Once again, our 450 seater concert hall, the Bohemian Centre, was full to capacity for our 26th Annual Concert and each year it just gets better and better. Our main supporting act, the Castletown Senior Accordion Orchestra conducted by John Chilton, were excellent and went down a treat. Our compere for the night was Alan Kelly who did a very professional job. The show opened with the Ardee Concert Junior Band conducted by John Gaynor who played two very contrasting pieces, La Mourisque and The Flintstones. This was followed by the presentation of the Royal Irish Academy of Music Grade Certificates to 40 members who sat their exams in 2007. Next up was the Ardee Concert Band Recorder Group conducted by Laura Jones, made up of 29 members who are currently learning recorder and 10 members of last years group who are now on instruments. The current group receives weekly tuition from Laura Jones and Alan Cox. They played Claire de Lune and When the Saints. The Castletown Senior Accordion Orchestra were next to take the stage and they played a very entertaining programme including a Tom Jones medley and a Christmas selection. After the interval, Ardee Concert Band played a 45 minute programme to suit all tastes, including the very popular Stop The Cavalry, American Trilogy and some Christmas pieces and finished with A Christmas Festival, a selection of Christmas songs and carols. This final Christmas selection has become a feature of our concerts as the concert programme included the words and the audience sang their hearts out. Harry Kelly conducted most of the pieces with Alan Kelly taking over the reins to conduct the humorous General Radetsky Goes Cuckoo. Chairman, Austin Nevin, thanked everyone for supporting the band and expressed sympathy to the families of Pat Flanagan and Dermot O Brien. The Sean Matthews Memorial Trophy is presented by Harry each year to the most improved player and this year the very deserving recipient was Oisin Clarke.
The band played at two Carol Services this year, on both occasions conducted by Alan Kelly. The first was in Carlingford on Wed 19th Dec where the band, at the invitation of Father Shevlin, joined forces with school choirs, Ruth Kelly and other soloists in the beautiful church in Carlingford and all were treated afterwards to fine refreshments in the local community hall. The second was in our own Church of the Nativity of Our Lady in Ardee on Sunday 23rd December. This was without doubt one of the best Carol Services ever presented in Ardee, praise must go to the organisers with a special mention for Marian Malone who put a lot of effort into the preparation and planning. It was particularly special to see the young members of Ruth Kellys choir taking part. Another special moment was when the Folk Group along with the entire congregation sang White Christmas. The proceeds of the collection at the door went to Ardee Hospice.
Carols before Christmas
Some members of the band took to the streets on the days before Christmas to add some Christmas cheer and to raise some funds for the band. They also played in St. Josephs on the 23rd and in Moorehall Lodge Nursing Home on Christmas Eve.
Christmas day Mass
The band has been playing at last Mass in Ardee on Christmas Day for as long as anyone can remember and this year was no exception. It is without doubt, one of the most beautiful occasions for the band each year. Alan Kelly conducted due to the fact that Harry Kellys wife, Kathleen was very ill. On behalf of everyone in the band, I would like to extend Christmas and New Year greetings to all our members, friends and supporters.