Local bands on the march...



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THE band season is now well underway and with most bands having completed their first outings of the 2012 season it looks sure to be a busy and eventful one.

Indoor Competitions now look to fill up the first three months of the year and once they come to a finish the boots are polished and uniforms are pressed as the bandsmen and woman take to the road once again to promote and share their culture, heritage and musical ability.

This year is significantly different in that we will see some important dates marked and remembered with parades and events taking place including the Balmoral Review, Signing of the Ulster Covenant, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and many others.

Bandscene will endeavour to cover these events and bring you reports and pictures from such celebrations as well as the weekly parades in and around Northern Ireland.

Steeple Defenders dedication service

The Steeple Defenders Flute Band held a Dedication Service and Parade recently to unveil their new instruments. The “Wee Blue Army” were accompanied on parade by members of Clotworthy Junior Orange Lodge and the Steeple Veterans Flute Band as they made their way around the Steeple Estate showing off their impressive instruments which have been purchased with financial support from the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland.

The officers and members of the Steeple Defenders are thankful for the support and assistance received from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the introduction of 10 brand new Andante Side Drums and 20 Mull Wick Flutes along with other instruments which has certainly taken the musical ability of the band up another level.

The band is being noticed more and more for the great work that they continue to do in the community and the practice and effort that they put into playing so these new Instruments will help take Antrim’s most progressive band another step further giving the members a bit more to smile about as they begin another busy parading season which will see them visit towns and villages across Northern Ireland as well as trips to Scotland in June and August and Liverpool in August.

A spokesperson from the band said: “We wish to acknowledge the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and indeed the assistance received from them in the application process and purchase of our new instruments, the introduction of the Instruments to the band has given the members more interest and a bigger sense of pride in the music they are playing.

“As a marching band we can attend up to 60 engagements per year and as you can imagine the instruments get well used and we are happy that we have been able to replace the old instruments some of which have seen 10 to 15 years’ service in the band with brand new ones meaning that our quality of music will sound even better and enhance the Wee Blue Army’s performance overall.

“As we begin another season of parades and events we look forward to getting the full use of our new Instruments and again thank all those who have supported us.”

Steeple Defenders Parade

The “Wee Blue Army” followed on from their Instrument dedication on the Friday evening with a fun packed family orientated event on Saturday, April 14.

There was plenty on show for everyone from face painting, magic shows to Bouncy Castles and Stalls. The main band parade moved off from Oaktree Drive at 2pm and was supported by 38 Bands from all across Northern Ireland who seemed to be enjoying themselves as they made their way around the parade route which was basked in sun and made for ideal walking conditions.

The parade took approximately two hours to pass before the participants where then treated to some music and entertainment in the marquee while the younger kids played on bouncy castles, gladiator duels and inflatable slides.

All in all everyone seemed to have an excellent day in the Steeple and the band wish to thank everyone for their attendance and continued support.

Aghalee Young Volunteers Parade

The Aghalee Young Volunteers held their annual parade on Saturday, April 7 and saw 30 bands in attendance travelling from all over to take part.

Earlier that day Coronation Gardens in Aghalee was the venue for some family fun as the band had organised a fun day which saw many children and friends playing on bouncy castles and having their faces painted as well as other events and being treated to some free gifts and sweets.

The evening parade was also a chance for Aghalee to unveil their new uniform which they had been working hard towards the previous year with fundraising events and collections taking place in 2011 their hard work has certainly paid off and they are now looking and sounding the part for the 2012 marching season.

Randalstown Sons Of Ulster Parade

Saturday, April 21 saw “The Sons of Ulster” host their annual band parade through the town and following the dedication of the bands new uniforms bearing the Royal Engineers Crest which took place at the Randalstown Memorial Orange Hall it was on into the town where a total of 39 visiting bands attended.

The parade started out at Shane’s Castle entrance and made its way up through the town before heading in round the Neillsbrook estate and back out through the town to the Bridge and Shane’s Castle again.

The weather was not ideal for the event but crowds of supporters still gathered in the main town to watch as the parade passed through.

The organisers of the event wish to thank everyone who braved the weather to support the annual parade and hope that their support continues throughout the year.

Parade collections

The Officers and Members of Aghalee Young Volunteers wish to express their thanks and appreciation to everyone who supported them at their annual band parade in the village on Saturday, April 7. A total of 30 visiting bands took part in what was a successful event. The band wish to thank the PSNI, the local Council and Lisburn Bands Forum for their support in helping make this event a continued Success. A total of £273 was collected on the night.

Steeple Defenders wish to acknowledge the support they received at their recent annual parade and fun day. An excellent turn out of spectators and 38 Bands made for what was yet another great event in the local estate. The band wish to thank all those who made it a success and in particular those who donated to the street collection which saw a total of £ 1415.75 collected. Many thanks to everyone for the continued support.

Instrument tuition

Free Flute and Drum Tuition Classes are still being offered by groups in the local area thanks to support from the Ulster Scots Agency and details of them can be found below :

Steeple Defenders Tuition Classes, Monday Evening 7pm – 9pm, I.E.P. Office Parkhall Shops; Steeple Veterans Tuition Classes, Tuesday Evening 7pm – 9pm, Diamond Memorial Orange Hall Muckamore; Aghalee Young Volunteers Tuition, Thursday Evenings 7pm – 9pm, Aghalee Orange Hall; Randastown Sons of Ulster Tuition, Tuesday Evening 7pm – 9pm, Randalstown Memorial Orange Hall; Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster, Monday Evening 7pm – 9pm, Ballykeel 2 Community House Ballykeel.

The above activities have all been made possible with the support of The Ulster Scots Agency and each of the groups would like to acknowledge the Ulster Scots Agency for their continued assistance in such programmes.

Upcoming events

This week will see bands heading North of Antrim for parades in Coleraine on Friday evening hosted by Freeman Memorial Flute Band and in Armoy on Saturday where the host Silver Plains Flute Band will be hoping for a good turnout.

If you have anything you would like covered or advertised in Bandscene please contact us at the email address above and we will include your event in future editions. Bandscene will also be running In the Uniform feature again from next week and are always looking for band members to take part in this feature all you need to do is answer a few simple questions about yourself and your involvement in the band scene so if you or you know someone who may be willing to do this please contact us.

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