Ulster organists enjoy a trip back in time at Larne-hosted AGM

Organists took a step back in time on a recent visit to the historic church of St Cedma’s, Larne.
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The Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters (USOC) held their annual general meeting in the church, where they were got to see and hear the oldest church organ in Larne. They were also reminded of a visit to the town by their predecessors.

USOC is a forum for church musicians and enthusiasts of all denominations in Northern Ireland. Dr Mark McKinty, director of music at St Cedma’s, explained to the visitors the Conacher Organ was inaugurated in September 1881.

Members also heard USOC visited St Cedma’s on Saturday, April 24, 1954 with the AGM marking almost 70 years since that event. The late George Beattie was the organist on that occasion. Mr Beattie’s daughter, Patricia McKinley-Hutchinson, who was present at the AGM, was a member of the choir at the 1954 Evensong.

The Mayor, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, welcomes the USOC to Larne Town Hall. Photo courtesy of Mark McKintyThe Mayor, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, welcomes the USOC to Larne Town Hall. Photo courtesy of Mark McKinty
The Mayor, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, welcomes the USOC to Larne Town Hall. Photo courtesy of Mark McKinty

USOC’s current president is Matthew Owens, who is music director of the Ulster Consort, Northern Ireland’s newest professional vocal and instrumental ensemble; conductor of the Belfast City Chorus and associate director of the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys, in Michigan, USA.

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His fellow officers are: president-elect Alf Casement, music director, Gilnahirk Presbyterian; hon. secretary Michael Tregenna, director of music, Parish of St Paul & St Barnabas, Belfast and hon. treasurer Dr Mark McKinty.

Members also attended a reception in Larne Town Hall hosted by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, followed by a meal in Chekkers.

Details of the society’s forthcoming events will be advertised on the Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters Facebook page.

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