Saturday, March 20th, 2004

Limerick bands
are on the march


The overall winners of the Limerick International Marching Band Competition 2004, The John F Kennedy High School Band from Palma, California (LL)

FOUR Limerick city bands won top prizes in the 34th International Marching Band Parade and Competition at the weekend.
The Corpus Christi Pipe Band from Moyross won the home adult pipe and drum band award; the Boherbuoy Brass and Reed Band took first prize in their category; St Mary's Fife and Drum Band won their section and the Limerick City Brass and Reed Band won the award for the best home youth brass and reed band.
The Rathkeale Brass Band scooped the top prize in the Irish youth brass band category on Sunday. The band parade filled the streets of Limerick with top-class music and fun, despite the rain and wind, on Sunday morning.
But the highest accolade in the competition, went to California marching band the John F Kennedy High School Band. The 110-member brass, reed and percussion band were awarded a piece of crystal and a Celtic trophy as overall winner of the competition.
They stayed in Limerick for the weekend, before heading off to Dublin to take part in the St Patrick's Day Parade.
Drum major of the winning band, said they were thrilled with the award.
"This is my first time ever as drum major with the band, and this is our first major award, so I'm chuffed. After travelling so far, it's brilliant to get this recognition. We are so proud because the standard here was so high," Matthew Martin, drum major said.
In all there was a total of 16 awards in the competition, which attracted 19 bands from Ireland and the USA.
St Brigid's Youth Accordion Band from Armagh scooped the top prize in the home youth accordion category; the Shamrock and Thistle Pipes and Drum band from the states, won the top overseas adult pipe and drum band; the Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band from Armagh took the home adult flute and drum band, while the Lisvernane National School Band from Aherlow won that award at the youth section.
Antrim silver were chosen as the best home adult brass band and Banna Chluain Meala won an award for the best dressed home band.
The award for the overseas youth pipe and drum band went to the West Point Academy band, while the prize for the best dressed majorettes went to the Freedom High School Patriot Band ,who were togged out in bright yellow and black suits.
Judges at the competition were Joseph Ryan, June Nolan and Gaye Moore.
The awards were presented by Mayor Dick Sadlier, who said he was very proud to see such fine American bands marching in a Limerick parade.
"It's nice to see Ireland and the United States together again for this special occasion, further building a bond between our two countries. We are very proud of our Limerick bands who have maintained the band and musical tradition down through the years," he said.
The band parade was just one of the events in the St Patrick's Spring Fest which is running in Limerick until this Friday.
The night before the parade a number of bands who took part in the parade also played in a band recital competition in the University Concert Hall.Other bands including St Johns Brass and Reed Band, Raffles Junior College Symphonic Band, Ennis Brass Band and the County Tipperary Ryan Youth Orchestra wowed audiences with their renditions of well known songs and classics.
On St Patrick's Night, a gala concert is being held in the Concert Hall. The Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra and Ottawa Youth Orchestra will perform a number of well known pieces including Fall Fair, and the Newfoundland Suite. Soloists on the night are Michael Coyne on Uileann Pipes and Whistle, Noelle McCarthy on accordion, Maurice McCarthy on fiddle and Janet Harbison on harp.
And on Friday night The Irish Rambling House Concert will be held in the LIT Millennium Theatre. The concert will host a feast of local talent and will include song, verse, dance and storytelling.