ONE of the Province’s finest concert venues, the Braid in Ballymena, hosted the annual concert for Dunloy Accordion last Friday night.
State of the art facilities and a well known and entertaining host in the form of Jackie Fullerton ensured the evening was a massive success.
Highlights of the night included the exemplary performance of the Castlegore Flute, particularly their renditions of Carrickfergus and My love is a Red Red Rose. Cookstown Sons of William Flute provided its always exemplary melody flute performance, while Dunloy Accordion themselves got an enthusiastic crowd reaction from such pieces as San Lorenzo and Our Director.
Elsewhere at the weekend, Coleraine hosted two very well supported concerts.
Freeman Memorial attracted a large crowd who saw four high quality Ulster marching bands on show. Strong bass drum from Monkstown Young Citizen Volunteers flute, the sharp style of Ballymaconnolly Sons of Conquerors and a drum solo all added to the night’s proceedings. Further across the town the Pride of the Bann Flute had an equally large crowd pack the venue, with bands performing including Burntollet Sons of Ulster and Cloughmills Crown Defenders. Further east, the Dunmurry Protestant Boys Flute held heat two of their 2013 Battle of the Bands competition, featuring five outfits from across the Province.
Upper Bann Fusiliers Flute Lurgan illustrated very clearly they have been working hard over the winter, being very strong in all categories. Pride of the Village Flute Stoneyford truly entertained the hall with some well known traditional anthems, while South Belfast Young Conquerors Flute brought some very traditional blood and thunder on to the floor. Portadown Defenders and Tamlaghtmore Tigers rounded up the line-up with both making their way through very strong sets.
This weekend there is a range of band events right across the Province, signalling that the winter lull is well and truly over. On Friday night fundraising band concerts take place for Newtownards Sons of Ulster Flute in the Queen’s Hall in the town, whilst in north Belfast the 2013 Sons of Kai Flute Battle of the Bands takes place in the Nortel Social Club.
On Saturday night Thornhill LOL 651 hosts a band night in the Antrim British Legion, featuring Sir George White Flute, Kellswater Flute and Dunloy Concert Group.
The same evening Tandragee Orange Hall will host a night in aid of the Ulster Defence Association Benevolent Fund. The ticket only event is truly representative of the band scene wit hall genres in attendance. The programme for Tandragee includes Somme Memorial Bangor, Kilcluney Volunteers, Corbet Accordion, Poyntzpass Silver, Battlehill Pipe and the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment.
In west Belfast’s Liverpool Club the Shankill Star launch their Battle of the Bands Competition for 2013, Ballylesson Old Boys are hosts of a band night in their own Dunmurry Hall, and Red Hand Defenders Flute Newtownstewart are the organisers of a band concert in the Rendezvous Bar in the town.
In the north west, Burntollet Sons of Ulster are hosts in Rochester’s Bar on the Waterside, with bands on show including Kilaloo Accordion.
If you would like to publicise fundraising, competition, cultural or indeed any events related to the large Ulster marching band fraternity, Drum Beat will endeavour to use all information supplied where possible. Drum Beat needs your contributions to continue to promote what is easily Northern Ireland largest voluntary arts grouping, and one of the most unique musical movements in the world. You can contact Drum Beat by ringing or texting 07835624221 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, with all contributions, opinions and news from the country’s thriving band movement very welcome. During the winter months Drumbeat welcomes the submission of band histories, old photographs and details of band practices for inclusion.