The Ulidian Singers
"Finest choir of the century."

Modified DATE 18th August 2013

This is a contact message to all Ladies who were members of the Ulster Girls Choir at any time during it's long and glorious history.

Carole Lucas ( née Taylor) and Barbara Millen ( née Scott ) Marion Hanna ( née Scott),
Taken 1st February 2009 at St Mary's Comber, at dedication of Cistercian Window and South Transept.

These three ladies are beginning a quest to find material to include for publication on this preliminary web Site. If you have any photographs that you could lend for scanning into the computer and just as important the names of the Ladies and Girls. All such items will be treated with the utmost care and returned to the owner within a matter of days.

LATEST CONTACT: Lillian Black (nee Cree) currently living in London, Ontario, Canada.

UPDATE August 2013.
A letter from Maureen Nicholl has been added to Page 3 August 2013.
A new page consisting of 21 New pictures has been added. This additional page has been made possible by the photographs and information supplied by Lillian Cree (nee Black) who kindly sent them to me from her private collection.


The Ulster Girls' Choir arriving in Holland.
1 Linda Anderson. 2 Possibly Maureen McCullough. 3 Beryl Lavery. 4 is Jackie McKay 6 Irene Halligan. 7 Barbra Russell,
14 Margaret Hughes. 16 Agnes Campbell. 17 is Maureen McVeigh. Behind #17 is Amy Dean. 18 ? #19 is Lillian Black?.
22 Dorothy Mayes. ??. Between 17 and 24 Anne Nee Riddle or maybe Anne Crann. In front of #23 is Doreen Caldwell.
#24 is Bertha McGowan. Updated 25July 09.

HI Adrian,This is the picture I have been trying to find and at long last I have. It's off the choir arriving in Holland. Front Row: Linda Anderson, I think her name is Patricia (cannot remember her surname) Beryl, myself Joan, Irene and Carol Houston. Anderson and Houston are there Maiden names. I'll keep on searching and will send you anything I find. Hope this finds you well. How is your hunt going on? I keep checking the web but I don't see anything new. I've been in touch with Beryl a few times and she has pictures. Did she send you any?
Ivan and Jacqueline Christie

Many Thanks for this wonderful picture, Marion was delighted and so will the other ladies of the Choir. The hunt is progressing slowly it comes and goes in pulses. I have been promised some information and pictures by other ladies but little has arrived this is why few updates have been made to this page. 1262 People have visited the page since I put the "Hits Counter" on the page in February which is excellent. I have attached numbers to the ladies in the hope we can identify a few more. Naturally it will be the maiden names which will be remembered first then over time I can attach the married names. Once again, Thank You for the picture.
Kindest Regards

    Several ladies of the choir who emigrated to Canada are in contact.    
Interesting stories about the members would help to paint a picture of this choir.
It must be stated that during the many years of this choirs existence they brought a wide variety of music to many thousands of people. They were rated as the "finest choir of the century" by those who associated in music circles.
Once this web page begins to take shape anyone interested is invited to download it and save it to their own computers so that their memory is never lost.
This page has rapidly become quite large and really requires a broadband connection so please be patient while it downloads all those wonderful memories.
It should be noted that this is the only site on the internet dealing solely with the History of the Ulster Girl's Choir. The E-Mail contact address is shown in the box below and should be typed into your E-Mail address line.

With each individual members permission I will swap E-Mail addresses so that they can make direct contact with one another. I don't want to publish E-Mail addresses on the Web Site as published addresses are liable to attract SPAM. It would be wise if address swapping was done using me as a filter. I am well used to receiving dozens of SPAM E-Mails every day and can delete the spurious ones at source.
The address must be typed exactly as shown including the < and > signs. It is an image and cannot be cut and pasted.
LATEST CONTACT Jacqueline Christie
Hi Adrian...I am very excited and pleased to see all the familiar faces in the choir. I am #31 in the picture. The picture is #1 Ladies of the Ulster Girls Choir. Strand Pres. Church
I have some pictures that I will gladly send to you when I find them. I believe their of the visit to Canada and Holland. I would love to be able to email anyone who would like to do the same. It would be nice to catch up. Keep up the good work.
Someone asked if I married Ivan Christie the boxer and yes I did in Nov. 1966.
Ivan and I have lived in Canada for the last 32 years.
Jacqueline Christie

Adrian G. Hanna, 39 Dalton Crescent,
Comber, N. Ireland, BT23 5HE.
Telephone 02891 874224.
Editor SIXGOLDS Page at:-

Picture No 1 Ladies of the Ulster Girls Choir. Strand Presbyterian Church
1 Linda Walsh. ( née Anderson) 2 Doreen Millar (Quigg) 3 Elizabeth McDowell. 4 Menai Pinkerton (née Jones)
5 ?  6 Rae Graham 7 Linda Mason ( née Dowds) 8 Christine Forsythe.
9 Elizabeth Donaghy. 10 Jeannette Patterson (née Johnston) 11 Gretta Phillips. ( née Stothers) 12 ?
13 Margaret Stinson ( née Hughes) 14 Rosemary Edgworth ( née Bunting) 15 Mona Lusk ( née Hill) 16 Dorothy Mayes
17 ? 18 Anne Malloy ( née Dowds) 19 Lilian Black 20 Caroline Wilson ( née Dougan)
21 Patricia Dalzell ( néeScott) 22 Rosaleen Scott 23 Agnes Irvine ( née Campbell) 24 ?
25 June McIlmoyle ( née Berry) 26 Shirley McNeill ( née Ringland) 27 Joan Parker 28 Marion Scott (Hanna) 
29 Anne McNiece 30 Joan Saunders ( née Flynn) 31 Jacqueline Christie, ( née McKay) 32 Helen Anderson
33 Dorothy Boyd 34 Maureen O'Hara 35 Rosemary Dilworth 36 Margaret Simpson
37 Anne Todd ( née Thompson) 38 Rosemary Dowds 39 Carole Taylor (Lucas)  40 ?
41 Beryl Friar (née Lavery) 42 Elizabeth Thompson ( née Cully) 43 Margaret Brown 44 Sandra Potter 
45 Amy Dean  46 Christine Moore 47 Barbara Russell 48 Maureen Nicholl ( née McVeigh)
49 Irene Halligan a. Anne Crann ( née Riddell)  

Every picture has a number and every girl a number within that picture and the way to identify a person is:-
Picture 1 No 28 is Marion Scott (Hanna).
Unfortunately the pictures are not in the correct sequence, I have changed the order of the page (chronologically) and the pictures needed to be moved. I have also changed the content of some of the pictures so hit your refresh icon or press key F5 to fully update your computer with the new images.

Picture added 5th March 2009 by kind permission of Jacqueline Christie née McKay.

Boxer Ivan Christie with some of the Choir Girls relaxing at a concert given
after the Empire Games team returned to Belfast from Australia 1962.
It should be noted that Ivan Christie fought as a Light Heavyweight and represented Ireland in the 1962 VII British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. He returned home with a Bronze medal which was an outstanding achievement. He was trained by his father Hans Christie in the South Belfast Club.

Picture added 5th March 2009 by kind permission of Jacqueline Christie née McKay.

The Ulster Girls Choir in Holland 1963.
Note the white handbags and immaculately tailored suits with every hem at exactly the same height.


What follows is a document typed by the Lady herself, Irene G. Browne sometime during November 1970. I have done my best to make it look like the original, just as she typed it. The paper has become slightly yellow with age and the typewriter font face cannot be replicated in HTML but it's as close to the original as I can make it. The document was sent to me by a couple that I have been friendly with for the last 40 odd years;-Ann and Drew Todd. Ann's maiden name was Thompson she is No 37 in Picture No 1.

