Ardee Concert Band took home a staggering seven trophies from Saturday’s Annual South of Ireland Band Championships in Clonakilty, with attentions now seemingly turning to building an extension onto the bulging trophy cabinet in the bandroom at the Bohemian Centre.
At the 38th annual awards held in Cork, 38 members of Ardee Concert Band’s senior and junior band made the trip over the weekend for what ultimately ended as a most fruitful journey for the third oldest band in Ireland.
Up against 30 other bands in three sections – junior, intermediate and senior – the Ardee group scooped the gong for Best Senior Concert Band, for the third consecutive year – confirming their status as Ireland’s finest concert band ensemble.
In addition to the main prize, members of the band also received six other awards including Best Bass, Best Woodwind and Percussion sections, Best Celebratory Peice (won by soloist Robert Finegan who performed Sarah’s Delight assisted by Gerry Farrell on accordion and Jenny Satelle on bodhran), Best Repertoire and a Special Adjudicators Award for Aisling Reilly who garnered the win for her clarinet playing in An Irish Ayre.
Ardee Concert Band beat off competition from Lourdes Brass Band and Ballymore Eustace Concert Band in taking home the prize for Best Band in the senior section. The wins are in addition to their second place finish and Best Brass Section award at the IABCB Championships in Navan back in April.
The band played four own choice pieces and received standing ovations from the packed hall at the end of two of them – Sarah’s Delight and The Parting Glass, both of which were arranged by Ardee conductor Brendan Breslin. The Parting Glass featured three soloists – Connor Campbell on vocals, Donal Kellegher on pipes and Conor Horan on drum.
Adjudicator for the day, Philip Harper, conductor of The Cory Band from Wales awarded ACB 95 points out of a possible 100 for a their performance, one which Breslin himself called, “A truly inspired and emotional performance from Ardee Concert Band”.
In 2015, Ardee Concert Band won the Senior 4th of July Award, Best March, Best Repertoire and Best Senior Concert Band at the South of Ireland ceremony and followed that up last year by adding four more. They have now won 15 awards in just over two years in Clonakilty.
Ardee Concert Band are supported by the Arts Council, Music Network, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Photography and Video by Ken Finegan.