Brief history


The North Irish Horse Glee Party

In 1916 a regimental concert group, named the North Irish Horse Glee Party, was organised at Antrim to perform at various local functions. Newspaper reports of their performaces are shown below.





The annual social re-union of the members of the above church was held on Wednesday evening, 16th inst. ... Part I. took the form of a concert, and was in the capable hands of military men from the camps at Randalstown and Antrim. The men at present in Randalstown Camps are natives of Scotland. ... The men from Antrim who took part belong to the famous North Irish Horse, and they received a rousing welcome. The following contributed to the programme with marked ability:- Private Coates, pianoforte solo; Corporal Woods, piccolo solo; Trooper Quinn, mandoline selections; Sergeant McMillen, bagpipes; songs by Private J. Burton, Sergeant Matthewson, Corporal Wylie, Sergeant Hayton, C.M.S. Nichil, Sergeant Granston, Sergeant Baskill, Corporal Woods, Troopers Johnson, Woodburn, and Livingstone; duets by Sergeants Baskill and Jacobs; recitation by Sergeant H. Jacobs.

(Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 26 February 1916)



On Friday evening last, the 27th ult., a patriotic concert was given in Torren's Memorial Hall, Doagh, the proceeds of which will be devoted towards providing Christmas parcels for soldiers. It is intended to send a parcel to each soldier who has been a pupil at Doagh National School, and to as many more as the funds will provide for. Rev. W. M. Kennedy, B.A., Ballylinney, presided. The concert was organised by the teachers of Doagh Schools, who are to be congratulated on its success in every respect. They were fortunate in securing the services of "The Glee Party" of the North Irish Horse. Among the artistes were a number of old favourites, including Sergeant Nesbitt, the well-known basso, and Troopers Woodburn, Smith, and Bolton. The latter secured quite a triumph by his humorous items. A number of choruses were well rendered by the party, and also some interesting instrumental items. The pianoforte accompaniments were skilfully played by Trooper Woodburn. On the motion of the Rev. Robert Allison, seconded by Mr. Robson, a vote of thanks was passed to the artistes and the chairman, the concert concluding with the singing of the National Anthem. The artistes were entertained to supper by a few of the ladies of the district.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 4 November 1916)



A very interesting social evening was held in the new schoolroom in connection with above church on Friday evening [featuring presentation of] a portrait of the Rev. Dr. Irwin ... as a memento of the good work that Dr. Irwin had accomplished so successfully in the erecting of the new school and church hall. ... A very interesting musical programme was contributed by Miss Mary Gault and the following members of the North Irish Horse:-- Sergeant Harvey, Corporal Bell, Troopers Woodburn, Thomason, Purvis, Bolton, and Cathcart. ... a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the teamakers and to all who had contributed to the programme, especially to the members of the N.I.H., whose kindness and courtesy to Killead were unfailing. The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem and the benediction.

(Northern Whig, 11 December 1916)



On Friday evening a most enjoyable concert was given in the Protestant Hall, Glenavy, in aid of Christmas boxes for the local lads at the front, by the members of the North Irish Horse Glee Party. The programme, which consisted of choruses, songs, conjuring, humorous items, cornet solos, etc., was greatly appreciated by a large and attentive audience. The choral singing of the men showed fine balance and quality of tone, and won much admiration. The party was entertained by a number of local ladies working under the able and energetic presidency of the Misses Sefton, Glendona. The hall was very tastefully decorated for the occasion. Much credit is due to Mr. W. Lonsdale Briggs for the able manner in which the general organisation of the concert was conducted. The chair was occupied by the Vicar of Glenary (Rev. R. R. Muir), who at the close returned the hearty thanks of the audience and helpers to the men for so kindly coming there and giving their services in so good a cause. The proceedings concluded with the National Anthem.

