|Adam Donaghy: 1945 - 1966
The first full time director of the Harlandic Male Voice Choir, Adam Donaghy's name deserves to be recognised next to all the great male choir conductors of the 20th Century. Small in stature but with an enormous gift for interpretation and getting the very best from his choir, Adam is remembered by those who knew him with immense respect and admiration. Arriving with the newly formed choir in 1945, Adam took a rough hewn group of mainly shipyard workers and turned them into a choir that was almost unbeatable in competition during the 1950's and early 1960's. His skills however were not merely as a technical perfectionist, those who sung under his direction recall that he always wanted the choir to "paint a picture", to get inside the music and touch the hearts as well as the minds of the audiences.
The highlights of his time with Harlandic were many; winning Belfast Festival a record number of times, scoring 96 marks out of 100 singing Schubert's "The Lord is my Shepherd" to defeat 12 other choirs at Morecombe Music Festival, broadcasting regularly on BBC Radio, giving the choirs first TV broadcast, singing at the Royal Albert Hall. In the weeks before a competition it is reputed that he carried a copy of the test piece wherever he went, looking over the score on the tram or at lunchtime till he was word and note and dynamics perfect! In addition to being held in high regard as a musician he was also a gentlemen who assisted with Ballyclare Male Choir when their conductor Albert McClenaghan was too ill to conduct. Adam died suddenly from a heart related illness aged just 67, his loss was felt keenly by the choir for many years. His wife Eileen was a Vice President of the choir until her death, his son in law Ian was Chairman for many years and his daughter Kay (a member of the Bangor Ladies Choir) has been a lifelong supporter of the choir.