About Us - Conductor and Accompanist
Conductor - Alastair Mc Quoid
Alastair's love of music began at the Methodist College Belfast where he was taught violin. On leaving school, he joined a small orchestra, where one of the other members asked him to sing in Downe Operatic Society in a forthcoming performance of "The Mikado", (Chorus members where required). Alastair then developed a love for choral music and studied as a bass singer under James Shaw, a very well known performer at that time. Further training was undertaken at The Belfast School of Music, where Alastair passed his Grade 8 Theory examination of the Royal schools of Music. In 1980 an opportunity arose to conduct the Harlandic Male Voice Choir, which Alastair successfully directed for a period of 10 years, performing with the BBC - "Friday Night is Music Night", with John Anderson at Ulster TV, together with Harry Secombe, Moira Anderson, Joseph Locke and Stuart Burrows, to name a few. More recently Alastair has reverted to his first love i.e. the violin, and is honoured to have been appointed as conductor of the Queens Island Victoria Male Choir.
Deputy Conductor - Tom Whyte
Tom Whyte is Director of Music at First Lisburn Presbyterian Church. For a long number of years Tom was musical director for the Lambeg Players and also for the Belfast & Lisburn District Scout and Guide Gang Shows in the Grand Opera House, Belfast and in various venues in Lisburn. He has been Organist & Choirmaster in St Columba’s Presbyterian & Methodist, Old Warren; All Souls’ Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Elmwood Ave., Belfast and East Belfast Mission. He has been a member of Blaris Accordion Band and now plays trombone in Garvey Silver Band of which he is chairman. He is also a keen member of Queen’s Island Victoria Male Choir. Over the last few years Tom has concentrated his efforts in producing concerts in aid of various charities in the Island Hall, Lisburn and other venues such as The Bangor Corporate and Conference Centre.
Accompanist - John McCracken
John McCracken started playing the piano at the age of just 4, taught by his mother. His love for music flourished at Ballyclare High School where he was a member of the senior and chamber choirs, orchestra, wind band and chamber orchestra. He also performed in the well-loved musicals ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Carousel’ at Ballyclare, and was awarded the Roy McKay award for A-level music.
John was recently awarded the Diploma of the London College of Music in pianoforte performance. He is also a keen flautist and was a member of the NEELB Senior Orchestra. He has experience as an accompanist at his home church (Abbey Presbyterian, Monkstown) as well as at Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian and for various soloists, both instrumental and vocal. John is the pianist at the 13th Newtownabbey Boys’ Brigade company.