This was probably a farewell speech by Irene to the Ladies and Girls of the Ulster Girls' Choir. It is totally understated but the underlying emotion and love for the girls of the choir comes through. She was never one to allow her emotions to be seen in public, but she must have had a big lump in her throat. I would say that she lived by the maxim;- "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." or "I only show emotion when someone sings out of tune."

Page 1


Page 2

Having started in Strand Presbyterian Church as a small Primary Choir to help the Sunday School, the numbers increased so rapidly That in a very short time, 150 girls and boys aged 14 years to 18 years were meeting weekly for practices.

There were 4 choirs :- Strand Junior Girls’, Strand Senior Girls’, Strand Boys’ and Strand Intermediate Girls’. On Saturday Mornings several of the members met in the Church Lecture Hall For elocution, drama, singing games and mimes, all great fun but it helped instil in those young minds and hearts, the love of beauty and culture and to realise the good use they could make of the talents that God had so generously given them.

At the time it was the strongest and only Youth organisation of its kind in any Church in the Province.

We had out triumphs at music festivals throughout the Province, Winning many cups and trophies. The highlight in those far off days was holding a Display to get enough money to hire buses to Take all the choirs to the Portstewart Festival.

Then came invitations to sing in the Assembly Hall, to give concerts in aid of Dr.Barnardos Homes. The Lord Roberts Memorial Workshop and Forces Help Society, the N.S.P.C.C., Malcom Sinclair Home for Spastics etc., and to visit Scotland. Many and varied were the calls upon the time and talents of the choir until in 1950 it was no longer feasible to keep the choir going as a Church organisation. A new name was a problem until out of the blue came an invitation to sing at the opening of a new Dr. Barnardos Home at Whitehouse. The opening ceremony was performed by the Prime Minister, then Sir Basil Brooke, and the late Earl Granville, Governor of Northern Ireland, presided.

The date;- 1st July, an historic date in the annals of Ulster History, so on July 1st 1950 the Ulster Girls’ Choir was born and in the succeeding years the choir has travelled to the U.S.A., Canada, Denmark, Holland, London, Scotland, Dublin and many cities,
over 62,000 miles in all.

Page 3

Always singing for the love of singing and giving pleasure, never looking for fees or rewards except in the knowledge of the helping hand they extended to many, many unfortunate people. When money was needed to pay travelling expenses for tours even as far away as Canada, the girls were ingenious in their efforts at raising the money.

Much has been written and said of the outstanding Success of the choir and the wonderful ambassadors the girls have been. I would like to say a sincere ‘thank you’ to the many girls who have been in the choir, past and present, thanks for the dedicated sense of loyalty, loyalty to me, to the girls who sang with them, to their country and for everything the choir stood for. Words are inadequate but thank you girls for wonderful years and wonderful memories, memories which will remain ever green.

A sincere ‘thank you’ also to the parents and faithful friends for their loyal support and understanding all down the years.

Tonight the curtains will come down for the last time at a public Concert given by the Ulster Girls’ Choir and tomorrow night we will meet at Dinner in the Stormont Hotel to renew old acquaintances and remember.

On Sunday night we go back to Strand Presbyterian Church, where it all began, very humbly, 30 years ago. There we will take part in a simple form of a Presbyterian Service, a Service of worship and thanksgiving, giving back to God the talents and all the success and above all thanking Him for guiding and leading us safely all the way during 30 wonderful years,

Irene G. Browne

November 1970

Page 4


1956;- The Maundy Service in Westminster Abbey when special seats were reserved for representatives of the choir, who had a wonderful view of Her Majesty The Queen distributing The Maundy Money.

1957;- The Mansion House, London, when the choir was received by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, at whose request a short programme was given in the Banqueting Hall.

1957;- St Patrick’s Night Ball, organised by the London Ulster Association at which the members of the choir were Guests of Honour.

1958;- The opening of the Ulster Headquarters of the N.S.P.C.C. by Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret. The choir sang at the ceremony and Miss Brown was amongst those presented to the Princess.

1959;- Reception of the Choir by the Lieut. Governor of Ontario during the Canadian tour when, in his speech, the Lieut. Governor stated that he welcomed the girl: to Ontario on behalf of H.M. The Queen.

1959;- The Weekly Luncheon of the Rotary Clubs of Toronto in the Royal York Hotel – the largest in the British Commonwealth – when the Choir sang for thirty-five minutes and received a “standing ovation”.

1959;- Radio City Music Hall – the largest in the world – where the Choir was given an audition and was entertained by the Management at the Easter Show.

1959;- A Civic Dinner in honour of the Choir’s visit by the Mayor and Corporation of the City of London, Ontario, Canada.

1959;- Afternoon Tea in the University of Western Ontario. (This corrected)

1960;- Special Service for Easter Sunday famous Grundtvig’s Kirken, Copenhagen.

1963;- Sing to the Dutch Royal Family in The Hague, Holland.
NOTE;- (The famous choir organ in Grundtvig's Church which was designed by Kaare Klint and built in 1940 by Marcussen & Søn can without exaggeration be regarded as a milestone in international organ architecture.)

A type written letter to Ann Todd.

Conductor; Irene G. Brown.

23, Xxxxxxxx Gardens,
Belfast 4.

Re Application for details, joining the choir etc.,
Dear Ann.
I am sorry not to have sent you this circular before now but I have
received so many through the advert in the Belfast Telegraph
that I found it impossible to sort them all out. Added to this
I have been away from home and also very busy with other events.

The choir is a voluntary organisation the girls sing for the love
of singing and for the pleasure they give countless hundreds who listen
to them. We work for various good causes and churches and since
the formation in 1950 have raised over £43,000 for charity and
have travelled over 60,000 miles to many parts of the world.

The choir meets once a week on Friday night in the room of The
Grand Opera Society of Northern Ireland, at 39 High Street,( top
floor) The girls pay 2/- per week to cover rent of the room and
postage, music, etc., We also have money raising efforts to
get money for our travels and the girls help in this way.
It is not essential to be an outstanding singer, you must of course
be able to sing, but the most important aspect of membership is
loyalty, loyalty to me, to the other girls in the choir and to all
the choir stands for.
If you feel you can cover these qualifications and would like to
join I am sure you will enjoy the fun and fellowship the choir has
to offer and make new friends.

The starting age is 13 years. I have not a junior section at the moment.
I shall be in our practice room on Friday 23rd., September from 6p.m.
and will be pleased to meet you and talk over any points you would
like made clearer. The choir time is from 7.45.... to 9.30.p.m. sometimes
10 p.m.
Looking forward to meeting.             Yours sincerely
Initial joining fee 5/-                     Irene G. Browne.

Choir returns to remember founder Irene

By Eddie Mcllwaine

THE once famous Ulster Girls Choir is likely to come together one last time to sing at a memorial service for their founder Irene Brown, who has died aged 89.

The choir was formed and conducted by Miss Brown in 1950 out of the Strand Girls Choir at Strand Presbyterian Church in east Belfast. And for the next quarter century it sang at important events at home and abroad. They performed in before Royalty at home, including one gala attended by Princess Margaret, and in Holland, for Queen Beatrix, and had fan clubs across Canada and in America where they toured regularly. But when the Troubles in Belfast were at their height in the mid-1970s and her girls had problems travelling to choir practice. Miss Brown decided to call it a day and the choir broke up. The singers came out of retirement several times for special concerts and a past members association is still in existence. Miss Brown, the widow of businessman Charles Kerns who died four years ago, was a member of the Society of Professional Musicians and a past president of the Music Teachers Association. She began her career as a music teacher at Princess Gardens School. A choir trained by her first won at Belfast Musical Festival 50 years ago and her entries, including soloists, were regular winners down the years. Miss Brown had also been secretary of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council and a president in the Business and Professional Women's Association. 
Irene Brown: a Musical life
Newspaper source unknown from a collection of cuttings circa 1970

City Hall will ring with voices from the past...
REG REA previews a special
musical re-union in Belfast.

