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Apology to Maureen this letter got mixed up with some technical papers I was working on at the time.
From: Nicholl, Maureen
Subject: UGC

I have been reading on the website all about the UGC of which I was a member for approx 5-6 years. I saw my name there and also a few pictures which I am in. I may have a few more pictures of interest if I begin to look for them at home.

I joined the UGC at age 18 after leaving Princess Gardens School where, for two years, I sat beside Linda Anderson who talked continuously about her times in the choir. Mrs Irene Kerns (Miss Browne) took the senior school for music at PG and I was in that choir and at that time she also plugged for members for her choir. I was then in my own church choir and a soloist there. I didn't wish to join the UGC at that time but I wished later that I had because when I joined I just missed the 2nd trip to Canada in 1961. At school Miss Browne encouraged me to go for singing lessons to the same gentleman who she had trained to sing with - Captain Charles Brennan who was at that time City Organist training the choiristers at St Anne's Cathedral. When I finally joined the choir late 1961 Miss Browne and I often chatted about our times with C J Brennan as indeed she had been a soloist in her day. Captain Brennan did a number of arrangements for the choir and one in particular that I remember was 'the battle hymn of the republic' (John Brown's body) where he arranged a very lovely descant for the top sopranos.

Second soprano was what I sang although the seconds sang alto at times when there was a piece with less harmony. Hazel Harty was the alto soloist when I joined the choir and when she left I was given her Easter solo of 'Where you there when they crucified my Lord' Through time I sang the solo part in both 'the bells of St Mary's' and 'Mary's Boychild' with the choir singing the choruses.

The other soloists were among the top sopranos and they were Elizabeth McCarroll, Doreen Woods, Linda Anderson and never to be forgotten for her most beautiful of all voices, Bertha Magowan. When Bertha sang you closed your eyes and were transported to another place. We sang at her memorial service in the YMCA and it was a very emotional evening.

The two final (or were there 3) concerts were sometime in the late 70s or early 80s and they were inCampbell College one year and then RBAI. I was on the programme as soloist for both those evenings.

I know I shall be able to look out some photos but maybe they will be the same as you already have on the web. A record was made in Dublin a couple of years before I was married (1966) and the pieces (8 in all) were delightful. Up until a number of years ago I could have produced these but I am not sure what happened to them (how awful is that!) The pieces were mostly Irish melodies two of which were written by Mrs Quinn (friend of Miss Browne).

A few girls whose names don't appear on the web are: Helen Boyd (lived at Cavehill as I did) Margaret Munroe (alto) came from Lisburn and emigrated to Canada in the 70s Her sister-in-law was Rosemary Munroe (descant) . Gertie Moore is now Mrs McVeigh and Christine Moore her sister is Mrs Graham. Gertie's other sister Inez was also in the choir for a short time. Mary Montgomery (Harland now) was in the sopranos as was her friend Margaret Hogg. Patricia Esdale sat almost beside me in the seconds.
Irene Halligan (did humorous solo work and sat beside me) is Mrs Hamilton. Edna Morrow was leaving choir to be married when I joined as was Gertie Moore. (I have kept up a deep friendship with Gertie since that day until now) Irene Halligan sang 'the wellbred fella' and 'let him go let him tarry' and was in the sketch 'the hole in the ground' with Bertha and Linda and I can't remember who else! (quartet)

The choir sang at my wedding in Fortwilliam Park Church in Nov 1966 as they did for most of the members when they married.

I think that is me done and it has been lovely remembering back to those very special times and wonderful opportunites to travel with the choir and make beautiful harmony. Oh for 5 minutes together to do it again. A reunion with as many girls (women) as could be gathered would be great and I would be for that as I am sure others would.

I remember Marion and I know she would remember me if we met.

I shall have a wee look for any memorabelia and send it forward if you would be interested. I didn't get to Canada but travelled the province widely with the choir and spent weekends in Dublin and Londonderry and also travelled with them to the Netherlands in 1963 where we were so provileged to sing for then Princess Beatrice and later the Dutch Royal Family in dutch!!
Best Wishes
Regards to Marion

This additional material 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. Lillian is resident in Canada and can be contacted through me by E-Mail.

A group of girls boarding the coach in Glengall Street on route to Nutts Corner Airport for their flight to New York. From right to left: Adeline Johnston, Ina Clark, Hazel McClenaghan, Lillian Black, unknown,
Marilyn Murdoch, Margaret McKnight, unknown

The Ladies of the Ulster Girl's Choir ready to board their chartered aircraft to take them
to Canada. It illustrates the quality of their organisational ability, chartering an
aircraft was unheard of in those days, but look at the attention to detail in the uniform
way the ladies are dressed.
Pan American World Airways 'Clipper Fidelity' Douglas DC-6B 1952. Registration No N6529C,

Lillian Black and Hazel Wilson looking out over
New York City from the top of the
Empire State Building

Picture #4. Miss Brown Empire State Building

Picture #5 Amy Deane, Doreen Barclay and Margaret ????
buying souvenirs at the top of the Empire State Building in New York

Picture #6 Checking out the top of the Empire State Building in New York
From left to right: Pat Forrester ..................
(not sure but think the next person is Merna Gallagher)
unknown, unknown

Mayor Nathan Philips finds an audience who are attentive as well as lovely as he shows the Ulster Girl's Choir pictures of his grandchildren at City Hall today.
Irish Airs Bring City Hall to Standstill.

One of the most popular songs in the repertoire of the Choir is
"The Old Wishing Chair."
Written by Elizabeth Quinn

Ulster's Wishing Chair is part of the Gianta Causeway on the North Coast of Antrim. Large numbers of visitors come to this phenomenon of Nature to make wishes - just like the choir members who gaze out over the Atlantic Ocean and wish - perhaps something not unconnected with Canada, Canadians and The Tour.

Picture #9 With the Mounties on the steps of the City Hall, Toronto.

Picture #10

Picture #11 Visiting with a member of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Left to right: Elizabeth McCarroll,
Lynda Anderson, Lillian Black, Hazel Wilson

Picture #12 Ulster Girls' Choir on steps of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.


Ontario's Parliament Buildings had a hit on their hands yesterday afternoon. His Honor and Mrs. Mackay chat with Miss Irene Brown, when the touring Ulster Girls' Choir began to sing, that cinched it. Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. J. Keiller MacKay were entertaining the group's 60 members at a reception - and the group's 60 members ....

were entertaining them. In the picture Mrs. W. Daberkow sees that Lillian Black and Lynda Anderson are well served with refreshments. It wasn't the kind of day for working anyway.

Holland "Dank voor koor" press conference.
From left to right, Maureen O'Hara, Carole Smith, Bertha McGowan,
Miss Browne, Lynda Anderson and Lillian Black.

Picture taken in Utricht H.R.H. Princess Beatrix with her aide. Princess Beatrix later
succeeded her Mother Queen Juliana and she is currently Queen Beatrix of the
Netherlands. She entertained the choir to "afternoon tea".


Silver Jubilee Celebration Dinner.

Programme - "Final Concert"

Programme - "Final Concert - 2"

New York Ulster Girl's Choir Members
Do a jig high up in New York.

New York Herald Tribune Newspaper
58 Colleens Come to the US to Sing -
Members of the Ulster Girls' Choir on the roof of the
Hotel Woodstock, New York, after their arrival
yesterday from Belfast.

Links to other Ulster Girl's Choir pages.