The Town Band, formed in 1878, is one of the oldest institutions in town, and has just reformed. “Every town should have a band. We decided it was time to get it back together,” said Noel Madden. The band stopped in 2002. “These things go through phases. Like anything, hurling or football, interest comes and goes,” said JJ Smith.
“One of the most important things we do is to teach kids. If a child, say, 8 or 9 years old comes to us, by the time they’re 16, they’ll be able to play any instrument, and read music,” said JJ Smith. JJ is part of a family that has had four generations involved in the Town Band. “Kids nearly always keep up the music, even after they stop playing with the town band. They could move away, but they’ll always have that skill.” The skills you learn with the Town Band will definitely stay with you for life. The Town Band has a store of over 50 instruments that people can borrow. As these can be quite expensive, having s large store of musical instruments is a huge bonus. “The instruments belong to the town, so anyone in the town can use them,” said Noel.
Experience is not a requirement either. Anyone, no matter what age they are or how much experience they have, is welcome to join. The Town Band can teach you how to play, and can easily set up private lessons if you want them. “What we’d encourage is to practice your instrument for maybe 10, or 15 minutes a day at home,” said JJ. Everyone learns at their own speed and the band is more than willing to help people master whatever instruments they want.
At its peak, the band had 52 people marching in the parade on St. Patricks Day in 1984. “It’ll be about a year until we’re ready to do any performances. Our main priority is to get people in, get the classes up and running and start practicing,” said Noel. There are currently no plans in place for getting involved in competitions, or playing private functions. Practice is temporarily in Duanes Archway, but will be moving into the Town Hall Theatre once the new roof is finished. “We would aim to get a practice in once a week, and have it on a certain day every week,” said Noel. “People can come whenever they can, as we realise it might be difficult for people to attend all of them.”
People wishing to join The Town Band can call Nora Flaherty at 0872927563 or Joe Duane at 0879969812, or e-mail Joe at email@example.com.