A NOSTALGIC curtain call is being planned for the world famous Ulster Girls' Choir, which has been disbanded for the past decade.
During its 24 years in existence, the choir, founded by Mrs. Irene Kerns, travelled to Canada, the US, Denmark, Sweden, Holland and all over the British Isles.
It raised thousands of pounds for charity and the NSPCC was the cause dearest to the choir's heart.
Now in the NSPCC centenary year Mrs. Kerns is planning a call up of her "girls" for a major gala fund-raising evening in Belfast City Hall.
The evening, in aid of the NSPCC, is being organised by the Belfast Business and Professional Women's Club, of which Mrs. Kerns is president. The Lord Mayor has given special permission for the City Hall to be used.
Now Mrs. Kerns is anxious for as many as possible of the several hundred past participants in the choir to come to a special meeting at the Grosvenor Hall in Belfast next Friday at 7.30 p.m.
From those who attend, she hopes to recruit between 30 and 40 to sing in a once-off reunion concert during the gala evening.
Mrs. Kerns, formerly Miss Browne, says the Harlandic Male Voice Choir has already been booked for the event. It was the NSPCC's local organiser Mr. Arthur Sheffield who suggested the special reunion.
Mr. Sheffield pointed out that the Ulster Girls' Choir had performed before Princess Margaret at a ceremony to mark the opening of the NSPCC's Belfast premises in 1958.
"They have always held the NSPCC very close to their hearts and it would be lovely to have the choir take part in our centenary appeal.
"A lot of the nspcc's very long serving supporters will recall the heyday of the choir and its close association with us," he said. Mrs. Kerns is hopeful that some members of the original choir, formed in 1950 from members of Strand Presbyterian Church choir, will take part in the reunion performance.
"I still think of them all as my 'girls' but one of them told me recently she bad just become a grandmother. "It will be nice to have them singing together again for old times' sake," she said.
Newspaper source unknown from a collection of cuttings circa 1970

Alphabetical list of remembered names.  121 recorded 18thAugust 2013,
letter psi ψ = Original U.G.C.
Anderson, Linda,   ψ
Anderson, Helen   ψ
Barbara, Russell,   ψ
Barkley, Doreen (Dick)   ψ
Berry, June   ψ þ
Begley, Josephine ????
Black, Lilian. (nee Cree)  
Bloomer, Freda   ψ
Boyd, Helen   ψ
Boyd, Laura   ψ
Boyd, Madeline   ψ
Boyd, Phyllis ????
Boyle, Caroline. Nothing Known
Boxter, Christine - perhaps .. Florence ??
Bradbury, Madge, Accompaniest   ψ
Brooks, Vivienne
Brown, Frances (niece of Miss Brown)   ψ
Brown, Irene G. ( née Kerns) Choirmistress   ψ
Brown, Margaret   ψ
Bunting, Rosemary   ψ
Caldwell Kathleen   ψ
Caldwell Doreen   ψ
Campbell, Agnes, ( Irvine),   ψ
Campbell, Carole (Drury)   ψ
Campbell, Eleanor   ψ
Christie, Jacqueline, née McKay  
Clarke, Ina
Coleman, Grace Deceased ????
Cully, Elizabeth  ψ
Dalzell, Patricia ( Scott ),   ψ
Davidson, Jacqueline (McNarry)   ψ
Dick, Doreen   ?????
Dilworth, Rosemary   ψ
Dean, Amy (Capper)  ψ þ (Deceased)
Doig Olive ( née Lucas),þ
Donaghy, Elizabeth   ψ þ
Dowds, Anne   ψ
Dowds, Linda (Mason)   ψ
Dowds, Rosemary   ψ
Dunlop, Edna (former choir pianist)   ψ
Esdale, Patricia   ψ
Forsythe, Christine
Friar, Beryl ( née Lavery)  ?????
Galashan, David, Conductor,   þ
Galashan, Jane,  þ
Gardiner, Mavis ψ
Gibson, Josephine (Begley) ????
Gore, Frances   ψ
Graham, Rae   ψ
Giffen, Edna ( née Morrow)
Halligan, Irene   ψ
Harrison, Carol (Watson)   ψ
Hatch, Harriet
Hill, Mona   ψ
Hogg, Margaret   ψ
Hughes, Margaret (Hamilton).   ψ
Irvine, Agnes (Campbell)   ψ
Johnston, Adeline (Irish Dance)   ψ
Johnston, Edna (Landau)   ψ
Johnstone, Roberta   þ
Jones, Menai, (Pinkerton)  ψ
Kennedy, Vera
þ thorn, = Ulidian
Lavery, Ann ????
MacMillen, Maureen ( MacCulloch ),   ψ
Mayes, Dorothy   ψ
McBride, Catherine,   ψ þ
McCarroll, Elizabeth   ψ
McClenaghan, Hazel   ψ
McConaghy, Grace   ψ
McConaghy, Rae   ψ
McDade, Pat (McCrea)   ψ
McDermott, Alberta   ψ
McDowell, Elizabeth
McEwan, Mrs Gavin
McGibney, Carol   ψ
McGowan, Bertha   ψ Deceased
McNeill, Shirley (Ringland)   ψ
McNiece, Anne   ψ
McVeigh Maureen (Nicholl)   ψ
Millar, Eileen   ψ
Millar, Doreen   ψ
Montgomery, Mary (Harland)   ψ
Morrow, Edna   ψ
Moore, Christine   (Graham) ψ
Moore, Gertie (McVeigh)   ψ
Moore, Inez   ψ
Munroe, Margaret   (Alto) ψ
Murdoch, Marilyn (magician) ????
Murdy, Irene ????
O'Hara, Maureen   ψ
Parker, Margaret ????
Parker, Joan   ψ
Patterson, Jeanett (Johnston)
Pogue, Marlou   ψ
Potter, Sandra   ψ þ
Quinn, Sandra ?????
Reid, Anita ?????
Ringland, Shirley   ψ
Riddle Anne (Crann)
Rosemary Dillworth,   ψ
Russell, Barbara   ψ
Russell, Sheena ( née Morrow)
Saunders, Joan (Flynn)
Schofield, Ann ????
Scott, Barbara (Millen) AKA Noeley,   þ
Scott, Marion (Hanna),   ψ þ
Scott, Rosaleen
Simpson Margaret (Alto)
Smith, Margaret ????
Stanley, Edna (Dunlop)
Stanley, Phyllis
Stinson, Margaret, (Hughes), Accompanist   ψ þ
Stothers, Gretta ψ
Sweet, Lilian (singer). ????
Taylor, Carole (Lucas),   ψ þ
Thompson, Anne (Todd,)   ψ
Thompson, Billy Conductor   þ
Thompson Elizabeth ( née Cully)
Thompson, Ethel
Thornberry, Rota (Hatch)
Watson, Anita ( née Reid)
Whitla, Dorothy ( Kinkead ),   ψ
Wilson, Hazel ( Taylor )   ψ
Wilson, Tilly  þ
Wilson, Caroline (Dougan),   ψ
Worrell, Alice (now Alice McEwan)   ψ

"Music when soft voices die, Vibrates in the memory"
On the list you will see ψ or a þ which indicates which choir they belonged to if they have both symbols they belonged to both. If you see ???? after a name I need a second source to confirm which choir is correct. Where possible, in this list I try to refer to the person by the name she would have been known by during the days of the choir. The name in parenthesis (brackets) is her subsequent married mame. Naturally married names are harder to find as many girls left while they were still single.
For future use:-
1. Soprano = ♠ ♠ ♠
2. Mezzo Soprano = ♣ ♣ ♣
3. Contralto = ♥ ♥ ♥
4. Alto = ♦ ♦ ♦
5. Canada =
It is with many thanks to Kingsley and Doreen Quigg that I was able to add some names to this picture. The usefulness of this historical project in documenting the Ulster Girls' Choir is increasing. Names and interesting yarns helps to paint a picture of this great choir.

