Tuesday 23 October 2018

Only weddings can halt progress of Blarney Brass and reed band

RANGING IN AGE from seven years old to seventy-seven years young, the members of the Blarney Brass and Reed band gave a performance not to be forgotton during their annual concert at the Blarney Park Hotel last Sunday night.

RANGING IN AGE from seven years old to seventy-seven years young, the members of the Blarney Brass and Reed band gave a performance not to be forgotten during their annual concert at the Blarney Park Hotel last Sunday night.

Running through such classics as My Way, Gabriel's Oboe, and even Danny Boy, the band left the crowd shouting for more, as they introduced an almost completely new set list from last year.

And the night was particularly pleasing for band chairman Eoin Field, who felt certain that the concert would act as the perfect advertisement for the recruitment of new members to the band.

"We are delighted with how the night went," laughed Eoin.

"I was trying to get down to the bar later but I couldn't because there were so many people coming up to congratulate us and wish us well.

"You certainly can't complain about a night like that!"

Re-established in 1981, the twenty-seven member band has gone from strength to strength in the years since, so much so that they are coveted by festival committees throughout the county.

Every St Patrick's Day the band begin by taking part in their home-town festival before rushing up the country to lend the Mallow parade a little swing as well.

This year there was even talk of them also fitting in a third appearance as well, although the foot and mouth crisis ensured that such a dilemna did not arise.

"Well, I suppose it shows we're popular," said Eoin.

"We do a lot of other concerts during the year, such as the Southern Band competition which take place in Clonakilty during the first week in July.

"We also perform at the commemmoration of the Dripsey ambush, while we also do a set outside the Wollen Mills in Blarney during the summer."

And although many bands in the country would be more than happy with the level of success achieved by the Blarney Brass and Reed Band, the committee are currently considering ways of expanding the band and increasing its membership.

"We're just after spending about £2,500 on new instruments and we have 17 new beginners doing classes at the moment," explained Eoin.

"Our aim is to have those fellas in the main band by next year, or to have established a junior band for them to play in by themselves.

"They are literally going mad for it and there seems to be some good talent there.

"Obviously it's coming to some a bit quicker than others, just like hurling or football, but generally they are very good."

And speaking of new members, it may not be long before the band produce a few of their own as Eoin explained.

"Yeah, there's a disease going around in the band at the moment - everybody seems to be getting married!" he laughed.

"Kay Herlihy, my sister Deirdre Field, John Molloaghan and Damien Cotter are all tying the knot, so I get the feeling the band are going to be pretty busy this summer what with all the weddings."

But back on Sunday night, one of the main highlights was when the entire band joined together in a performance of The Olympic spirit, a rousing and fiery piece of music, which grabbed the attention of the entire crowd.

On drums during the night were Denis Cronin Junior and Senior, on bass were Frank Quinn and Damien Cotter, while trombonists John O'Callaghan, Jonathon McAuliff, Fritz Benjamin and Diarmuid McCarthy were on perfect form during the performance.

The trumpeters were John and Marie Molloghan, Eoin Field, Brian Healy, Niall Keating, Jonathon Buckley and Peter O'Brien, while George O'Sullivan was on alto sax, Jim Molloghan and Joe Hayes were on tenor sax and Bernie O'Connell played baritone. John Kelleher, Kay Herlihy, Deirdre Field, Pierce Keating, Gearoid Ryan and Nollaig O'Sullivan played clarinet, and the entire evening was expertly conducted by Gerard Condon.

And as part of their recruitment drive, John Mollahan has launched a band web-site ( ) along with an e-mail address where you can contact the band.

That address is (

The band meet every Tuesday night at the Blarney Boys National School at 8pm and their doors are always open to new members.

There are also individual classes for beginners on the clarinet on Monday night at 7pm in the same venue, and beginners classes for trumpet players at 6.30.