History will be made this weekend for the parish of Cloughaneely, as two marching bands from the area are off to the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ennis to take part in the marching band competition.
Both bands will compete in the Junior and Senior Miscellaneous sections and this Sunday marks the culmination of many months of preparation and practice.
Buíon Cheoil Sinsear Chloich Cheann Fhaola (Senior Band) was formed in August 2016 after a call for a spontaneous band reunion to welcome home the junior band on their All–Ireland win at Fleadh Ceoil Na hÉirean, 2016. There was a large turnout of past members at relatively short notice and a great night was had by all as they realised how much they missed performing their music and marching together in the band.
Not only was there be a response from members living locally, there were past members who live/work in other parts of Ireland and even from the UK and Dubai that expressed an interest in reuniting to form a senior band and compete in the senior miscellaneous section at the Fleadh the following year.
All members of the newly formed senior band were previously members of the junior marching band (u18) Banna Cheoil Chloich Cheann Fhaola, with years of membership spanning three decades stretching from 1983 until as recently as 2014. During that time, collectively they have been All-Ireland Champions at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann ten times.
Aside from their accolades at Fleadh, the band were highly respected and coveted countrywide for the standard of the musical drills performed in competitions and parades. They have performed in Munich, Germany, Philadelphia, US and in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day Parades. The band recorded and released cassette tapes in 1980s and have won many prestigious awards and competitions over the three decades.
There has been a strong tradition of marching bands in Donegal, particularly in the west of the county. Unfortunately the prevalence of Miscellaneous and Accordion bands has seen a sharp decline since the late 1990s. The area of Cloich Cheann Fhaola has had a marching band since 1983. It is one of the longest running bands in the county that has never disbanded. The financial costs in running a band has made it particularly difficult and credit goes to all members, past committees and the wider community for keeping the band going all these years.
Competing in the marching band competition requires hours and hours of practice of music and drill. This year the senior bands have rehearsed tirelessly and the commitment each member has shown has been incredible to witness. A lot of babysitters were on hand and I’m sure a lot of tired dads will be glad to see the end of the marching band season! Between family and work commitments, members have met twice weekly all year and have even organised the odd music practice in each other’s houses in the winter months to prepare for their marching routine to be performed this Sunday.
A great amount of nostalgia is linked to a lot of the music as their programme contains a mixture of new and older tunes that have spanned the three decades of the band.
On their homecoming after winning the Ulster Fleadh in July, the local community could not believe the standard of music and marching from the band. New uniforms and instruments were on display and the band carried a pride in performing their fleadh programme.
We wish them both the very best of luck this Sunday 20th August in Ennis. A lot of supporters from the area are travelling to support both bands and it is hoped it will an enjoyable weekend for all involved.Tags: