Thursday, 21 August 2014

Orangefield - Van's Old School Closes

Van Morrison’s old school of Orangefield High School is being closed after years of declining student numbers.  Van left there in July 1960 at the age of 14 (admittedly turning 15 the very next month).  On a positive note Van’s performing three concerts there this weekend.  On Friday (22/8) and Sunday (24/8) he’s performing two concerts for the school alumni and former staff for the cheap price of 25 pounds a ticket.  On Saturday he’s performing for the general public at 85 pounds  ticket.  All thee concerts are to take place in the assembly hall, which is one of the older buildings on the site.  
The concerts are part of the EastSide Arts Festival.  Specifically the concerts are designed to celebrate the school’s cultural significance to the area.  Over the years Orangefield High School has seen a whole host of important Belfast figures pass through its doors including Brian Keenan, David Ervine, Sam McCready, Eric Bell,  Marie Jones, Van Morrison – to name but a few. 

The current Orangefield High School was formed in 1990 after the former separate girls' and boys' schools were amalgamated.  Education Minister John O'Dowd announced the closure in January and said that the remaining 80 or so students would have to be accommodated at other nearby schools.

The Belfast Board are considering its future use.  Perhaps Van could buy it to be used as the location for the Belfast Van Morrison Museum.  (Note to Simon Gee: get your stuff ready for the buyers from the Museum who’ll come calling soon.)   

Orangefield is another of Van's Belfast nostalgia songs and was released on the 1989 album Avalon Sunset.  The song was a minor hit in the Netherlands, charting at #70.  It was recorded in 1988 at the Eden Studios in London with Mick Glossop as engineer.  

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