Clonmel band's annual concert delights packed house

Eamonn Wynne


Eamonn Wynne


Banna Chluain Meala CD launch

Above -  At the launch of Banna Chluain Meala's CD at the Annual Parents, Patrons and Friends Concert were, from left, Conor Leo, Jacinta Gavigan, Maurice O'Sullivan, band secretary; Danny Carroll, president; Michael Kiely, chairman; Peter Taylor, musical director and, front, Joan Lyttleton.  

It was a case of standing room only when Banna Chluain Meala, Clonmel's Youth Marching and Concert Band, held its annual Patrons, Parents and Friends Concert at Hotel Minella.

The hotel ballroom was packed to overflowing when 190 members of the band and Colourguard showcased their talent at the annual event.

The three groups - senior, intermediate and junior - and Colourguard received a standing ovation at the conclusion of a great evening's entertainment.

Above -  Senior Banna Chluain Meala musicians Hannah McCabe, Rachel Fogarty, David Barnett and Alanna Gilbert at the annual concert for the band's parents, patrons and friends.

The night also saw the official launch of the band's new CD, which features contributions from mostly the senior section, as well as two tracks from the juniors, on the band's interpretation of music from shows including 'Wicked' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.

During the concert, band chairman Michael Kiely extended best wishes to their friends in the United States, Italy, Holland, the Czech Republic and Britain - countries visited by Banna since its formation 47 years ago - as well as their friends all over Ireland.

The great reputation that the band has forged at home and abroad in almost half a century is a source of great pride for president and founder member Danny Carroll. 

Above -  Junior band members Dale O'Regan, Jamie McCabe, Sean O'Loughlin and Matthew Pyke performed at the annual Banna Chluain Meala concert. 

The conductor for all the groups is Peter Taylor, the band's musical director, who has come up through its ranks; while Majella Hewitt Forte is director of the Colourguard.

"The band is like a large musical academy and everything is done on a voluntary basis", says vice-chairman Tony O'Keeffe.

"The imput from some of the senior band in teaching the junior members is essential and invaluable", he says.

Banna Cluain Meala has grown from humble beginnings and is now of Clonmel's greatest ambassadors, as well as being the envy of many other towns.

"Many of the former members, whose talent has been nurtured by the band, have gone on to further their musical careers", says Michael Kiely.

They include The Clonmel Concert Band, which is now a successful band in its own right.

Above -  Junior band musicians Caoimhe Keeley, Doireann McGarry, Ciara Redmond and Kaitlyn Ryan performed at Banna Chluain Meala's annual Parents, Patrons and Friends Concert.

Banna is now preparing for its St. Patrick's Day performances in Clonmel. Members will have no time to rest on their laurels after the national holiday, as they will take part in Limerick's International Bands Parade the following day.

After that they will turn their attentions towards the South of Ireland Bands Championship in Clonakilty on the first Saturday of July. 

Its success in the Junior category last year means that Banna will compete in the Intermediate category this time around.

Above -  Banna Chluain Meala senior band members Julie Holland, Caoimhe Woods, Conor Leo and Aimee Shine.

Michael Kely and the committee are very grateful to all the parents, patrons, friends and sponsors who have supported the band since its formation in 1971, as well as all the young people who have picked up instruments and played over the years.

They also extend their thanks to the County Council for the use of the former Kickham army barracks for marching practice.