Picture No 2 Ladies of the Ulidian Singers
1 June Berry 2 Marion Scott (Hanna) 3 Carole Taylor (Lucas)  4 ? 5 Barbara Scott (Millen) 
6 ? 7 Margaret Stinson 8 Sandra Potter 9 Amy Dean 10 Roberta Johnstone
11 ? 12 Jane Galashan 13 Catherine McBride 14 Elizabeth Donaghy 15 Tilly Wilson

Picture No 3 Ladies of the Ulidian Singers
1 ? 2 Rosemary Dillworth 3 Agnes Irvine 4 Margaret Stinson (Hughes) 5 Shirley McNeill (Ringland)
6 Carole Taylor (Lucas)  7 Catherine McBride 8 Marion Scott (Hanna)  9 June Berry 10 Menai Jones
11 Anne Thompson (Todd) 12 Sandra Potter 13 ? 14 Margaret Brown 15 Barbara Scott (Millen) 
16 Roberta Johnston 17 Dorothy ?? 18 Elizabeth Thompson ( née Cully) 19 Amy Dean 20 Anne McNiece
21 Elizabeth Donaghy 22 Jane Galashan 23 David Galashan, Conductor, Choirmaster. PICTURE 3

1. Mavis Gardiner
2. Unknown.
3. Gretta Stothers
4. Carol McGibney  
5. Unknown
6. Pat Forrester
7. Jeanette ???
8. Unknown.

          This photograph dates back to the 1950's taken on the steps of St Pauls Cathedral, London on 6th April 1957. They were in London on a tour in aid of the NSPCC. It is interesting to note the berets and warm overcoats. During the 1960's the ties were replaced with bows.

From "SHORT STORY" Magazine published Spring 1971. The official magazine of Short Bros Aircraft Manufacturers.

Conductor David Galashan rehearses the Ulidian Singers for their next concert.
Galashan and his girls get airborne
1 Mr David Galashan 2 Margaret Brown. June Berry. 4 Ann Todd. 5?. Marion Scott. 7 Beryl lavery. Amy Deane. 9 Ann McNeice. 10 Agnes Irvine ( née Campbell). 12 Menai Jones. 13 Olive Lucas. 14 Sandra Potter. 15 Catherine McBride. 16 Elizabeth Donaghy. 17 Elizabeth Thompson ( née Cully) 18 Mona Hill. 19 Shirley Ringland. 20 Barbara Scott, 21 Anne Riddell. 22?. Margaret Hughes. 23?. 24 Jane Galashan. 25 Anet Curtain ? 26?. 27 Carole Taylor ( née Lucas)

      Everyone in the company who has passed within half a mile of the photographic and printing department knows that David Galashan can sing, but it was only recently that Short Story discovered his newest musical thing - waving a baton and bullying upwards of twenty girls into doing the singing for him. David, who has worked as a collator and bookbinder at Shorts since 1956, has served a long apprenticeship to choral singing. While serving overseas with the RAF he was one of the verv few servicemen who sang professionally with the Covent Garden touring company, and his                

basso profundo has supported such well-known local choirs as the Ormiston, the Ulster Opera, the Victoria Male Voice Choir and the Belfast Philharmonic. A keen Savoyard, David lias also taken leading parts in a lare number of local Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Music runs in David's family. His son Michael leads the Sullivan Upper orchestra, daughter Jane is leader of the Orangefield girls' orchestra and younger son Nigil, he says, is also on the fiddle. As conductor of the Ulidian Singers, who were formed from a nucleus of a prominent girls' choir #1 which was disbanded last year. David has concentrated on light popular works, and is constantly extending the choir's repertoire. Not surprisingly, their signature tune reflects David's aviation bias it is On Wings of Song. Near future engagements include a concert shared with the world-famous Black Dyke Mills Band and another to further community relations with the band of the Parachute Regiment. But new, young, voices are still needed to swell their ranks, and any singer from "alto" to "top sop" would be most welcome. Rehearsals are held in tlie Presbyterian Hostel. Howard St. and a harmonious evening is usually rounded off with coffee in the adjoining grill room. So if you feel like making beautiful music together with David Galashan. give him a ring on Queen's Island 728.

1 David Galashan. 2 Anne McNeice. 3 Margaret Hughes. 4 June Berry. 5 Carol Taylor. 6 Amy Deane. 7 Elizabeth Donaghy.
A section of the choir runs through one of
the twiddley bits with David at the piano.

page eighteen.

Savoyard:- A person who performs in the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan

The Ulster Girls Choir visited Canada During April 1959 accompanied by Carol McGibney. She was a founder member of The Naramata Community Choir, British Columbia founded 1962 which she has directed for the past 47 years. Carol McGibney was a soloist with the Ulster Girls Choir before moving to Canada. It is interesting to note that she was named in the book of "The 100 best known women in Okanagan"
Picture no 7
1. Margaret Brown.
2. Rosemary Dillworth.
3. ?
4. Amy Dean
5. Olive Doig ( née Lucas)
6. Jane Galashan.
7. Roberta Johnston.
8. Carol Lucas ( née Taylor).
9. Ann Todd ( née Thompson).
10 Margaret Stinson ( née Hughes) Accompantst
11. Bavid Galashan Conductor.
12. Marion Hanna ( née Scott)
13. June McIlmoyle ( née Berry
14. Barbara Millen ( née Scott)
15. Elizabeth Thompson ( née Cully)
16. Menai Jones
17. Elizabeth Donaghy

David Galashan, Conductor, Choirmaster

I must apologise to David for this picture its the best one I've got, cut from the picture above.
If someone can give me a brief history of David's involvement with the Ulidian Singers I would appreciate that. Naturally, I will print it here so that everyone can enjoy the memory.
He still sports a full beard (beaver) but it has become peroxide blonde with age
The Ulidian Singers which came after the Ulster Girls Choir comprised of virtually the same singers.
Mr David Galashan has been made an Honorary Life Member of the Queens Island Victoria Male Choir.
Queens Island Victoria Male Choir formed 1974 is an amalgamation with Queens Island Choir formed 1912 and the Victoria Choir formed 1916, both from Harland & Wolf Shipyard in Belfast.
  David was also the Musical Director . Davis sang a lot of Piercy French works. of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Male Voice Choir until his retirement.
  Ginn and Nat Campbell helped David.

Mayor of North Down, Hazel Bradford, welcomes the local members of the Ulster Girls Choir to the Town Hall, The reformed choir will be performing in a charity concert at Belfast City Hall               Specfoto 578/7a-23

5 Linda Anderson. 10 Ann Todd. 11 Beryl Fry.
BELFAST City Hall will reverberate with a sound not heard for ten years when the Ulster Girls Choir under the baton of Mrs. Irene Kerns host a special charity Gala concert on Friday (November 2).
34 years ago Mrs. Kems founded her choir from members of Strand Presbyterian Church choir and Princess Gardens School where she was a teacher. After 24 years of singing, the choir decided to to disband but thanks to the efforts of the NSPCC and the Business and Professional Women's Club, of which Mrs. Kerns is president, these older but no less melodious ladies will be reliving the past.
In its hevday the choir travelled as far afield as Denmark, Sweden, Holland and Canada as well as regular tours of England, Scotland and Ireland. Altogether they clocked up 180,000 miles and raised over £85,000 for charity, mostly for their favourite cause the NSPCC.
All the Bangor ex-members of the choir were recently invited to the Town Hall to meet Mrs. Kerns was approached by Mr. Arthur Sheffield, local organiser of the NSPCC, about the possibility of a special charity reunion.
"At first I thought that he was joking but I got in contact with some of the members and through them we were able to get about 70 girls. We have been practising regularly since September and it's amazing how quickly everyone has fitted together again. Of course, the voices have changed a bit, but it will be nice to have everyone singing together again."
This one off reunion concert co-incides with the NSPCC's centenary year and the Harlandic Male Voice Choir will be guesting in what promises to be a nostalgic evening for both audience and performers.

