Musical heritage on show in Orange Order exhibition

Veteran pipe band drummer Wilby Hanna (Upper Crossgare LOL 1608) playing one of the innovative drums he designed and built in 1981
Veteran pipe band drummer Wilby Hanna (Upper Crossgare LOL 1608) playing one of the innovative drums he designed and built in 1981

A new exhibition has opened at the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast.

For Singing & For Dancing explores diverse aspects of Orangeism’s musical heritage, from the iconic Lambeg drum and marching bands to poetry, ballads and prose.

Speaking at the recent launch event, which was attended by a cross section of the community, Edward Stevenson, grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, pointed out that the motivation behind the new exhibition was to articulate the story of Orangeism and the musical skills and traditions that have delivered such a positive legacy to modern society.

He said: “Through this exhibition we are giving a platform to some of the many aspects of Orange musical heritage that have grown, evolved, and influenced thousands of people for the past 300 years.

“Traditional airs and ballads mingle with lesser known songs that have captured and articulated the story of Orangeism to an audience well beyond the confines of the lodge room.”

The first visitors were able to explore the exhibition and the new interactive elements that complement the narrative on display.

Jonathan Mattison, museum curator, explained the importance of the new project: “We wanted to shed light on the rich and complex strands that make up Orangeism’s musical heritage, especially the individuals that have been involved with various bands, drumming associations, and business that have helped create aspects of a world-beating tradition.”

Several significant items are on display including Brian Boru and Scottish Highland Pipes, traditional flutes and, of course, several examples of Lambeg drum.

The new exhibition runs until Saturday December 14.