"NEXT year we should have our own Band" - a remark made at the 1962 Newmarket Feis prompted the establishment of the Newmarket Pipe Band which last week celebrated 50 years playing wonderful music for prestigious events such as Eamon De Valera's visit to Abbeyfeale in 1962, Erskine Childers visit to Freemount, and Mary Robinson's visit to Newmarket in 1992.
The Band has performed throughout Munster for various Taoisigh and for all political parties. Puck Fair is another regular stomping ground for the Band, as is the National Ploughing Championships. Several members have showcased their talents abroad and founder Dermot Jones had the honour of playing in the New York St. Patrick's Day parade in 1992.
Current and former Band members were joined by family, relatives, and friends for a major celebration at the Charleville Park Hotel where Chairman Ted Singleton paid tribute to all involved: "Throughout the lifespan of the Band, many people have practiced and played with us", Ted said, "though they are not still active in the Band, I wish to salute them for their past contribution, we owe a huge debt of gratitude also to our current members. Tonight's celebration of our 50th anniversary could not be realised without your commitment and dedication."
Ted went on to thank the residents of the Kerry Road who never complained about the sound generated by the Band's practice sessions, and everybody in Newmarket and surrounding districts for their consistent support.
Dermot Jones who was one of the founder members received countless accolades for his "immense contribution throughout the years".
In reply Dermot said: "We must pay tribute especially to those who started with me in the early days. It was the Gaelic League which inspired us to start the Band. Our first meeting was on November 18th, 1961, 1962 was a year of very hard work, as you know these things don't happen overnight, and we played at the cross in Newmarket on St. Patrick's Day, 1963.
"I know the young people in the Band today will keep the flag flying like we tried to do during the last 50 years."
Dermot also paid tribute to stalwarts such as the late Pat Mahony, Denis Jones, John Murphy, Ted Singleton, and Donie Forde for their dedication and hard work.
Newmarket Pipe Band holds practice nights at the Band premises on the Kerry Road at 8pm on Fridays and new members are always welcome.