Newspaper source probably Bangor Spectator picture ID = Specfoto 578/7a-23

NEWS LETTER, Saturday, December 1, 1984

Ulster Ladles' Choir at their musical reunion In the Grosvenor Hall, Belfast,

Songbirds hold musical reunion
THERE; was a time when the Lark in the Clear Air signalled yet another chorus from the Ulster Girls' Choir. The choir's signature tune was familiar to millions of listeners on radio and television as they sang their way to stardom. The won all before them at festivals and competitions and they took the sound of Ulster's music to the world. They toured Britain, Europe, Canada and North America in the fifties and sixties.
Then in 1970, the choir -- formed in 1950 from the nucleus of Strand Presbyterian Church choir in East Belfast -- suddenly went silent. The Troubles had made it impossible for them to keep together.
Thirty-four years on, the choir recently got together again for a final concert, raising £1,500 in Belfast City Hall. Last night they got together and listened to a tape of their City Hall Concert.

NEWS LETTER, Monday, December 1 1986

Final encore for famous choir
Kay Kennedy's
- with a difference -

IRENE KERNS says she has had a number of "definitely the last" concerts with the Ulster Girl Singers. "We keep being brought out to help with charity events but I've decided that our next is definitely our last," she told 'me. "We are giving a programme of Christrmas music tomorrow week. It's in Inst.*#1 and the proceeds will go to Age Concern. There is no doubt this will be our farewell appearance as singers on a public stage."
The Ulster Girl Singers were first formed in July, 1950, by Irene Kerns when she was student Irene Brown. She explained to me: "The family moved to east Belfast and on the first Sunday we went to the Strand Church. I was enchanted by the young singers and eventually I was asked to form a choir. That's how it all began.
"I'm delighted to say that friendships formed all those years ago have survived and even those who married and gone to live overseas still keep in touch." Two years ago the choir got together to aid in the centenary celebrations of the NSPCC - that was to be a "final" concert. But this time last year they were singing again in Campbell College in aid of funds for the Belfast Hospice. An invitation to sing at the LEPRA annual meeting couldn't be turned down either.
"We are finally bringing down the curtain on the Ulster Girl Singers because for one thing the originals are no longer 'girls' and for another it's impossible to arrange practices with all the family commitments we all have now," Irene said.
This closure, if it really does take place, will not mean that Irene has lots of time on her hands. In fact, I don't know how she's managed over the past ten years. During this time she has been honorary secretary of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council and she's deeply involved with the Business and Professional Women's Association.
As a member of the Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland Council she gives talks on the work of the Christian Medical Hospital in India at Ludhania. She's a workaholic. She has packed an amazing amount of effort for others into her time. She's been training officer and secretary for extension in the Girls' Brigade — a job that lasted 14 years.
She was instrumental in bringing the Girls' section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme to Northern Ireland and she's had the distinction of being the only woman on the committee of Ulster Savings.
Of course, she works tirelessly for Strand Presbyterian Church and is secretary of Megain Memorial Presbyterian Church and takes part in their PWA
This former music teacher in Princess Gardens School has taken her Girls Choir over half the globe in the late '50's and early 60's. During that time the Ulster Girls Choir were unofficial ambassadors travelling through Canada (twice), the northern part of the USA, Holland and Scandanavia.
While the choir was in Holland in 1963 they were working for UNICEF and Irene was presented to Queen (then Princess) Beatrix.
This is just one of the many very important people the choir came into contact with. And all these tours were , financed by the girls themselves. For their North American tour in 1959 they raised the colossal sum of £7,000 - and goodness knows how much that would be at today's rates.
On Saturday, Irene organised a very special day with lots of events for 250 members of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council.
This week she'll be knee-deep in plans for the choir's big and final (?) night of singing at Inst. on tomorrow week.
Just in case, Irene really means to retire her choir, perhaps you should take this last opportunity of hearing their wonderful voices raised in song.
*#1 = The Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

The following pieces were part of the UGC repertoire and were probably performed by Amy Deane. The pieces are not afraid of stating just how silly we can be when it comes to politics. Outsiders reading this material may not appreciate the humor but have a go anyway.

They built a bridge in Belfast
It is causing quite a stir,
It's because the names' they've given it,
I'll never know for sure,
which name has been selected,
I'd never had a vote,
and now the politicians have each other
by the throat.

Is it Carson, is it Elizabeth,
O'Neill or Sean Lamass,
I've heard some names I won't respect,
So I'm going to let it pass,
Is it Paisley, Wolftone, Lagan Bridge,
somebody called it Paul,
I think that we'd be better off,
if they had no bridge at all.

Dear thoughts are in my mind
And my soul soars enchanted,
As I hear the sweet lark sing
In the clear air of the day.
For a tender beaming smile
To my hope has been granted,
And tomorrow she shall hear
All my fond heart would say.
To the tune of Six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee.

If the news we read in the papers is right,
Then the Orange and Green are about to unite,
If the parties on both sides agree on the pack,
I can tell you some changes you soon may expect,
Val - la - la , Val - la - lee,
These are some of the changes you are likely to see.

The Grand Orange Lodge have made plans I am told,
For changing their colours to green white and gold,
The Hibernian lads have done something rash,
at the close of their meetings they all sing the sash.
Val - la - la , Val - la - lee,
These are some of the changes you are likely to see.

At a dance in the Hall up in old Sandy Row,
The Artizan Boys Band put on a good show,
and Lamass played the flute and boys it was fun,
As Terrance O'Neill gave out on the big drum,
Val - la - la , Val - la - lee,
These are some of the changes you are likely to see.

The 12th will be held on the next Patrick's Day,
and Irishmen all will parade, so there,
The Orange and Green will never more fight,
at Bingo on Sundays we all will unite,
Val - la - la , Val - la - lee,
These are some of the changes you are likely to see.
Known songs from the UGC repertoire:-
Blow the wind Southerly.
Carol of the Drum.
Dancing the Baby,
Fairest Evening.
Funiculì - Funiculà
Gods Choir.
I could have danced all night.
I wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
Mine eyes have seen the Glory.
Music When Soft Voices Die.
Must it be.
My Singing Bird.
Night on the Danube.
Non Nobis Domine.
On Wings of Song.
Out of my Dreams.
Phil the Fluters Ball.
Plaisie D'Amour,
Skip to my Lou.
Some Enchanted Evening.
Speed Bonny Boat.
Spring comes Laughing.
Springs Return.
The Coast Road.
The End of a Perfect Day.
The Lark in the Clear Air.
The Londonderry Air.
The Lord is my Shepherd.
The Lost Chord.
The Old Wishin' Chair.
The Sound of Music.
The Tartan.
These are the Lovely Things.
This is My Joy Day.
Three Little Maids from School, Milkado.
Where the Gentle Avon Flows.
With a voice of Singing.
If you know any more titles I would be glad to list them here.

