Watch First Front Room Sessions
Culture Northern Ireland competition winner Wendy Cromie welcomes Lisaire String Quartet to her Killyleagh home for her first ever live classical music experience
Culture Northern Ireland's inaugural Front Room Sessions took place on February 21, with acclaimed classical outfit Lisaire String Quartet performing in competition winner Wendy Cromie's home in Killyleagh, County Down.
'I've never been to a classical concert in my life,' said Cromie. 'Neither had most of my family and friends, who came to our house on the day of Lisaire's performance. So it was a first for lots of us, and amazing to see a group like Lisaire playing their wonderful music in our own home. It's something I'll never forget.'
Launched in January 2015, Front Room Sessions is a new competition stream from Northern Ireland's most popular arts website, affording winners the opportunity to enjoy the live art experience in the comfort of their own home, no matter their location.
The first Front Room Session saw Lisaire String Quartet perform a 20-minute set, and encore, including material from their debut album, Ode to Sting. Cromie, a keen fan of classical music, entered the competition after reading about it on the Culture Northern Ireland Facebook page.
'Lisaire were absolutely fantastic,' she added. 'They even performed an encore for us, which was unexpected. We all had tea and buns and made a day of it. It was a truly fantastic experience. I would like to thank Culture Northern Ireland for running this brilliant new competition, and urge other people to enter in the future.'
Lisaire String Quartet are one of the most popular classical groups in Northern Ireland, regularly selling out concerts and performing across Ireland during the wedding season. Their debut album, Ode to Sting – a collection of new arrangements of classic rock and pop songs written by former Police frontman, Sting – has been endorsed by the man himself, and was recently featured on the official Sting website.
Lisa Henderson, Lisaire String Quartet founder, chief arranger and lead violin player, kindly performed at the Front Room Sessions despite being 38 weeks pregnant.
'We were so thrilled to be asked by Culture Northern Ireland to take part in the very first Front Room Sessions competition,' said Henderson.
'I love the idea behind the project, it's such a great concept. We have a running joke with many of our clients that they would love us to come to their homes and set up in their living rooms, and that's exactly what we did as part of Front Room Sessions. We had a great time. Wendy was lovely and had a great crew of family and friends in attendance. We all had great fun.'
The next Front Room Sessions competition features renowned artist Bill Gatt producing an iPad portrait of the winner and is available to enter now.