Fifty years ago almost every town and village in the North West had a dancehall – including the famous Pallidrome Ballroom in Strabane and Orchid Ballroom in Lifford.
Indeed, Strabane was also home to the legendary Clipper Carlton showband and the Pallidrome hosted thousands of dancers every Friday and Saturday night.
Thanks to this year’s ‘Music to your Ears’ project, 30 men will be playing a range of different instruments at the Alley Theatre on Thursday 25th – which will feature the story of the Pallidrome and Orchid ballrooms as seen through the eyes and ears of people who lived through the dancehall days.
The ‘Music to your Ears’ project offers an opportunity for men to hone their music skills and enjoy some male company with their peers – as well as gain confidence to accompany fellow musicians.
Thirty local guys have being working on music pieces of interest to them at Strabane Library since September under the tutorship of professional musicians Mickey Joe Harte, Terry McCafferty and latterly Ronan Doherty.
Many of the guys have engaged in the arts through an earlier project but for others this is their first forte into the world of performance.
The goal that the men have been working towards is a finale performance – ‘Are you going for a mineral?’ at the Alley Theatre on 25th January when they hope to take the audience on a walk down memory lane.
Asking the group where the show title came from, they explained that dancehalls were alcohol free places, so if a girl agreed to go for a mineral then she was agreeing to be your date for the evening!
This Derry City and Strabane District Council project is part of the Arts for the Third Age Project and has received support through the lead partner Arts Council of Northern Ireland under their Arts and Older Peoples Programme – which is jointly funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the National Lottery, the Public Health Agency and the Baring Foundation.
A fantastic night of entertainment and music nostalgia is guaranteed – featuring songs and stories of the many international stars who graced both stages in Strabane and Lifford – including Roy Orbison, Chubby Checker, Bill Haley and the Comets, Jim Reeves, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Tremelos and many more.
Tickets for ‘Are you going for a mineral?’ are £5 and can be purchased via the Alley Theatre Box Office on 02871 384444 or online at www.alley-theatre.com
For further information on the ‘Music to your Ears’ project contact Arts Development Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council Jean Smyth on 02871253253 Ext 4295.