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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cornets & Candlelight with Ennis Brass Band

Young maestro has a go
Ennis Brass Band hosted a special evening in St Columba's in Bindon St, Ennis as part of the celebrations marking their 40th anniversary. There was a full house and the band played a selection of their favourite numbers. This ensemble takes it's civic duties very seriously and has added both gravitas and sparkle to the soundscape of events in the town. Ennis would be a much duller place without them and there was sense tonight of citizens acknowledging this contribution and relishing the occasion. You can hear something of the passion and fervour that drives this hardworking ensemble in the short post concert interview below with PRO Darragh McAllister.

Peerless prize winning percussion team Gary & Kieran McAllister

Carols by candlelight.

I was thrilled to be invited to contribute to the occasion to give the band breather. With my accompanist Fiona Walsh, I played The Coolin, Roses of Pickardy and La Vie en Rose. The last time I heard the band play was at the Armistice Day service at the Cathedral. I wanted to evoke something of the spirit of the evening and chose a popular song associated with World War 1. We were preceded on the platform by a traditional reed duet featuring Damien O'Reilly on accordion.

The repertoire for the evening included seasonal favourites Walking in the Air , Chestnuts Roasting (featuring Clodagh Power on solo cornet) , Can't Take My Eyes Off You (with new dad Ian McDonald on solo trombone). This is the Moment was one of my favourites and I loved the new Latin American number Valera. The band were expertly conducted by Kieran O Connor who introduced all the numbers and, in a nice touch, persuaded some of the younger members of the audience to take over the baton.

St Columba's Church looked beautiful, the lighting dimmed and countless candles lit for the occasion. I was there for their quenching and can vouch that it is a considerable task undertaken by the host, Rev. Bob Hanna to light this beautiful gathering space in this timeless way.

I believe Ennis Brass Band offers one of the best and most accessible routes into learning an instrument and ensemble playing in the county. Over the years countless young people have received free tuition and instrument loan under Bernard McAllister and we wish them all the best in their excellent musical endeavours.

A visit to SwingingStrings at Ennis NS by a member of Ennis Brass Band

There is a spirit in us that makes our brass to blare and our cymbals crash, all of course, supported by the practicalities of trained lung power, throat, heart, guts.

Ennis Brass Band PRO Darragh McAllistair (mp3)

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