Two Standing Ovations in a week for Ardee Concert Band
On Friday last, 16th December, Ardee Concert Band members, from the oldest to the youngest, performed to a thronged appreciative audience at their Annual Christmas Concert held in their own 400-seater concert hall, the Bohemian Centre. The atmosphere was electric It was probably our best concert ever by the feedback we are getting.
The night kicked off with the 50 strong Recorder Group. Forty of these children only starting learning recorder in the band 12 weeks ago. The tutors of this group are senior band members Emily Cox, Gerry Farrell and Aisling Reilly who conducted them in turn while they gave renditions of the “Grand Old Duke Of York”, “When The Saints Go Marching In” and “Jingle Bells”. It was a conducting debut for Emily and Aisling with an audience. They were all brilliant especially as another feature of this group is that many of them are only eight due to the band lowering the entry age this year.
The next performers were Ardee Concert Youth Band conducted by John Gaynor. There were ten new members to this group since September. They played a very entertaining selection of music containing “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End”, “Hedwig’s Theme”, “Treasury of Carols”, “Little Brown Jug” and “Thriller”. This group range in age from eleven to fourteen. John has worked very hard with this group and they performed really well on the night.
The Senior Band took the stage for the second half under the baton of Brendan Breslin who is a professional musician with the Garda Band. This was due to regular conductor Harry Kelly taking a break due unfortunately to illness. However Harry attended the concert and conducted one piece. The band wish Harry a very speedy recovery, it was great to see him there.
The band had some featured soloists, Nicky Callan principal trumpet performed “Blues in the Night” on trumpet and “The Mission” on flugel horn. The Alto Saxophone section Robert Finegan, Darren Kirk and Lorcan Fields performed “We Three Kings”. The band accompanied guest artist Niall Callan on guitar playing an arrangement by Paul O Brien of some “Horslips” tunes. For many the highlight of the night was Amazing Grace played on bagpipes by guest artist Patrick Martin. The band, ably assisted by narrator Ciara Douglas from the Youth Band, performed a comedy rendition of The Three Little Pigs, this had some visual effects which were not to be missed. Brendan Conlon did a fantastic rendition of “Proud Mary”. Compere for the night was band member, Peter McKeever, who did an excellent job.
All in all it was a very successful night and the band received a standing ovation from the audience. This was the second time in a week that this had happened as the audience in Clane last Sunday, 11th December, also gave the band a standing ovation when they performed a very successful concert with the Millicent Singers under the baton of band member Alan Kelly.
The band also performed on Sunday 18th with other local artists at the local Carol Service in Ardee Church. Again Brendan Breslin stood in for Harry. This is all part of the Christmas season for us. Band members will be playing carols on the town on Christmas Eve morning and afternoon.
The culmination of the Christmas will be 12.30 Mass on Christmas Day when the band traditionally play, before a well deserved rest until classes and rehearsals resume in the New Year.
Updated 27th November 2011
Busy Festive Season for Ardee Concert Band
It’s hard to believe that it’s this time of year again and the Christmas music has been taken out to cheer the Ardee public for the festive season. This is a very busy time for the members of Ardee Concert Band, old and young.
The preparations have been going on for some weeks now especially with the newest additions to the ranks, the Recorder Group. Most of this group will perform for the first time at our annual Christmas concert on Friday December 16th. This is a date to be put in the diaries, as the Ardee Concert Band Christmas Concert is always one not to be missed. This years concert will include the Recorder Group, the Youth Band and the Senior Band. There are now over 170 members in the band, 120 of whom are under 18 years of age.
At the moment, the Recorder Group is so big, it is divided into three groups. They are being tutored by senior band members Gerry Farrell, Aisling Reilly and Emily Cox. The group will combine with last years group to perform a selection of the tunes they have been learning since joining the band. The tutors say that they are progressing very well and the children are getting very excited about their debut performance and Santa who will visit on the night.
The Youth Band, which has 35 members, is also busy preparing for the concert under the baton of John Gaynor. This group is always changing. As the member’s progress, they move up into the senior band and new students that have been on their instrument for a year replace these. Once again there are young musicians performing with this group for the first time. John has a varied choice of music including some especially for the Christmas spirit.
The Senior Band have a very busy time, they will perform in a concert with the Millicent Singers in Clane County Kildare on Sunday December 11th at 3.30pm. This musical extravaganza will be conducted by band member Alan Kelly who now resides in the area and conducts the Millicent Singers and the Nas na Ri choir in Naas. The band did this collaboration last year with great success and were invited down again.
On Friday 2nd of December, Santa is arriving in Ardee and he will be greeted by some members of the senior band who will perform carols and festive tunes at the Ardee Castle for the crowd. The members will also play carols on the street on Christmas Eve morning and afternoon and somewhere in between will play for the residents of Moore Hall Lodge while they await Santa’s arrival there.
