Northern Ireland

Omagh Community Youth Choir in a New Orleans love story

What is the worlds most perfect proposal? Well one soon-to-be bride thinks her fiance got it just right with the help of an Omagh choir.

The Omagh Community Youth Choir were busking in New Orleans when Ben Winters asked for help proposing to his girlfriend.

The choir then circled round the happy couple and sang when Ben asked that all-important question.

Luckily Wendy said yes and said the Omagh choir had made the moment "unforgettable."

The choir were in New Orleans visiting the Shades of Praise interracial community gospel choir.

The Shades of Praise choir visited Northern Ireland in 2003 and the Omagh choir visited New Orleans in 2005, just two weeks before Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans choir invited the Omagh choir back this year for the Louis Armstrong Festival.

'Very romantic'

Choir member Grainne McNabb, 19, told the BBC the choir were busking in a park when they were approached.

"We were just finishing our last piece and were getting ready to go for dinner when this boy approached us and asked us to sing another song.

"We just thought he wanted to hear us sing and we really wanted to go for dinner, but he said he really really needed us to sing another song as he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. So we gathered up again and sang Songbird - then he brought her infront of us and proposed to her.

Another choir member Amy Moore said the scene was very romantic; "We circled around them when she said yes and in the background the church bells started ringing."

"For this to have happened in such an impromptu way, it just goes to show that romance isn't dead;" said Daryl Smith, Director of the Omagh Community Youth Choir.

"I couldn't believe it when Ben came up to me and said he wanted to propose. It was only when I saw the fear in his eyes that I realised he was actually being serious.

The happy couple were Ben Winters and Wendy Kirkpatrick from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Image caption The Omagh Community Youth Choir were performing in New Orleans

'It was perfect'

I had planned on proposing to Wendy when we were in New Orleans," said Ben "I was going to do it on the balcony of our hotel but then I realised we were near Jackson Square so I went down there to have a look."

"That's when I saw the choir and I knew I wanted to propose there."

It's fair to say Wendy was a little bit surprised with the proposal.

"I had no idea what was going on. When he pulled me in front of the choir I thought he wanted to dance. That was really odd because he definitely isn't that kind of guy," she said.

"It was incredible when they circled us, it was one of those rare moments I knew I would remember forever. I can't put into words how thankful I am. It was perfect, the choir was perfect. It was something I will remember forever and the choir will always be in our hearts and prayers."

So could this be the most romantic proposal in the world? Daryl Simpson thinks men will now have to up their game when it comes to their special moment.

"Ben has shamed the men of the world with the most romantic gesture ever."

The couple plan to marry on 4 May 2013.

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