The Ardee Concert Band took part in the Gathering of the Gales Festival at The Alley Theatre, Strabane recently.
The Festival which gathered Brass and Wind Bands from all over Ireland, took place over two days.
The opening ceremony had a historical march departing from Lifford Courthouse to The Alley Theatre in Strabane Town Centre. The 40 minute march of the Gales brought towns to a complete standstill while passers-by where treated to music by the massed bands. After the opening ceremony speeches had taken place, Come and Play workshop ensemble commenced their Performance under the baton of Brendan Breslin. The evening was finished off with a performance from Mickey Harte singing his new single, “Come Gather All”.
On Saturday, the main events took place in The Alley Theatre, as all outdoor events where moved indoors due to the inclement weather. Many bands from both sides of the border took part in the event which was held throughout the day with each band taking a 30 minute time slot to play and delight the masses that came to enjoy the day. The band and their supporters arrived in good time to hear the other participants of the day and join in on the excitement and with such a great and enthusiastic atmosphere from the audience, it made the day even more enjoyable. The other bands who took part on the day where: The Lourdes Brass Band, Dublin Concert Band, St Eugene’s Band, Omagh, Britannia Concert Band, Downshire and Letterbreen Brass Bands.
Ardee under their conductor, Mr Brendan Breslin, took to the stage at 6.45pm to finish off the day’s proceedings for the cross community event, starting their programme with a non-typical style march, St. Louis Blues March, followed by the Legend’s of Soul, a trumpet solo piece entitled Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Puttin’ on the Ritz and the theme from Austin Power’s Soul Bossa Nova to name but a few. This is the first event of its kind in Ireland and is totally unique. Ardee is very hopeful in a second festival next year and hopefully the sun will make an appearance and all the music can be brought outside for many more people to enjoy the music of the festival. Everyone involved had a great and enjoyable day of banding playing, listening to the other performances throughout the day as well as meeting old and new friends.