Festival anniversary score steals a march

Magheramorne Silver Band at a previous Broadisland Gathering.
Magheramorne Silver Band at a previous Broadisland Gathering.

A special march is being written to mark the 25th anniversary of the Broadisland Gathering festival in Ballycarry.

Local councillor and musician Mark McKinty has been working on the unique score for some weeks now, after the suggestion was made to him at a meeting of the Ballycarry Community Association.

Mark McKinty.

Mark McKinty.

Cllr. McKinty is a member of the group and has also been a member of Magheramorne Silver Band for the past 19 years.

At one of the Association meetings it was suggested that one way to provide a legacy for the Gathering would be to provide a musical piece to have the silver band mark the silver jubilee of the event.

He has previously penned a march called “Paisley’s Men” for the silver band, to pay tribute to long-time bandmaster James Paisley, who was one of the founder members of the band back in 1882.

The new musical score will be based on music from the local area, he says, but the full detail will be under wraps until the first official performance at this year’s Broadisland Gathering, on the afternoon of Saturday, September 2.

The composer said “I thought composing a march would be a very fitting way to mark the 25th anniversary of the Broadisland Gathering. Music has played a major role not only in the Broadisland Gathering since it began, but also in the history of Ballycarry itself.

“Tha Braidislan’ Getherin’” is influenced by a number of musical traditions of the Ballycarry area. It opens with William Hume’s ‘Muttonburn Stream’ in a slightly different time than the original (to be able to march to it).

“The bass solo in the centre is ‘Songs of Scotland’ to highlight the strong connection with Scotland. I remember this being played by the Village Flute Band when I was young, so it’s also a tribute to the long flute band history in the village.

“To finish the piece, I chose the tune “Ballycarry” by William Calwell, another of Ballycarry musician and song writer. The pieces come together to mark 25 years of the longest-established Ulster Scots festival with a celebration of the best of Ballycarry’s music, traditions with which Magheramorne Silver Band has been closely associated for much of its 135 year history,” Mark said.

The silver band will be taking part in a townlands parade and the main pageant parade in the village and in addition to the anniversary being marked by a tune, a band from County Armagh will be bringing the former sound of Magheramorne Silver to a new audience.

In 1949, the Magheramorne Band changed from a brass and reed band, and the Gathering organisers have invited Camlough Brass and Reed Band to perform at this year’s event.

The Camlough band will be playing in concert during the event on September 2, bringing the unique brass and reed sound to the area for the first time in almost 70 years.