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Issue:- 10 November  2011


CLASSICAL Brit Award winners 'Only Men Aloud' launch their sparkling Christmas album In Festive Mood on 28 November 2011 in time for Christmas and to coincide with an all singing, all dancing seasonal tour that takes in 14 towns and cities across the length and breadth of the UK.

The album includes the big Christmas songs that will be sprinkled throughout the tour, including It's the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year', 'Stille Nacht / I'll be Home for Christmas', and 'Last Christmas'. The album was produced by crossover classical music specialist and Grammy Award nominee Nick Patrick, who has been responsible for seven Best Album awards in the Classical Brits, including his work with Russell Watson and Katherine Jenkins. In Festive Mood was recorded in Acapela recording studios, a converted village chapel on a hillside in the choir’s Welsh homeland.

This is the third album for 'Only Men Aloud' following the success of their eponymous first album, which went Gold, and the second, 'Band of Brothers', which reached No. 1 in the Classical Charts, and won the choir the NS&I Album of The Year category at the Classical Brit Awards last year

Only Men Aloud Music Director Tim Rhys Evans said:- “This is a real feel good sound for Christmas that I know our fans are going to love. It features well known Carols given the Only Men Aloud special treatment, along with traditional classics, and pop songs we’ll be taking on tour around the UK this December, all with a festive flavour to put people in the mood for Christmas.”

Last Christmas Britain’s favourite choir appeared on the 'Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special', in a primetime slot on Christmas evening, just 2 years after winning the BBC’s Last Choir Standing competition.

The choir’s Christmas tour covers the following:-

28 Nov Aberystwyth Arts Centre
29 Nov Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
2 Dec Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
4 Dec Norwich Theatre Royal
5 Dec Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
6 Dec Gateshead Sage
9 Dec Sheffield City Hall
10 Dec Llandudno Cymru Arena – 2 shows
11 Dec Preston Guildhall
12 Dec Manchester Bridgewater Hall
13 Dec Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
15 Dec Birmingham Symphony Hall
16 Dec Bristol Colston Hall
17 Dec Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

For information and tickets please go to:-

War heroes remembered!

LIVERPOOL’S annual Service of Remembrance and Dedication will take place on Sunday, 13 November 2011, at the Cenotaph on St George’s Hall Plateau.  Hundreds of people are expected to gather at the ceremony which pays tribute to those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The Band of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment perform from 10.40am and will be joined by singer Danielle Thomas who will give a moving rendition of Abide With Me. The service starts at 10.55am with a ‘Thought for Remembrance Day’ given by the Lord Bishop of Liverpool, The Right Reverend James Jones.  The Act of Remembrance will be led by the County President of The Royal British Legion, Sir Alan Waterworth and a two minute silence will begin at 11am.   Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, said:- “The city’s Remembrance Service is always a special occasion, but this year marks the 70th anniversary of the May blitz in Liverpool so is more poignant than ever. In September, the 2nd battalion, The Duke of Lancaster Regiment, proudly marched through the city centre after in a special homecoming parade, and they were very warmly welcomed by the people of Liverpool, showing just how much we all appreciate the armed services. The Remembrance Service is an opportunity for us to reflect on those men and women from the forces who have sacrificed their lives and also remember local men and women who have been killed during recent wars and conflicts. I urge everyone to wear their poppy with pride and show their support of those who given their lives for us in battle.”  Liverpool’s tribute to its war heroes starts on Friday, 11 November 2011, at 10.55am when the Lord Mayor will join veterans from the Royal British Legion at the Cenotaph for a short service.  Sunday’s event is supported by The Royal British Legion.

New Pier Head landing stage reaches latest landmark

MERSEY Ferries new Pier Head landing stage moved a step closer to welcoming passengers as the new floating platform was tugged into place.  The £8 million stage will be home to the world famous Mersey Ferries and to Mersey Fire and Rescue’s river based community fire station.  The bridge linking Merseytravel’s award winning Pier Head ferry terminal will soon be lifted into place before passengers will be able to use the new facilities.

Neil Scales, Chief Executive of Merseytravel said:- "This has been a significant project for Merseytravel, and a long time coming. We are eager for the final stages of the project to come together so we can see the world famous Mersey Ferries calling once again at the spiritual home in front of the 3 Graces."

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel added:- "Our tourism strategy contributes more than £34 million and the equivalent of 742 full-time jobs to the region’s economy each year. We have made a significant investment in this scheme and will be able to provide a world class arrival and departure point for the ferries. We know our passengers, from near and far, will appreciate the new facilities, and it demonstrates our commitment to the regions visitor economy."

Many elements were incorporated to make the landing stage as eco-friendly as possible.  Neil Scales added:- “It was important to make sure that as well as providing a comfortable waiting experience for ferry passengers, the landing stage reflected the environmental standards displayed in the landside ferry terminal building, which is recognised nationally for its sustainable credentials.”

Rainwater will be harvested from the Pier Head Terminal building for recycling. Extensive use of insulation, key to any low energy design, has been used throughout to retain heat and to keep the structures cool in warm weather. Blue tinted glass has been incorporated tom minimise both heat and glare from the sun, whilst river washed pebbles have been used for the roof finish because their pale grey colour helps to naturally reflect sunlight and to keep the structures cool.  £3.8 million of the scheme was funded by European match funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Liverpool’s Largest Arts Market Just Got Bigger!

THE Winter Arts Market, Liverpool’s largest arts and craft market just got bigger; the festive shopping extravaganza will run for 2 days on the first weekend in December. Visitors will find the widest selection of handmade artworks, crafts and gifts whilst enjoying the stunning surroundings of St George’s Hall, a Grade I listed heritage site.  In the lead up to Christmas, local community interest company Open Culture stage this special event to offers shoppers an alternative to the high street, a chance to purchase gifts directly from the artists and craftspeople that make them.  The event will see 150 of the North West’s most imaginative artists, designers and makers, presenting thousands of unique items at prices for all pockets including:- Paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, textiles, knitwear, jewellery, clothing, cards, vintage, ceramics, glass, handmade beauty products, accessories and much more.

Christina Grogan, Open Culture Director said:- “2011 sees our third Winter Arts Market and it gets better each year! We bring together a mass of talent and creativity from across the region into one of Liverpool’s most beautiful venues for people to enjoy. It’s so satisfying buying something that you know is truly unique directly from the maker. At Open Culture we say: buy handmade, buy local, buy beautiful, it needn’t cost the earth"

Shoppers can also relax and enjoy some food and drink from another new addition to the event, two new Can Cook Cafes setup especially for the event offering their tasty winter warmers menu including some scrumptiously seasonal mulled wine!  A special programme of free musical performances will also take place inside the Crown Courtroom and visitors can discover some fascinating facts about the venue from historical characters brought to life by the Friends of St Georges Hall and Lormac Productions will give you the rare chance to meet Queen Victoria!  Entrance is £1.50; children under 16 years enter for FREE!  A special preview of some of the exhibitors will feature on the event blog.  The Winter Arts Market takes place at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, over Saturday, 3 December & Sunday, 4 December 2011 from 10am to 5pm. Prices:- Children:- FREE - 16’s and over £1.50.

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