(Belfast Weekly Telegraph, 23 December 1916)




On Friday evening, 9th inst., a very successful concert and dramatic entertainment in aid of War Funds was given at Connor Lecture Hall, which was crowded by a representative and very appreciative audience, including many visitors from a distance, who thoroughly enjoyed the evening's entertainment. The hall was admirably staged, and nothing was left undone to constitute it to the success it undoubtedly proved to be. An excellent programme in two parts had been arranged, and was in charge of Rev. H. V. Clements, pastor loci, who discharged his duties in approved style, and introduced the programme, which was opened by a pianoforte duet by the Misses Harbinson, which was tasteful and appropriate, and was followed by an interesting sketch by the Misses McCullough and Stirling, who displayed talents of a high order, and fulfilled the part to perfection. Choruses, "Don' you cry, my Honey," and "Bumble Bee," were very cleverly given by Glee Party N.I.H. (Antrim), under the command of Sergeant Harvey, who gained high ecomiums for his rendition of "The Skipper," which he invested with much vocal charm. Tpr. Brewer, Corporal Stafford, Tpr.-Major Woolford, L.-Corporal Thomason, and Privates Bolton, Martin, Purvis and Bradley also contributed several songs and solos in their inimitable style, their pleasant voices being heard with marked effect, and were well worthy of the cordial applause they received. Mrs. Moore (Doagh) gave a cultured rendering of "Annie Laurie," and her magnificent well-trained voice was heard to advantage. A local gentleman, Mr. A. Duncan, by special request, sang "Robin Tamson's Smiddy," which created much laughter, was encored, but did not respond. The closing part of the programme consisted of a very interesting sketch, entitled "Men Were Deceivers Ever," by the Magherafelt Ladies' Dramatic Club, with Miss Sterling president, under whose tuition the club has made gratifying and well sustained progress, and with the valuable assistance given, all have proved themselves very clever amateurs of high standing. Then the closing item, a recitation and chorus, "Men," which met with a very enthusiastic reception, after which the audience joined in singing the National Anthem. It may be added that the accompaniments during the evening were played by Mr. Entwistle (Muckamore), and at the close of the concert, through the generosity of Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. Frew, and a few lady friends, supper was provided, and thoroughly appreciated by all the artistes and a few willing workers, who were partly responsible for providing an enjoyable evening's entertainment, and the pleasand proceedings came to a close by singing Auld Lang Syne.

(Ballymena Observer, 2 March 1917)



The congregation of Ballylinney Presbyterian Church has, since the war began, shown a great deal of practical patriotism, a good number of young men having responded to the call, and, alas, some of perhaps the brightest, have already made the supreme sacrifice. In the matter of providing comforts, function after function has been held with most gratifying results. Continuing their good work, the committee and members arranged a grand military concert in aid of the Limbless Hospital and other war charities, which was given in the church on Friday evening last, when despite very inclement weather there was a large attendance. They were fortunate in securing the services of the glee party of the North Irish Horse from Antrim. Rev. W. M. Kennedy, B.A., presided. The programme opened with a fine rendering of the Soldiers' Churus from the opera "Faust" by the party, who in the course of the evening gave a number of choruses. Corporal Stafford sang "The Floral Dance" and "A Dinder Courtship" ; Sergeant Harvey (an old favourite) gave "The King's Own"; Trooper Rutherford sang "Pals"; Lance-Corporal Thompson sang "Anchored"; Troopers Martin and Rutherford sang the duet , "Life's Dream is O'er"; trumpet and cornet solos were given by Trumpet-Major Woodford and Trumpeter Brewer. Recitations were given by Trooper Boyle. Trooper Bolton, who was responsible for the humorous items, was a great attraction, and had to give several encores. Mr. John G. Entwistle, of Antrim, was a most efficient accompanist. Before the singing of the National ANthem Mr. J. J. Ferris moved a vote of thanks to all who had contributed. The ladies of the congregation very kindly entertained the men to supper.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 17 March 1917)



Miss Una Logan and Mr. Weir were chiefly responsible for the appearance at a patriotic concert in Market Square schoolroom on Friday evg. by the North Irish Horse Concert Party from Antrim, and they are to be heartily congratulated on their choice of artistes, as the merry musical combination gave of their very best, to the huge delight and appreciation of a very large audience. The promoters have every reason to be satisfied with the result from every point of view. With the exception of songs delightfully rendered by Miss Coulter all the items were given by the soldiers or, to give them their full title, the North Irish Horse Glee Singers, trumpet calls and cornet solos lending a pleasing variety. In addition to the numbers, both grave and gay, rendered by the Glee Party, individual items were contributed by the following, each and all of whom had to respond to imperative encores: -- Miss Coulter, Trumpeter Brewer, Corporal Stafford, Private Holton (a local man), Sergeant Harvey, Trumpet-Major Woodford, Lance-Corporal Bradley, Lance-Corporal Thomason, Private Rutherford. The accompaniments were played in a most excellent manner by Mr. Entwistle. Never was a vote of thanks better deserved than that, fitting and heartily proposed, to the artistes at the close by the Rev. J. J. C. Breakey, and seconded by Mr. G. A. Wilson. We have been asked to say on behalf of the soldiers that they appreciated the tea provided, and so excellently made, by Mrs. Hutchinson.

