Belfast Choir in Full Voice for Disabilities Day

Open Arts have organised a special candle-lit concert at St. Peter's Cathedral to celebrate the achievements of all those with disabilities

Open Arts, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic arts and disability organisations, will be topping off its 25th anniversary celebrations with an evening of festive songs in the beautiful candle-lit surroundings of St. Peter's Cathedral, Belfast at 7.30pm on Friday, December 1. 

'Open Arts Community Choir by Candlelight' will feature the organisation’s multi-award-winning community choir performing with a range of guest artists and comes just ahead of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Sunday, December 3.  

Based at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, Open Arts provides high quality arts programmes and activities for people with physical disabilities, visual impairments and mental health issues.  Since the organisation was founded, it is estimated that its programmes have benefited over 12,000 people. 

The Open Arts Community Choir had an extremely successful run at the European Choir Games this year, winning an impressive two gold medals, a gold diploma and a silver diploma and competing against choirs from all over the world, including Canada, Russia and the USA.

Speaking ahead of the St. Peter’s Cathedral concert, Eileen Branagh, chief executive of Open Arts said: 'Part of the role of Open Arts as an organisation and our Community Choir is to make the arts as widely accessible as possible to people with disabilities and to show that with the right support there is nothing that people with disabilities cannot achieve.

Nicholas McAtamney (Open Arts Monday Players Drama Group and Vice Chair), Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister and Margaret Mann (Open Arts Community Choir member and Chairperson)

Nicholas McAtamney (Open Arts Monday Players Drama Group and Vice Chair), Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister and Margaret Mann (Open Arts Community Choir member and Chairperson)

'The UN International Day of the Disabled highlights the achievements of people with disabilities on a wider basis. Our members contribute to Northern Ireland society every day in numerous different ways – in the arts, the Civil Service, in education and health and beauty - and we are proud of each and every one of them!'

Open Arts Community Choir by Candlelight will feature guest appearances from Donal Scullion (singer-songwriter), Bronagh Broderick (singer-songwriter), Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band, and Jonny McGeown (vocals and violin).

Earlier this month Belfast City Hall marked the 25th anniversary of Open Arts when it was illuminated with blue and purple lights, and the same evening hosted a special reception showcasing a variety of work by members spanning film, dance, creative writing, drama and song.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, commended the organisation's work prior to the event, stating: 'We know that they deliver fantastic, inspirational and high quality artistic work with hundreds of disabled people from across the city every year.'

Tickets for the event are £10 and are available to buy now from www.openartscommunitychoir.com/ or by calling Open Arts on tel. 028 90240765.