele would like to thank whoever it was who nominated the choir to receive this invitation. It was an honour and a privilege and an afternoon they will never forget.
The second tea party followed our last Delusions of Grandeur engagement before the summer break, courtesy of choir member Jane’s friend, Marie McKinley. We had glorious weather on Sunday 29 June for our performance at Dunluce Castle, where the tourists outnumbered us, including a Japanese coach party who filmed us as we sang The Parting Glass for our hostess. Who knows? The choir’s business card handed to them might result in an invitation to visit Japan!
The Delusions of Grandeur Tour is drawing to a close, with our final two engagements after the summer break taking place at the Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple on Sunday 24 August, and back home in Antrim at Shane’s Castle on Sunday 28 September.
We already have our next project in planning stages and look forward to sharing it with you at a later date.