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Van to bring down the curtain on old school

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

 

Van Morrison is to play at two concerts to mark the closure of his old school in east Belfast.

The legendary musician will be the star turn at the shows at Orangefield High School in August.

The first show, on August 22, is only open to former staff and pupils.

A second show on August 23 is open to the public.

The concerts mark an end of an era at the school, which closes at the end of this month.

Morrison, who penned a song Orangefield, attended the school in the 1950s.

Maurice Kinkead of the East Belfast Partnership said: “We recognised there was a lot of artistic talent associated with the school, so we approached Van and he did not take much persuading.

“There was no persuasion needed.”

Over the years Orangefield High School has seen a host of important Belfast figures pass through its doors, including Brian Keenan, David Ervine, Sam McCready, Eric Bell and Marie Jones, as well as Morrison.

“Orangefield High School played a significant role in east Belfast and at EastSide Arts we believe that this should be celebrated and, importantly, preserved,” said Mr Kinkaid.

“We have no doubt we will fill the assembly hall with ex-staff and pupils and create a night which will go down in history.”

He added: “We do a festival each year anyway, but this year we are taking Orangefield as the theme.

“Tickets for the gig on August 23 can be bought from 11am on Saturday June 28 either online, in person, or by phone on a first come first served basis from the East Belfast Partnership. They cost £85.

“Ex-pupils are asked to come in person to our offices on June 28 at 9am. They need to bring photo ID and know when they were at the school. Their tickets cost £25.”

Vice-principal of Orangefield High, Maurice Johnston, 56, said the school governors “are pleased to facilitate the forthcoming concerts of one of Orangefield’s famous former pupils”.

“The current staff and pupils are delighted that Van Morrison has chosen his former school as a venue for this event,” he said.

Mr Johnston added: “We want this to be a celebration of the school and of its past history.

“It is still going to be sad, as it is when a school closes. I know staff and pupils are going to be annoyed.”

He said former pupils who participate in the EastSide Arts project “pushed the concert more than the school itself”.

“Orangefield played a big role in the community over the years and it will be a big commemoration for everyone involved with it.”

 

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