Dan Gordan set to host Burnavon celebrations

Ashley Elliott, the first person ever to play xylophone on Britain's Got Talent.
Ashley Elliott, the first person ever to play xylophone on Britain's Got Talent.

TAKE your seats at the Burnavon this Saturday July 7 at 8pm when writer, actor and broadcaster, Dan Gordon will be on stage to introduce a brilliant line up for this year’s July Celebrations Concert.

Probably best known for his portrayal of Red Hand Luke in the sitcom Give my Head Peace, Dan has also worked in dramas on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and as a columnist for the Sunday Life.

Recently The Boat Factory, a play he wrote about life at Harland and Wolf, was a highlight of the Belfast Titanic Festival. As well as keeping the audience engrossed with his own anecdotes, Dan will introduce the best line-up of music, song and dance you are likely to come across this summer.

The evening will kick off with local group Rightly On who went down so well with the audience at last year’s concert.

The band, which first came together in March 2009, is made up of Drew, Jonny, Rab and Ian Lennox alongside piper Neil Badger. Rightly On use their experience of Traditional and Pipe Band music alongside a little bit of Rock to provide a unique entertainment experience.

Next on stage will be Ashley Elliott who was the first person ever to play xylophone on Britain’s Got Talent and the first person from Northern Ireland to get through to the live semi-finals when he played to 12 million people. 

Described by Amanda Holden as ‘Having the fastest hands in show business’, by David Walliams as ‘A xylophone playing One Man One Direction’ and by Simon Cowell as ‘A brilliant player’, we are really looking forward to having Ashley in Cookstown to play for us this weekend.

The Saturday Folk Club will be next on stage. Under the guidance of Donald Canavan, the group is made up of talented young players along with a number of well-known accomplished local musicians. Together they have all been practising hard every Saturday at the Burnavon and we can surely expect a great performance from them.

Finally, top of the bill is Sontas, who bring the best of Ulster–Scots and Irish music, song and dance together in an exciting, vibrant and colourful stage show.

The 10 strong line-up is very impressive with several members of Sontas having travelled and performed for audiences throughout the world. Darren ‘Barney’ Milligan takes the lead on the great highland bagpipes.

He has played in New York, Milwaukee, India, Switzerland, Germany, France and Holland, to name but a few. Dance leader Georgina Kee is renowned for her choreography skills and was the person responsible for West Ulster Total Dance, the only group from the province ever selected to perform at the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh last August.

Closer to home and more recently Sontas’ popularity has been going from strength to strength in recent weeks. In May, as part of Donegal Live Festival, they were on the same bill as Alexandra Burke, The Saw Doctors and Goats Don’t Shave. Then the group performed in St. Columb’s Park, Londonderry and at Belfast City Hall during the Olympic Torch Relay Celebrations, playing to 12000 and 15000 spectators respectively.

And just last weekend Sontas performed at the Clipper welcoming festival in Londonderry. So we are welcoming Sontas to Cookstown just when they are on the up and up and a fantastic show is guaranteed.

So all in all a great evening of varied and quality entertainment awaits, all introduced by Dan Gordon.

July Celebrations Concert – Saturday 7th July 8pm at the Burnavon – book your seat for the best concert in town this summer.

Tickets priced £10 are available from the Burnavon Box Office 867 69949 option 1 or online at www.burnavon.com

This event has been organised as part of the Arts and Culture Development Programme of Cookstown District Council with funding assistance from the council’s Good Relations Programme and from the Ulster Scots Agency.