(Lisburn Standard, 30 March 1917)



A grand concert, organised by the principal and assistants of Doagh National Schools, was given in the Torrens Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening. The entire proceeds will be spent in aid of the above object. The glee party of the North Irish Horse, assisted by Miss Topping and the Misses Wilson, rendered a very interesting and enjoyable programme, which was much appreciated by a large audience. Mr. L. G. Entwistle played the accompaniments in a skilful manner.

(Northern Whig, 1 November 1917)



In connection with the Comforts Fund for the men of the North Irish Horse, in France (many of whom have been out since August, 1914), two very successful and enjoyable concerts were given in Antrim on Friday, the 16th inst. It was originally intended to have one concert to be held in the Protestant Hall, Antrim, but owing to the demand for seats it was found necessary to run a second concert in the large hall in the North Irish Horse camp. The same artistes appeared at both halls, and the long and varied programme submitted was highly appreciated and the laudable object in view will materially benefit. The artistes were:-- Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. Bob Robinson, the Misses Banbury, Burke, McIlveen, Wiley, and Wilson; Messrs. Alexander and Bob Robinson, Sergt. Trumpeter Woolford, Sergt. Somers (R.I.R.), Cpl. Bolton, and the North Irish Horse Glee Party, under the conductorship of Sergt. Trumpeter Woolford. The various accompaniments were excellently supplied by Miss Boyd and Mr. J. G. Entwistle, and Pte. Mitchell, R.A.M.C. The chair at the Protestant Hall was taken by Lieut.-Col. E. A. Maude, commanding North Irish Horse, and at the Camp Hall by Major R. G. O. Bramston-Newman, M.V.O., while the organization of the concerts by Capt. J. E. Pittaway, assisted by Sergt. J. B. Harvey, and R.Q.M.S. Fawcett, left nothing to be desired.

(Ballymena Observer, 23 November 1917)




A very highly successful concert, in aid of various war charities, was held in Antrim on Tuesday night, the 26th ult. A long, varied, and most interesting programme, arranged by Captain J. E. Pittaway, North Irish Horse, was submitted to a packed house, who appreciated it to the full, and the laudable objects in view will materially benefit. Encores were the order of the evening, and the contributions of each and every artiste were thoroughly enjoyed. Miss Mollie Convery created a great impression with her beautiful soprano voice while Miss Kathleen Tapping's fine contralto was heard to much advantage. The variety items given by the Misses Maude and Loius Craig and Sergt. Moon, R.E., were most entertaining. Corporal Stafford, the Regimental Trumpeters, and the Glee Party of the North Irish Horse, and also Messrs. Dusk, Egan, Gray, and Duff were very happy in their different efforts. The accompaniments were admirably supplied by Miss Lily Craig, Mr. J. G. Entwistle, and Lance-Corporal Ferguson, N.I.H.

(Ballymena Observer, 8 March 1918)



On Wednesday evening, the 17th inst., in the Town Hall, Ballyclare, a well-earned recognition was paid to Mr. Thomas J. Ferris, the popular teacher of the Bruslee National School ... [Speeches and presentation followed.]

An excellent programme was arranged for the concert. Mrs. Moore, so well known on the local concert platform, gave of her best, and Miss Lillie Kennedy sustained her already fine reputation. Trooper Jamison sang with fine effect, "Asleep in the Deep," Corporal Martin and Mr. J. G. Entwistle gave a duet. Mr. Tom Gibb, who always delights an audience, gave several humorous songs. The Glee Party of the North Irish Horse rendered a number of part songs. Mr. J. G. Entwistle played the accompaniments in his usual skilful manner. A very interesting and enjoyable part of the programme was a sketch, entitled, "The Petty Sessions at Ballygullion," written by Mr. R. G. Jackson, of Belfast, who also plays a prominent part in its presentation. It was very cleverly performed and much appreciated by the audience. Rev. W. J. Harrison proposed, and Mr. S. Coleman seconded, a vote of thanks to all who had contributed, and the entertainment concluded with the National Anthem.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 27 April 1918)