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The 90th Newry Musical Feis opened today Thursday with forty two days of performance opportunities to look forward to. Part one opening today involves Irish Dance (Open) and runs to Saturday.

The feis includes performances in Music, Dance and Speech aimed at citizens aged 4 to 94. While the vast majority of those taking part live within the Newry Mourne and Down District there is regular involvement from performers who travel from counties Mayo, Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Roscommon and Louth and, within Northern Ireland, from Tyrone, North Armagh, North Down and Antrim.

Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Alma Brown, President, Newry Musical Feis at the opening day of Newry Feis with some of the competitors. From left:Cailha Byrne, Ryan Devlin, Katie Ferris and Erin Sloan. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Alma Brown, President, Newry Musical Feis at the opening day of Newry Feis with some of the competitors. From left:Cailha Byrne, Ryan Devlin, Katie Ferris and Erin Sloan. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down Council, officially opened the Feis.

Sheila Nolan, Feis Vice Chairperson and Section Secretary for Irish Dance, introduced the Chairperson, Alma Brown, Feis President; and Mary Goss, Feis Administrator as well as formally welcoming the Irish Dance (Open) adjudicator Miss Grainne McCormack (Dublin), the young performers, their parents and family members.

Cllr Mulgrew welcomed everyone to the newly-refurbished Newry Town Hall and expressed the hope that they would enjoy taking part.  She said: “The opportunity to perform, and to get feedback from adjudicators of the highest standard, provides our children and young people with the support they need to build on their exceptional talents across all disciplines.  The chance to perform on stage as individuals, or as part of a team, builds confidence and self-esteem.  The Feis organisers are building on their provision for performers from all cultural backgrounds and are actively encouraging participation from young people who do not have English as their first language.”

Competitors from the Gallagher School of Irish Dancing at the opening day of Newry Feis. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Competitors from the Gallagher School of Irish Dancing at the opening day of Newry Feis. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Officially opening the 90th Newry Musical Feis Mrs Mulgrew spoke of the work of the Feis and the importance of such an event in the lives of the performers; she referred to how the Feis, which provides a platform for more than 14,000 performances annually, is consistently in the top three biggest events of this type in the world and concluded by wishing all of the performers in Parts One & Two of the 2018 Newry Musical Feis the best of luck as they participate in “this extraordinary celebration of the arts.”

Feis President, Mrs Alma Brown, who has been actively involved in a number of key roles in the Feis Committee for 58 years, thanked the Council Chair for making herself available to be part of this special occasion and echoed Mrs Mulgrew’s hope that all performers would thoroughly enjoy taking part. She said how honoured the Feis Committee was to have Councillor Mulgrew, in her role as Chair of the District Council, present to conduct the official opening in this 90th Anniversary Year – a very important milestone in the long, unbroken history of the Feis.

Opening the 90th Anniversary Newry Musical Feis at Newry Town Hall were front from left:  Dr Mary Goss, Administrator; Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council ; Alma Brown, President and Grainne McCormack, Adjudicator. Back: Sheila Nolan, Secretary; Catherine Kerin, Secretary, Speech and Drama Open; Maria Moan, Assistant Secretary Dancing and Ciara Moan-Wadsworth, Committee Member. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Opening the 90th Anniversary Newry Musical Feis at Newry Town Hall were front from left: Dr Mary Goss, Administrator; Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council ; Alma Brown, President and Grainne McCormack, Adjudicator. Back: Sheila Nolan, Secretary; Catherine Kerin, Secretary, Speech and Drama Open; Maria Moan, Assistant Secretary Dancing and Ciara Moan-Wadsworth, Committee Member. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Feis Part Two

Part Two runs from April 9th until May 7th and provides performance opportunities in Ballet & Theatre Dance, Music, Traditional Irish Music, Speech & Drama [Open], Speech & Drama [Schools] and Irish Dance [Confined].

Gala Concert

A Gala Concert to celebrate the work of Newry Musical Feis Committees across 90 years, and featuring past and present performers will take place in Newry Town Hall on Friday 25th May.  Tickets, which will be on sale in the Town Hall during Part Two, are priced at £10.00 and will be in great demand

Follow Newry Musical Feis on Facebook or check www.newrymusicalfeis.com for regular updates

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