Above: Three generations of the O’Keeffe family from Clonmel who performed in Clonakilty last weekend. From left to right, Eoin, who plays with the Clonmel Concert Band; Eoin’s son Jack, who plays with Banna Chluain Meala; and Eoin’s father, Tony, who is also a member of the Clonmel Concert Band
Twenty-five bands from all over Ireland traveled to Clonakilty last Saturday to compete in the 41st annual Southern Ireland Band Championships.
This is the country’s most prestigious competition for wind bands and, as a national competition, it is always well attended.
The Clonmel Concert Band, who had already won the intermediate category, this year competed with the top 11 Irish bands in the senior category.
There was huge excitement when they were declared the winners and Danny Carroll, Music Director, received the cup.
The group also won the award for best repertoire.
“It was a great achievement,” says Tony O’Keeffe, who plays saxophone in the concert band.
“We worked hard for it, but it was totally unexpected. We didn’t think for a minute that we were going to win because the level was so high,” he said.
The three pieces chosen for performance by the Clonmel Concert Band were The Thunderer, a march by Sousa; Great Moments in Cinema, composed by John Williams and Curtain Call, arranged by John Wasson.
The referee, John Williams from the UK, wrote in his review “An elegant show from start to finish. A performance that had it all. Bravo MD (music director) and band.
Above: Danny Carroll, music director of the Clonmel Concert Band, holds the cups the band received for winning the senior category and best repertoire category at the 41st annual Southern Ireland Championships in Clonakilty
The Concert Band musicians, with a few exceptions, are all former members of Banna Chluain Meala.
Banna Chluain Meala, although not competing this year, have been invited to march through West Cork City and perform with their Color Guard at the City Park on a big day of music .
The highlight of the day was when Banna interrupted their parade to join forces with the Clonmel Concert Band, who were performing a much-loved recital around town.
The combined bands performed three acts together – Sweet Caroline, Born to Hand Jive from the musical Grease and March of the Irish Guards – which delighted large audiences.
It was a particularly proud day for the O’Keeffe and Carroll families.
Tony O’Keeffe is joined in the Concert Band by his son Eoin, who plays French horn, while Eoin’s son Jack, who recently joined the ranks of Banna Chluain Meala, plays trumpet.
Three generations of the Carroll family also performed at Clonakilty.
Music Director Danny’s son, Niall, plays clarinet in the Concert Band while Niall’s son, Patrick, plays clarinet with Banna Chluain Meala.
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