Mr Chairman, Trustees, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Sanibonani, Manene namanenekazi. Ninjani.
I was very pleased to receive an invitation from Youth Lyric’s Chairman, Dr David Alderdice OBE, to attend tonight’s performance and this splendid reception.
The Twits is one of my favourite stories by Roald Dahl and, as a former Lord Mayor like your Chairman, I have met many characters in Belfast City Council who remind me of the Twits, the Roly-Poly Bird, and the Muggle-Wump monkey family.
The idea of The Twits came from Dahl's acute dislike of beards, so I don't think he would have fitted into the Northern Ireland Assembly when I was an MLA there some years ago, for there were several prominent personalities with beards.
I have never met an actual Roly–Poly Bird but I have heard of the Rary Bird. That was the bird whom some other Twits wished to throw down a cliff until she sung to them “It’s a long way to tip a Rary”
Like you I am greatly impressed by the energy and vitality of the young actors and dancers whom we see onstage tonight.They are a credit to their teachers, families and to this wonderful city of ours.
As we know over 300 young men and women attend Youth Lyric classes every week in Antrim and Belfast. The Board of Trustees of Youth Lyric has a clear vision for the future. It is a future which will continue to allow young people from every background to have the opportunity to develop their skills and talents in a creative and supportive atmosphere.
I was delighted to learn of the ongoing partnership between Youth Lyric and Belfast Metropolitan College. Project based learning is an integral part of courses at BMC and I am delighted that students from six different courses at the College have contributed to the success of this project.
I am aware that some of the College’s Senior Management Team is here with us this evening and I hope that the partnership with Youth Lyric will continue to bring benefits to both organisations and more importantly, to the students themselves.
Making this production a reality has taken months of preparation from the staff and students. Thankfully, Youth Lyric has received financial support from the Lottery Fund through the small grants programme, the Enkalon Foundation, Belfast Metropolitan College and of course many generous individuals who contribute through the Youth Lyric Friends and Patrons Programme.
I hope that those in the business community can help Youth Lyric build for the future and give the talented young people who have entertained us all so well this evening, the opportunity to reach their full potential.
I think that the Roly-Poly Bird was right . It’s no good going to a country and not knowing the language, especially English and Zulu.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in proposing a toast in English and Zulu to “Business and the Arts”, the imperative partnership.
Good health Akubekuhli… In English may I also say to the Roly-Poly Bird:Thank you. And in Zulu Ngiyabonga
The Twits, by Roald Dahl – Wikipedia