John S Mercer
John Mercer founded Belfast Operatic Company in 1960, in Ballymacarrett Church. Its members at the time included not only choristers from the church choir but also a large number of teacher friends and acquaintances of his wife and himself, who had trained at Stranmillis College in Belfast.
Over the past 60+ years the Company has grown in size and is now permanently based at its own headquarters in The Mount only about a quarter of a mile from the church in which it was founded.
The Company, right from the early days was ambitious in its choice of repertoire. It established itself and its excellent chorus in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, and then later branching out into the field of modern musicals. It is now one of the few amateur companies to perform regularly as part of the spring season at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
The Company still boasts a fine chorus and lays strong emphasis on this tradition. It also has among its members a large number of talented singers, actors and dancers, backed up by a fine team of Musical Director, Director, Choreographer and Stage team. John felt it a great privilege to be their President for a number of years and felt a great sense of pride in their many achievements over the years.
He said:” Since its beginnings, I have watched Belfast Operatic Company progress into one of the major amateur groups in the province to perform in the Grand Opera House and I have been delighted by its many successes over the years and Long may it continue to flourish.”