Dunmurry Battle reaches climax

LAST weekend hosted a range of band events right across Ulster, with venues stretching from Londonderry to Belfast, and the Ards Peninsula to Newtownstewart.

The Dunmurry Protestant Boys Battle of the Bands 2013 came to a head, with a large crowd turning out to support the final.

Upper Bann Fusiliers Lurgan, Lambeg Orange and Blue and Steeple Defended Flute all took part on the evening. Some excellent flutes and drums from all three bands were appreciated by all present. Other ‘Battles’ also began at the weekend, with Sons of Kai Flute the organisers in north Belfast, and Shankill Star hosts in the west of the city.

Sons of Kai had three bands on display on Friday night in the Nortel Social Club, with Monkstown Young Citizen Volunteers Flute, South Belfast Protestant Boys and Steeple Defenders on the programme.

All three bands were well turned out, with the Steeple Band, who have been very active this year already, progressing into the final. On Saturday night the Shankill Road reverberated to flute and drum with four bands participating for the Shankill Star 2013 Battle of the Bands.

Goldsprings True Defenders Flute Comber had the hardest task of all four bands, having to open proceedings, but the very traditional blood and thunder style band brought their always strong performance to the stage.

Next up were the Steeple Defenders, participating in yet another indoor event underlining their strong support for other bands, with their flute corps very notable. Whitewell Defenders were penultimate band. Despite a couple of difficult years the north Belfast men have kept it going, and tonight showed they have been working hard and will be around for a long time to come.

The night ended with the appearance of a local band, the West Belfast Volunteers, ending the night on a high with several standards within their set

On Friday night Tandragee Orange Hall hosted an event in aid of the UDR Benevolent Fund, with bands from every marching music genre on display, making for a very diverse yet entertaining line-up. Melody flute came from Somme Memorial Bangor, accordion from Corbet, blood and thunder from Kilcluney Volunteers, pipe from Battlehill and silver from Poyntzpass.

Other very successful events took place in Co Tyrone for Newtownstewart Red Hand Defenders, the every active outfit hosting Magherafelt’s Dunamoney, Lisbellaw Defenders of the Rock and Coleraine’s Freeman Memorial. One of the night’s highlights was a very entertaining drumming solo. In the north west, the Burntollet Sons of Ulster had an equally positive night, Pride of the Derg, Kilaloo Accordion and Pride of the Bann Coleraine each travelling to participate.

Some of this weekend’s events include a band concert in Cormeen Orange Hall for the Rising Sons of William Flute.

The bill includes South Armagh’s Synotts True Blues and South Down’s Annalong Single Star. On Saturday night the North Fermanagh Young Defenders host a variety concert in the Mayfly Inn Kesh. In all seven bands are scheduled to play, including Drum Accordion Monaghan, Lisburn Young Defenders, Castlederg Young Loyalists, Kileen Pipe, Pride of the Village Magheraveely, Pride of the Orange and Blue Newbuildings and Omagh Protestant Boys Flute.

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 quincey@ulsterbandsforum.net, with all contributions, opinions and news from the country’s thriving band movement very welcome. During the winter months Drum Beat welcomes the submission of band histories, old photographs and details of band practices for inclusion.