The highlight of the year will be our own concert on the 16th. Tickets are available from any band member. They can be purchased at the bingo on any Sunday night between now and the 16th or can be purchased at the door on the night. Adults 10 euro and children 7 euro.
Unfortunately our conductor Harry Kelly will not be with us due to Illness this Christmas season. The band have engaged Brendan Breslin of the Garda Band to conduct us in our concert and also in the local Carol Service which will be held in the Church on Sunday, December 18th at 7pm.
The final Christmas performance for the band will be at Mass on Christmas Day. This has become a tradition for the band and this year John Gaynor will conduct the band for the ceremony.
The band members would like to wish all our supporters and Bingo supporters a very healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.
Updated 20th October 2011
Top Prize for Ardee Concert Band
Forty eight members of Ardee Concert Band travelled to Armagh on Saturday 15th of October for the North of Ireland Band Championships to return victorious yet again having been awarded first prize in the Championship Concert Band Section with a score of 94 out of 100 by well known adjudicator Donald Finlayson. The band performed two pieces of own choice Concert Prelude by Philip Sparke and Ross Roy by Jacob De Haan. Harry Kelly conducted the band for the competition. The members enjoyed a meal on the way home in the Carrickdale Hotel. This is the fourth time the band has taken home this title.
The last few weeks have been hectic for the band, on Monday, September 19th, 50 new members joined the recorder group. Because of the large entry, three classes were formed, the tutors of the recorder groups are Gerry Farrell, Aisling Reilly and Emily Cox.
All other classes have also resumed in the past few weeks. Sixty young people are receiving individual or small group tuition with Nicky Callan and John Gaynor tutoring Trumpets, Vincent McArdle tutoring French Horn, Tony Flanagan Clarinet, Alan Cox, Laura Jones and Sean O Brien tutoring Saxophone, Susan Connolly Flute, Jimmy Walsh Euphonium and Tuba, Kevin Reilly Trombone and Paul O Brien Percussion. The bandroom is now a hive of activity several nights of the week. Between the Recorder Groups and the young people receiving tuition on instrument, 110 young members receive tuition every week.
The junior band under musical director John Gaynor rehearse every Thursday at 7.30pm and the senior band under Harry Kelly rehearse twice weekly, on Tuesday and Friday, at 8pm.
With the Armagh competition out of the way, the band has turned its attention to the next highlight of the year, their Christmas concert. This concert will involve both the senior and junior bands. The new recorder groups will also perform for the first time at the concert. Christmas is a very busy time for the band with a joint concert with the Millicent Singers in Clane on Dec 11th. They will perform in the Carol Service, a date for which has yet to be decided. There will be the usual playing of carols on the street locally and in the nursing home on Christmas Eve and 12.30pm Mass on Christmas Day.
Updated 11th September 2011
Annual Enrolment Night for Ardee Concert Band
Monday, September 19th is a date for the calendar for those parents wishing to start their children on their musical careers as Ardee Concert Band opens its doors for their Annual Enrolment Night. Prospective members with their parents can attend at 7.30pm at the bandroom on the Ash Walk, Ardee for an informative talk on all aspects of the band especially the Ardee Concert Band School of Music. Leaflets will be distributed to all the local schools during the week containing information about the night.
New entry ege:-
The most important message about this year’s enrolment night is that the band has lowered the entry age to eight years of age. “The committee have decided that due to the phenomenal success of the Youth Band, we can facilitate younger children” says Fiona Reilly, PRO. All prospective members aged eight years and over are welcome on the night.
Most of these new entrants will go into the recorder groups but we also facilitate those with musical experience who will go straight on to band instruments. In these days of difficult financial times, the band is a very inexpensive way of providing music lessons with the added advantage of social interaction within a group in the wonderful facility that is the Bohemian Centre. Application forms will be available on the night and senior members of the band will be on hand to assist all those interested.
Members who joined in 2010:-
Those members who joined last year and were successful in the recorder group are invited to a Demonstration Night of the various instruments currently available for tuition, these are Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, Trombone and Euphonium. This will be held on Wednesday 21st September at 7.30pm
The band were delighted with the response to their Church Gate Collection in Ardee and Ballapousta on Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th of September. Without the support of the people of Ardee, the band would not survive and would not be able to provide the musical tuition to the young people of Ardee and surrounding areas.
Updated 27th August 2011
Busy August 2011 for Ardee Concert Band
Ardee Concert Band started August by performing to a large crowd in the Fairgreen on the Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend as part of the Turfman Festival, unfortunately the recital had to be cut short due to the inclement weather. Nevertheless the members enjoyed performing under the baton of Liam Daly, the guest conductor for the day.
The members had their summer break, resuming on August 14th when they gave a recital in Carlingford with their usual conductor Harry Kelly as part of the Oyster Festival, this performance was again halted temporally due to rain but after a short break the band played on to a large and appreciative audience.
