Night Music at The MAC

I’ve been a little bit boring recently. There, I’ve said it. I could put it down to lousy winter weather, too much work or too little money, but frankly I’ve been choosing the sofa over the socialising lately, thus having significantly less to contribute to a blog which essentially revolves around getting out and about.

A temporary glitch, I’m sure.

However, do not lose all faith in me yet. A few weeks ago I attended an evening of “Night Music”, a monthly event advertised as formal music in an informal setting, which was simply wonderful. I wanted to share it with you as soon as I arrived home, but life got in the way as it has a habit of doing, so I’m making a point of telling you now so you can go and enjoy the next performance in early March!

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As many of you are I’m sure aware, recent budget cuts have hit Northern Ireland’s Arts scene arguably the hardest of all, which is a real shame as it’s something which a lot of people, myself included, are very proud of and keen to support. The trending campaign #13pforthearts at the end of last year highlighted the extremity of the situation, with the sector being allocated just 13p per head of population per week. Shameful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that in times of need we must prioritise on fundamental cornerstones such as healthcare and education, but I can’t help thinking there could have been a more fair decision reached in terms of sustaining our country’s arts and culture sector?

That being said, I was very glad to pick up a flyer for Night Music at the MAC (one of my favourite art venues in Belfast), the first of a set of monthly events for some of our most talented musicians to showcase their musical style. February’s musicians were called The Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble (quite apt considering the weather outside) and are a contemporary music group from Belfast. I was too consumed in the moment to record them on the night, but for those of you who are interested, here’s a short clip of what they do best…

Growing up I played the piano and the flute and so I know only too well the level of skill and determination required to perform as flawlessly as this group did. The evening pulled in a healthy crowd and it was obvious to see the rest of the room appreciated the 90 minute performance as much as I did. With a glass of red wine in hand, it was the perfect way to spend a rainy Wednesday evening in February.

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It feels quite fitting that I should leave you with the words of Andrew Lloyd Webber. But first, definitely check out Night Music’s next event on Wednesday 4th March, and say hello if you see me there! More details can be found by following @Night_Music_  on Twitter!

“Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light,

And listen to the music of the night.”

Kathy x

All you need is Love… and a Black Tie Ball

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Love (and snow!) was in the air on Tuesday night on board the SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The Black Ball, an annual event jointly hosted by the supported training and employment organization NOW and Belfast’s Black Box, celebrates the groundbreaking success of the ‘Black Moon’ disco and is always a sure-fire good night on Northern Ireland’s social calendar, having sold out in all previous years.

Going strong since 2010, ‘Black Moon‘ is a club night held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Black Box nightclub for and by adults with learning disabilities. The monthly event is supported by NOW and is always buzzing with people coming out to socialize, hear great tunes from resident DJ Mark and of course, showcase some new moves! Once a year, The Black Ball rolls around and gives guests the opportunity to dress to impress and explore new venues in new areas of Belfast City. This year it was full steam ahead on the recently opened SS Nomadic, nicknamed the Titanic’s little sister, and the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there was enough love going around to make even Jack and Rose jealous!

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Two talented harpists and a champagne reception greeted guests as they boarded the ship, but there was no hanging around; as soon as DJ Mark took to the decks the dance floor was a mass of beats, bodies and ballgowns ready to get the party into full swing!

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Party food was provided by Loaf Catering, NOW’s catering company and cafe chain who employ train and use all profits to help local adults with learning difficulties in the Greater Belfast area. There was also a raffle draw with top prizes donated by local businesses including Belfast Cookery School, Roger Michael Fine Furniture and Movie House Cinemas.

Jim Corr Photography really managed to capture the essence of the night with singles, couples, and groups taking advantage of the chance to get a professional memento from the ball. The full range of photos can be viewed here

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I have been interning with NOW’s marketing team for a few months, and to my delight was given a lot of creative control over the organization of The Black Ball. I’ve enjoyed every moment of the planning, and watching it all come together and the enjoyment of the guests on the night made all the hard work worth every minute. NOW is a truly inspiring non-profit organization which makes a real difference in the local community, and something I find very rewarding to be a part of.

The event was a huge success and a great night for NOW and Black Box staff, as well as guests, who all show a genuine passion for what they do and the difference they help to make in Northern Ireland. You can find out more about NOW at www.nowproject.co.uk.

So mark it in your calendars, because NOW are looking forward to seeing YOU at this all-inclusive event in Northern Ireland next year!

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Lots of Love, K.