Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, December 5, 2010

140 years of Band Music in Waterford

On Friday 26th Novemnber I travelled to Waterford for the celebration concert of 140 years of the Barrack Street Brass and Reed Band now named the Barrack Street Concert Band . The concert took place in the Good Shepherd Convent, their first time at this venue and was very well attended despite the arctic conditions.   Guest artists were Donna Roche, Ray Collins, the fine De La Salle Boys Choir with their conductor, Ben Hanlon  and playwright , Jim Nolan . A fantastic achievement to have survived two world wars , a civil war  and the various economic upheavals  and Waterford people are rightly very proud of this stalwart group of musicians, conducted in recent  years by Mark Fitzgerald.  Coincidentally earlier in the day , I met Danny Ryan of the Tipperary Music Shop and Accordion Orchestra and he recalled the band meeting the annual expedition to the coast and serenading the day trippers into Waterford.

Ace clarinetist Jane Desmond
The programme was an eclectic selection with something to suit all tastes . A proper march classic, Fucik's Florentiner March  opened the programme and of course there was a number by Waterford's famous musical son , WV Wallace. While both  soloists were very solid, I felt Ray Collins voice blended better with the brass timbres of the band than the soprano voice of Donna Roche .  It is great to see a boys choir. There isn't a church choir or musical society in the country that doesn't struggle to recruit sufficient male voices and I would like to see an education initiative to try and redress this . 

It was good to meet former conductor , Liam Daly  in the audience.  Jim Nolan read from his play 'The Salvage Shop'   lines from which give cheer to amateurs everywhere' and the evening was ably compered by Nicola Beresford.

Bravo Barrack Street Concert Band. !

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