On Saturday 20th the band played at the local Golf Club as they were celebrating the centenary of their opening. Thankfully the weather was kind to all concerned. The band was treated to some refreshments by the club afterwards.
On the evening of Friday 26th the band gave a recital at Barmeath Castle as part of Heritage Week. This event was a Garden Party organised by Brian Bellew at his home near Togher in aid of a local charity. This has become an annual event. At the Garden Party, there was a performance of Irish dancing and the highlight of the evening was a re-enactment by the Bellew Regiment of Muskets. This was a lovely evening in beautiful surroundings.
The last performance of the band for the summer of 2011 was Sunday 28th of August in Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Once again the band members and their supporters brought picnics and made a day of it.
Next on the agenda for the band is the North of Ireland Band Championships which are due to be held on Saturday, October15th in Armagh. The band are the current holders of this title.
The band are also planning their enrolment night for beginners, which hopefully will be early in September. This year the band has decided to lower the entrance age to eight years old.
Proms in the Park with Ardee Concert Band
On Sunday next 31st of July 2011, in conjunction with the Turfman Festival, Ardee Concert Band will perform an afternoon delight of music themed “Proms in the Park”. The band have invited guest conductor Liam Daly to lead them in this musical hotchpotch of popular tunes for the entertainment of festival goers in the Fair Green in Ardee. As big crowds are expected, the audience are encouraged to bring their picnics and sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment. Liam has compiled a programme of music familiar to those of all ages and is hoping for some audience participation.
Liam who hails from Dublin has been a friend to Ardee Concert Band for many years. Liam is a member of the well-known Daly family, his brothers Lorcan and Brian have both conducted the Ardee Band in the past. Liam has vast experience as a musician and conductor, he was the Musical Director of The Band of the Western Command and Southern Command of the Irish Army.
This will be the first performance of a busy August for the band as they have recitals in Carlingford for the Oyster Festival on Sunday 14th at 3pm, at Ardee Golf Club on Saturday 20th at 6pm, at a Garden Party in Barmeath Castle on Friday 26th at 6.30pm and at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin at 2pm on 28th August.
Also in conjunction with the Turfman Festival, the band is running a Special Festival Bingo with extra prizes on Sunday 31st at 8pm.
Ardee Concert Band take 2nd prize in exciting Clonakilty band festival
The hive of concert and brass band activity this past weekend was in Clonakilty in Co Cork. Now in it’s 32nd year, the South of Ireland Band Championships is indeed one of the highlights of the band calendar. This year Louth was well represented by the Lourdes Brass Band from Drogheda and Ardee Concert Band.
After their very successful trip to Prague last year Ardee Concert Band decided to stay in Ireland in 2011. This definitely paid off, as not only was it a very enjoyable weekend but a successful one also. Saturday was a full day of competitions from junior to senior standard. Ardee, conducted by Harry Kelly, was the last band to perform of seven bands in the senior section. All bands had to do a 15-minute entertainment programme, which must include a march. Ardee’s chosen pieces were the Liberty Bell march by Sousa (the Monty Python theme music), The Best of Herb Albert, Ticket To Ride (Beatles) and Moment for Morricone. Thirty five members of the band travelled, seven of them were so dedicated they travelled up and down on the day. Several members missed out unfortunately due to holiday arrangements or exams.
The Senior section winners were the local Blarney Brass and Reed Band with Ardee Concert Band in 2nd place and Ennis Brass Band in 3rd place. Other competitors were Lourdes Brass Band, Boherbuoy Brass and Reed Band Limerick, Fermoy Concert Band and St James’s Brass and Reed Dublin. The adjudicator, Philip Harper from Bristol complemented Ardee on their exciting musical performance. There were many smaller awards, best music arrangement went to St James’s for their arrangement of Tribute to Count Basie, best march, best brass and best woodwind went to Blarney. However, Ardee were very proud and privileged to be the first ever recipients of the Robbie Tiernan memorial Cup for the best Trombone Performance.
The Ardee Concert Band trombone section consists of members Mark McLoughlin, Oisin Clarke, Paul Callan and Andrew Coyle. These are four very talented and dedicated members, “we are very proud of them and they performed very well to achieve this award” says Fiona Reilly PRO.
Robbie who was a member of the Lourdes Brass Band, was a great friend to Ardee Concert Band, he paid many visits to Ardee, “in fact the last time I saw Robbie he was playing in our bandroom” says Fiona. Indeed on one of the band’s last trips to Clonakilty, Robbie travelled on the Ardee bus, as with work commitments he couldn’t travel earlier that weekend with his own band. Robbie being Robbie he entertained the younger band members down the back of the bus the whole way to Clonakilty. Robbie is remembered with great fondness by the members of Ardee Concert Band and we are delighted that our trombone section have won this award.