Ulster Girls' Choir
circa 1957.
Shirt and Tie.
It is interesting to
note the berets
and warm overcoats.
During the 1960's
the ties were replaced
with bows.
Ulster Girls' Choir
circa 1966.
String of white pearls.
Blue dress
Belt with buckle
short sleeves
white shoes
Were these the
infamous blue
Moygashel dresses.??

The standard of dress
was very high through
the entire existence
of the Choir, nothing was
left to chance.
Ulster Girls' Choir
circa 1986.
Brown beret
Brown bow
Cream Shirt
Brown Skirt
Every skirt was
tailored so that
every girls hem
was at exactly
the same height.

Excessive makeup was
frowned upon

It is with much gratitude that I thank the following people who have contributed to the knowledge base of both the Ulster Girls' Choir and the Ulidian Singers. Without whose generous help given there would be very little to show on this page.

Sources include :-

Ann Todd, (Thompson) .
Barbara Millen, (Scott) .
Carol McGibney, ( née McBurney / Halliday) .
Carole Lucas, (Taylor) .
Jacqueline Christie, née McKay
Christopher, (anonymous) .
Deep Grunt, (anonymous) .
Giannineo, (anonymous) .
David Galashan .
Kingsley and Doreen Quigg .
Marion Hanna, (Scott) .
Sandra (whose mother Mrs Elizabeth Quinn of Lisburn wrote some Irish type songs for the choir.
Sandra Quinn,

Publishers and Researchers please acknowledge this source if you copy information from here. The page itself is within the public domain, but, individuals who contributed songs and poems copyright belongs to them, and they must be contacted through me for use of the material in publications beyond this page.

The signature tune of the Ulster Girls Choir was THE LARK IN THE CLEAR AIR written about 1850 Sir Samuel Ferguson from Belfast. It is a tradaditional tune Caisleán U, Néill which translated from the Irish means "O'Neill's Castle".
If you would like to hear the tune click on "The Lark" below. .....

The tune you will hear was sequenced into MIDI formatt by Barry Taylor during 1997 and I have added a second cello. To hear it at its best use "VanBasco's Karaoke Player," which is a free download but software already on your computer will probably do.

This version Dated 30th January 2009

This first attempt at writing the history of the choir is still in the embryonic stage and is bound to be full of errors, and that is where you Ladies come in acting as my editors. I would like this to be as accurate and factual as possible. If you see anything that needs correcting please don't hesitate to tell me about it.
This internet page is a living document which can be updated at any time with new information. It will grow and become more accurate with time.

When it comes to writing a brief history it always pays to know what you are getting into, I knew virtually nothing at the beginning of this month and the knowledge I have gained is printed here, for you to enjoy.
This all started at Christmas 2007 when we had some friends round for drinks, they were past members of the Ulster Girls' Choir and they started talking about old time. Dennis Millen, Bob Lucas and myself retired to another room to let the Ladies get on with their memories. Two or three hours later they were still chatting away, so we went back poured ourselves a few more drinks and left the Ladies to get on with it.

A few days later I decided to look up the internet and see if there were any references to the Choir but to my horror there was nothing. I was quite appalled that this great choir had slipped from memory and from the cultural landscape of Ireland. Determined to do something about it I uploaded a small page on 26th January 2008 to see if there was any interest out in the big wide world. (2008 is the correct year.) Nothing happened until January 2009 the following year and I searched again for references to the Choir. I found one reference on an obscure Forum between Giannineo and Christopher which I followed up. The relevant information was contained within a series of Postings which I have incorporated into the body of this missive.

It was all very intriguing and interesting stuff, which gave me the impetus to continue my search and carry on. I did not realise at the time just how many people would have joined and left the Ulster Girls' Choir over a period of thirty years. There must have been hundreds perhaps close to a thousand. The chances of discovering all the names is remote but worth giving it a try, a., what the heck!

It is not known what the ratio of girls from Princess Gardens School and the ladies of Strandtown Church Choir, Belfast actually was, but it is believed they formed the initial nucleus of the choir. These ladies resisted the temptation of Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis which were part of the musical revolution of the 1950's. They knew there was something better out there and they found it in the Ulster Girls Choir. There was a vast repertoire of music available at the time and the choir did not limit themselves to a single type. The rehearsed everything from classical through traditional Irish pieces and included a lot of light opera and songs from stage shows and film.
They were a very flexible company and could turn their hand to just about anything. Miss Brown would not accept anything less than perfection and the Ladies gave her exactly what she wanted.
Although they did many Irish works they tended not to go down the line of a Fèis Ceoil (an Irish cultural festival of music and dance.) but rather more fèisean representing the music and oral literature / culture in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. There were several outstanding individuals in the choir who could give performances topping anything on the London scene at the time. The choir was good in depth having a wide range of voices ranging through Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Alto and Contralto. When you have strength through numbers this gives mutual confidence within the group and performance is taken to a higher level.

The one thing that they understood very well is that a choir has only one leader and what the leader wants the leader shall have. This applies to the accompanist who must take directions and blend with the choir rather than attempt to dominate it. The musical accompaniment is exactly what it says. The pianists who accompanied the Ulster Girls Choir were of a very high standard and willingly took direction so that the whole blended into exemplary performances of outstanding quality so rarely experienced today.
During 1951 Madge Bradbury was the accompanist in the Metropolitan Hall, Abbey Street, Dublin, what I do not know but suspect that Madge was the then full time accompanist to the UGC, I hope someone who reads this can give me more details.
Recently I experienced a pitiful performance in a cathedral where the organist was so full of his own superiority that he drowned out not only the choir but the entire congregation of over one thousand voices. He added embellishments to the music, varied the speed of the passage and ended up playing totally out of synchronisation with everyone.
This just did not happen under the directorship of Miss Brown, (an icy glare was sufficient) her ladies sang as a choir and not as a group of prima donnas. The choir went from strength to strength during the 1960's and were invited to perform at many of the top venues all over Ireland. The Grosvenor Hall, The Ulster Hall, Presbyterian Assembly Buildings, Belfast to name but a few. The "William Hill Mulholland" Grand Organ in the Ulster Hall is perhaps the best organ in Belfast and I was privileged to hear The Ulster Girls Choir and that wonderful organ on the same evening. Carol McGibney and Amy Dean were the principal soloist. Carol McGibney who emigrated to Canada would have been before Amy Dean who probably was her replacement but I do not know the relevant dates or their voice classification. It would be interesting to record what pieces they performed. I do know that the UGC ladies because of their vast repertoire could put on an evenings entertainment that would enthral everyone.

I tried e-mailing Giannineo and Christopher and received replies within a couple of days. Giannineo, which is his pen name, for Discussion Forum purposes, will contact his sister, a past member of the Choir. Hopefully his sister (whose name I don't yet know), will have lots of great memories to share.

Giannineo in one of his E-Mail messages to Christopher explained:- Vivienne Brooks lived on the Ormeau Road above her father's sweet shop-just about opposite Lough Brothers. Outfitters and just down from the Orange Hall. Vivienne sang with the Ulster Girls Choir and performed her ventriloquist act in their concert party. Her father Sammy was a Northern Ireland Billiards champion.
She was in our house occasionally as my sister sang in the Ulster Girls' Choir. Whilst giving a concert in Dublin, the girls were hosted out to various Dublin families. My sister was fortunate to stay with the Bewleys' Coffee House people - sheer luxury. The first Boeing 707 to land at Nutts Corner came to take the choir to a tour of U.S.A. and Canada circa 1959. I enjoyed my sister being in the choir as her pals use to spoil me and give me sweets and hugs ..... well, forget the hugs, the sweets were brill.
This chap was just a "Wee laddie" in those days and naturally sweets had a higher value than hugs, today he would have his priorities in the correct order.

