Drogheda Brass Band has repeating the extraordinary feat of being champions of both Northern Ireland (Grade 2) and the Republic at the same time.
Their latest success saw them scoop the National Championships of Ireland in Navan last Sunday and regain a title they lost last year, having won it for the previous six years in a row.
And in a few weeks’ time, the local outfit will represent Ireland at the European Band Championships which are being held this year in Perth, Scotland.
“Sunday will live long in the memory for the members of Drogheda Brass Band,” said band spokesman Anthony Murphy. “We took first prize against three of the top bands on the island and are now poised to represent Ireland in Europe for the first time since 2009.”
The band, which was conducted by Musical Director Michael Maher, played a new composition called ‘Traversada’ as their piece of own choice, in addition to the test piece, ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’. The contest was held at the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan.
“It was wonderful to take the stage at a reasonably local venue, with lots of our supporters listening, and to achieve this great result,” Anthony said. “This is the third time that we’ve been champions of our sections north and south at the same time – a feat that no other band has pulled off even once!”
The band is based at East Coast Business Park and as well as having rehearsal facilities that are the envy of the country, they have a thriving School of Music, which has been at the heart of the band’s success over the past decade.
“Much of our success is down to the hard work of dedicated volunteers who are teaching young kids music and how to play a brass instrument. They are the future of the band,” said Anthony. “The School of Music was established in the 1980s and having that structure in place is fundamental to the continued success of the band.”
He paid tribute to Musical Director Michael Maher, who has seen the DBB through its most successful period in its 127-year history, winning 14 National titles in 16 years with his band
“Michael is a real driving force, with a relentless passion for improving the band. He has an outstanding insight into the requirements for a contest performance, and his record speaks for itself.”
“The members are delighted with this fantastic win, and all the more for our young players, some of whom were performing on a contest stage for the very first time.”
Band members won’t have much time to draw breath after their victory – they will be busy over the next few weeks preparing to take on bands from around Europe in Scotland on May 3rd. The test piece for the European Championships is called ‘The Pilgrim’.
“This will be a real test. We’re looking forward to representing Ireland, and we will be going to Scotland as domestic champions. What an honour!”