• Belfast Between The Wars

CONCERTS IN THE PARKS: POPULAR INNOVATION IN BELFAST

Belfast News-Letter, Thursday 25th June 1925


An innovation which met with much approval by the citizens of Belfast was the open-air concert given by the Orpheus Male Choir in the Botanic Gardens Park last evening. The Parks and Playground Committee of the Corporation are desirous of making the public parks an attractive rendezvous for even greater numbers of people than are at present in the habit of using them, and by encouraging these evening concerts they are working along the right lines. In England musical entertainments in the parks of the great cities have proved exceedingly popular and the success which attended last night’s performance which was the first of the kind in Belfast, show that a regular series of these concerts would be much appreciated here. The committee hope that the various choirs and other musical organisations in the city will come forward and help them in carrying through a scheme which will give much pleasure to the community.


There was an enormous crowd around the newly-erected band-stand in the charming gardens, which are now looking their best in all the glory of their summer garb, and although a large number of chairs were provided inside the enclosure, it was only those who arrived early who were fortunate enough in securing seats. The programme, however, was of such an interesting nature that no one minded standing, and the applause which followed every item indicated that the large audience were enjoying themselves thoroughly.


Councillor Albert Hodgen, J.P., chairman of the Parks and Play Grounds Committee, who presided, said the members of that committee were doing their best to make the public parks attractive and beneficial to the citizen, not only from the point of view of those who took advantage of the ground for the purposes of football, cricket, tennis, bowls, or hockey, but from an educational and artistic point of view, by providing music, which had, until now, been limited to bands. They were, however, anxious that the music should be varied by the introduction of vocal programmes, and wished it to be publicly known that they were prepared to afford every facility to choirs who were willing to give their services in order to help to add to the happiness of others. That evening he had the honour to introduce the Orpheus Male Choir, who, through their esteemed, capable, and energetic conductor, Mr. Cromie, were the first volunteers. The choir needed no commendation from him. It had long since established its reputation, and he was sure that the experiment launched that evening would prove so successful that the public would cry out for repetitions. (Applause.)


The part songs by the choir were admirably rendered under Mr. Cromie’s direction, and the voices carried well on the still air of a glorious summer evening. Messrs. E. Rosbotham, E. McCrisken, and W. Stewart were the soloists, and violin solos were contributed by Mr. R. Ferguson. The accompaniments were efficiently played by Mr. H. Porter.


To view a selection of historic images of Botanic Gardens on National Museums NI's website click here.