There was talk of regular contact between some of the Ladies and they meet up from time to time.
Ann Todd (nee Thompson), a friend of my wife's of long standing was also a member of the Choir, sent me a package of material which I uploaded to page No 1 of the Choir Page. This was really great memorabilia which had lots of names to add to the Roll. Most of the names have now been found for the pictures but there are a few names on the tips of peoples tongues but not out of the mouth yet to come. Next I searched the web for individual names and found an address in Canada for Carol Mc Gibney and received a very nice E-Mail in reply. Carol told me that she had passed my contact details to one of her friends Maureen MacCulloch {Maureen McMillan . . . now Maureen MacCulloch} who also lives in Canada. Carol is away holidaying in Hawaii. Maureen kindly sent me a package which was sufficient for me to open Chapter II and a plethora of names to add to the Roll.
Hopefully Carol Mc Gibney will have other bits and pieces which I can add into the pages, but that will take some time after she returns from Hawaii.

Carol McGibney, who toured Canada as a soloist with the Ulster Girl's Choir, directed the Naramata Community Choir. It was formed in 1962, when Carol McGibney of Naramata, British Columbia, Canada, posted a sign on a tree requesting that anyone who would be interested in getting together to sing join others at her home. That choir is still operating today and has made many recordings.

Carole Lucas (nee Taylor) called at my house on Monday 26th January '09 with another package of material. She and I sat at the computer from 2pm until 5pm adding bits and pieces to the story. During the last few days the amount of new material has been fantastic, but I can take much more.
This page hopefully will form an archive of the Ulster Girls' Choir and the beginning of an archive for the Ulidian Singers. Ladies who are past members are invited to download and save these pages so that knowledge of this choir is perpetuated.
Both Choirs are really inseparable as the membership was virtually the same. This page only goes as far as the Final Concert of the Final, Final, Finale of the last concert. The Ulster Girls Choir had so many last and final concerts I have lost count. With your help, all will become clear eventually. (I Hope)
Most of you will already know that the Choir started in Strand Presbyterian Church. The Ulster Girls Choir initially consisted of the ladies of Strand Presbyterian Church as a Junior Choir sometime during the early 1950's. Choir enlarged rapidly and before long 150 girls had joined.
Whether it was because the Senior Church Choir nailed the organ to the floor or the Choir became so large they switched to the Presbyterian Church House Assembly Buildings which being much larger seats 1,300 people.
Strand Presbyterian church is located in the Belfast district of Strandtown and somehow most people refer to the church located there as Strandtown when it is actually called Strand Presbyterian Church. It is only the Police Station which is correctly referred to as Strandtown.

It was because of the civil unrest in Ulster that the Ulster Girls Choir was disbanded fearing for the safety of the young ladies. Mrs Brown was also Secretary of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council and President in the Business and Professional Women's Association. She was instrumental in bringing the Girls' section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme to Northern Ireland which made sever demands on her time. She also served on the Committee of the Ulster Savings Trust another time consuming role. She was widowed during 1966 when her husband Charles Kerns passed away. Charles was a member of the Society of Professional Musicians and a past president of the Music Teachers Association.
With ever increasing civil unrest "The Troubles" it became more difficult to attract young ladies into Belfast. During the 1960's 70's and eighties the ladies of the choir began to feel uneasy about being in Belfast at night. I can't blame them, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up on many occasions. The young ladies of the choir would not have been targeted by either faction but they could have been unintended victims of shooting or explosions.
Travelling into the city became increasingly difficult as the bus services were severely disrupted and parents were very wary about driving in the city at night. This coupled with television and other activities put too many demands on the young ladies. It was during 1970 that Mrs Brown decided to call it a day. It was a combination of all these things which made it difficult to continue.

The Red Hand of Ulster was used as the logo of the Ulster Girls' Choir translated into Irish "Lámh Dhearg Uladh" it is simply a heraldic symbol denoting the Irish province of Ulster. It is alleged to be the hand of O'Neill which he severed from himself and threw ashore to claim the Island of Ireland. As O'Neill was right handed how come a right hand is shown. If I had been in O'Neill's place I would have used someone else's hand. As far as I can see there was no writing on the logo, I placed it round the hand to make it individual to the choir.

The signature tune of the Ulster Girls Choir was THE LARK IN THE CLEAR AIR written about 1850 by Sir Samuel Ferguson from Belfast. It is a traditional tune Caisleán U, Néill which translated from the Irish means "O'Neill's Castle". If you would like to hear the signature tune there is a link below, click on "The Lark" and it should download for you it is a MIDI file which is very compact. It will recreate the music automatically using the sound card built into your computer. The tune you will hear was sequenced into MIDI formatt by Barry Taylor during 1997 and I have added a cello there are three harps also in the piece. To hear it at its best use "VanBasco's Karaoke Player," which is a free download but software already on your computer will probably do. The words of "The Lark" are printed elsewhere on this page.

Abba summed up my feelings in their song "Thank You for the Music", by way of saying thank you I have included the first verse by way of saying thank you to all of those Songstress of the Ulster Girls Choir and the Ulidian Singers who have passed above.

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing,"
"Thanks for all the joy they're bringing,"
"Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty,"
"What would life be? ,"
"Without a song or a dance what are we?,"
"So I say thank you for the music,"
"For giving it to me."

It should be remembered that with the passage of time most of the ladies will now be in their mid sixties and some will now be well into their seventies. This is why it is imperative to collect this material now. Much of our cultural heritage has been lost through time. If it were not for the likes of Willie Drennan a lot more would have vanished into history.
Willie Drennan is a composer, traditional musician, storyteller, poet and writer, who draws much of his material from the Ulster Scots cultural traditions of his native County Antrim.

There is not much known about Vivienne Brooks (No Picture) who did a ventriloquist act for the choir. It would be interesting to know more about her and her act.
I noticed on a programme for a Gala Evening dated Friday, 2nd November 1984 a Vivienne Bryson did a Ventriloquist act. I am presuming that this is the same person. The accompanist on that occasion was Mrs Margaret Hamilton, (she may now be Stinson.) I also notice that Miss Brown went under her married name of Mrs Irene Kerns.
There was a Memorial Concert for Bertha McGowan in the Ulster Hall on 30th November 1966 again more information about her would be nice to have.
Amy Deane, I know, did monologues and solo performances I met her when Marion first joined the Choir but again detailed information is hard to find. Amy also acted as commeré in addition to her other parts, in another programme I found another commeré called Amy Capper. This is one heck of a coincidence or a printing error. Is this Amy Deane's married name,? .. most of my contacts believe she did not marry. I need not have worried., Yes Amy Deane did marry and her married name was indeed Capper.
There were many people who penned pieces for the choir Mrs Elizabeth Quinn mother of Sandra Quinn, from Lisburn wrote some Irish type songs for the choir. My contact apologises as she cannot remember the names for the moment.
A musical score "A Child's Garden" was especially Commissioned by the Ulster Girls' Choir from the Composer Joseph Groocock during 1950. The original text was by the author Robert Louis Stevenson.

