Seventy years of Musical Society

Principles and chorus from Banbridge Musical Society's widely acclaimed show, Me And My Girl, from May 2013.
Principles and chorus from Banbridge Musical Society's widely acclaimed show, Me And My Girl, from May 2013.

It’s party time for Banbridge Musical Society as they celebrate their 70th birthday this year with a gala ball.

The group was formed as the Banbridge Choral Society in 1943 when they performed many choral pieces as well as Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

In the 1970s the move to musical theatre provided a broader range of shows and pantomimes to be performed, as well as an amendment to the name.

Over the years the group has produced many budding thespians who have gone on to greater heights. Tony Finnegan is now a professional actor/director and Niall Wilkinson and Tanya Shields are both professional actors.

Niall, who uses the stage name Niall White, said, “My seven very happy years with the society provided me with invaluable experience and a love of theatre which inspired me to train as a professional actor.”

Off the stage a hearty band of volunteers, from stage manager to backstage crew, give every performance that magic touch according to chairperson, Rosemary Kelly.

She said, “I have had many wonderful times with the society and have been immensely proud of all their achievements over the years. To my fellow committee members, a sincere word of thanks for your support and hard work. Finally and most importantly, to our audience, thank you for your support, for without you there would be no Banbridge Musical Society.

“Nothing would be possible without the guidance and expertise of the professionals; director, choreographer, musical director, company pianist, lighting team and sound engineer.”

Leonard Anderson added that it has been a pleasure and an honour to direct and choreograph for the society.

“It’s actually been a long association as my first show with Banbridge Musical Society was ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ back in the 80s.

“It’s wonderful to be involved with the company in their 70th anniversary year. Banbridge Musical Society deserves huge success as they are committed and work extremely hard to produce quality shows that Banbridge and the greater area can be proud of.”

The society plans to celebrate at a gala ball in the Belmont Hotel on Friday, September 27 at 7.30pm for a drinks reception followed by a meal. Music by the Riviera Swing Band. The cost is £40 per person. Anyone interested should contact Denise Bryson on 07936 775576.