In the passage of time since 1933, when the Ballyclare Male Choir was formed, there have been a few individuals who, in their own special way, have left their mark on the choir.
Taking pride of place amongst that number has to be Sam Stewart. Sam, who joined the choir aged 19 in 1933, is still hail and hearty and celebrated his 100th birthday on June 21.
On the day a small group from the present choir travelled to Co Down to join Sam, his daughter Maureen and some family friends for a birthday celebration in their Groomsport home.
When Sam finally put away his music scores in 2003 he’d given the choir 70 years of loyal service, having held the roles of president, accompanist for 40 years and secretary for 38 years from 1933. A talented baritone, he also succeeded his brother William J as deputy conductor of the choir in 1969.
“Sam still keeps in touch with the choir and its activities. And as we begin our 80th season in September we are proud to still have that link with the past through Sam, our only honorary life member,” a choir spokesman said.