In winter I get up at night,
And dress by yellow candle light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet.
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Carol McGibney, tells me that Miss Brown came out to Vancouver in the hopes of arranging a trip to the West. She had a niece there of whom she was very fond. She came to visit them in Okanagan. Date of visit not known.
It was during 1959 that the Choir visited Canada and the USA. Miss Brown and Mr Warlow { organiser of the tour } chartered an aircraft to take the Choir on this trip. It was reputed to be a Boeing 707 but we could be mistaken. It was part of the Clipper 7 Fleet. Doreen Guigg was on that flight says it was a Pan American Clipper 7, there were some worries as to whether Nutt's Corner Airport was big enough to take such an aircraft. This was some time before Group Captain David Niven had his RAF runway extended for free. Doreen says, "The plane was chartered by the American sponsors to take the 60 members of the choir on their 3 week tour of the USA / Canada. There were no other passengers on board other than the choir members. The plane re-fuelled at Gander (Newfoundland) in heavy snow before flying on to Idlewild Airport (New York) (now John F. Kennedy).
She was lucky the aircraft did not land at Royal Air Force Goose Bay Labrador an even more God forsaken place in the back end of nowhere, I had the pleasure of serving Her Majesty at Goose Bay 1966.
Carol was engaged to be married to Fred before the choir went to N. America so she did not return to Belfast with the choir, but flew out to Vancouver and thence to Penticton where she was married.
Another possible sponsor was Billy Hastings who at that time owned the Stormont Hotel, It is not known exactly how Mr Hastings fits into the Choirs History. Perhaps one of the Ladies will be able to give me an answer.
It is worthy of note that several of the Ladies of the Ulster Girls Choir are still actively singing in various choirs. The training that these ladies received with the Ulster Girls Choir has obviously benefited the choirs they now belong to. St Mary's Comber is one example, I have also joined St Mary's Choir. I am supposed to sing Bass but the best I can do is a deep grunt. The Choirmaster says the range of my voice is somewhere below a low "G" and above a sharp "H" but as they don't have an H in music we'll just call it Bass.

It is believed that 10 or so of the Choir Members meet together at Belvoir Golf Club. I have been in contact with the Manager at Belvoir who cannot help with any details but it is confirmed that meetings do occur on a regular basis. Perhaps the girls simply meet as a group and not with any "title" as such and that is why the manager does not know of their existence. Patricia Dalzell, ( now Scott ), Sister of John Dalzell, was in the choir and till meets up with some of the girls.
Ann Todd (née Thompson) also confirmed that the ladies still meet on occasions in Belvoir Park Golf Club usually the first Tuesday in March, June, September and December and would be delighted to welcome others. This is indeed good to know and the more girls who find out about it the better. I am willing to act as "Poste Restante" for E-Mails until you tell me that you want to communicate directly with each other. I do not want to print E-Mail addresses in this page to give a measure of privacy. Naturally I will also publish any details of future possible activities on this web site.

Another reason I don't want to publish E-Mail addresses on the Web Site as published addresses are liable to attract SPAM. It would be wise if address swapping was done using me as a filter. I am well used to receiving dozens of SPAM E-Mails every day and can delete the spurious ones at source.
Maureen was thinking of returning to Ulster for a short holiday and thought it would be wonderful if she could meet up with some of the Ladies to exchange memories. If I had anything to do with it a few tunes would be fantastic. .... But that's a step too far at this stage.
Hopefully at some future time there will be a reunion as it will bring back memories for the Ladies and for me the possibility of hearing a tune or to.

I remember as a boyfriend and later a husband to a choir member, I was permanently on duty collecting her from concerts over the entire country. Naturally I sat in and listened to the concerts, over the years I was treated to many great musical evenings. I was fortunate in listening to fantastic bands such as the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band, The Central Band of the Royal Air Force including the Squadronaires. Baillies Mills Accordion Band appeared together with the Pipe Band of the RUC and their world famous Silver Band. As a result I have recordings of all these great bands but nothing of the Ulster Girls Choir. If I had the privilege of doing it again I would concentrate on recording the UGC as we will never have the opportunity of listening to them again.

The Ulidian Singers which came after the Ulster Girls Choir comprised of virtually the same singers. David Galashan, Conductor, Choirmaster. This will probably form another Chapter when the work on collating the Ulster Girls' Choir material is exhausted. In the meantime it will do no harm to collect the Ulidian material here.
All good choirs are group of like minded individuals working together for a common purpose. This is directed by a single individual with a vision and endeavour. Discipline self control and dedication to achieve the best possible. It's not all work, there needs to be play and relaxation to draw the individuals into a cohesive and functioning unit.
Respect for the leader is of great import but what is vital is that the leader has unbounded respect for those they lead. Like any other sport or community function there are those whose circumstances of life change and find it difficult to train with the others. Other interests divert their attention away from the choir and falling in love has the highest attrition rate even scoring above changing your job.
This is a fact of life and the leader must get used to it and forge on regardless. There are stars in every choir, gifted members, it takes a lot of practice to achieve those high standards.

The Ulster Girls' Choir as a whole performed far beyond the expectations of the audience. The audience were transported to new heights of delight when they heard traditional Scot's and Irish music being given the Ulster Girls' Choir treatment. These standards of perfection were reached by lots of hard work and a willingness to excel. Lots of effort were put in by the girls in raising money to buy new uniforms. These never came cheap as they were representing Ulster on the worlds stage. Nothing but the best was good enough for them. The accompaniests were the best available and ranked amongst the finest musicians it was possible to find. I do not give praise lightly, in fact I'm often accused of being a grumpy old "sod" , but I have heard this choir and appreciated the quality of their music. After forty odd years why would anybody start writing about a defunct choir after all that time. Well, the answer is, .. I was there to hear them, that's the reason.

However some of the ladies wanted to continue and a sizeable group reformed themselves into the Ulidian Singers under the directorship of Mr David Galashan a very accomplished musical director.
He later became an Honorary Life Member of the Queens Island Victoria Male Choir. The choir again flourished under David Galashan and I believe Amy Dean was his principal soloist and that June Berry acted as choir Secretary. David was also the Musical Director of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Male Voice Choir until his retirement.
Mr David Galashan has been made an Honorary Life Member of the Queens Island Victoria Male Choir. Queens Island Victoria Male Choir formed 1974 is an amalgamation with Queens Island Choir formed 1912 and the Victoria Choir formed 1916, both from Harland & Wolf Shipyard in Belfast.
Whenever the Ulidian Singers folded, the members who wished joined the Downshire Ladies Choir, which was an older version of the Ulidian under their conductor Billy Thompson. It is sad to note that Billy Thompson is now singing with the Heavenly Choir. Date of passing not known. It was not a case of forming the Downshire Ladies Choir they just joined the existing choir. 1998 Philis Boyd was appointed as their conductor.

On January 12th 2009 I met David Galashan and had a long conversation with him in his home. He is a remarkable man for the age of 81 years. He still sports a full beard but it has become peroxide blonde. Tonight he will be heading out to choir practice. He was kind enough to lend me his copy of Short Story Magazine which has the pictures of the Ulidian Singers. He told me that the Ulidian Singers have now become Downshire Ladies Choir.


The following needs further explanation:-
  1. The night the key broke in the petrol cap.
  2. The driver "from hell", actually "Carrowdore" ... large rock, "Prepare to meet thy God."
  3. No Scooping!!! No crossing legs.
  4. Coffee House ...Where ????.
  5. Baker Boy caps ... what are they ???
  6. The choir sang at Radio City Music Hall in New York
  7. 6/10/51: Metropolitan Hall, Abbey Street, Dublin, Ulster Girls Choir with Madge Bradbury.
  8. Bus trapped in Ballywalter Park on the night they visited Lord Dunleath.
  9. The Ulster Girls ' Choir gave a concert in January 1967 and a garden FETE in Chambers Park later in the year which raised £350. It should be noted that this was a very large sum of money for that period. Where is Chambers Park. ???
  10. Christ Church Cathedral Oxford
    Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal
    Which location.
  11. Did Marion or Barbara recognise Florence McCrum.? No sorry!
    Can anyone see Florence in any of the pictures.?
    This name is familiar to me but I can't make the connection.
  12. If anyone knows where the choir records are held it would be a valuable source of details for this page.

First uploaded 26th January 2008