KILCLUNEY Volunteers Flute Band hosted their annual band parade and competition in Markethill last Friday, and crowds came in their thousands to support the event.
The band promised to deliver a spectacular showcase parade to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and local people, visiting spectators and bands were not disappointed with what is thought to be the largest marching band procession and competition in the UK.
The crowds witnessed a powerful display of music and colour from 90 marching bands of every musical genre, and representative of seven Ulster counties.
Kilcluney members distributed Jubilee promotional gifts to the many families in the town before the main procession got under way just after 7.30pm, led by Tullyvallen Silver Band. A variety of accordion, pipe, silver, first flute and melody flute bands followed and they formed a continuous procession that took over four hours to pass.
County Armagh boasted an impressive 26 bands, with some other notable visitors travelling from Coleraine, Castlederg, Magherafelt, Enniskillen, Bangor and Monaghan.
Several bands made their inaugural appearance in Markethill including Castle Defenders, South Belfast Protestant Boys, Newtownabbey Accordion, Tigers Bay Protestant Boys, Ballyvea, Quilly True Blues and Ardarragh Accordion.
The competition was judged by outside individuals commissioned by Kilcluney. Pride of place went to East Belfast Protestant Boys who were presented with the Adrian Coulter Memorial trophy for Best Overall Band of the evening.
A band spokesman said, “The parade has been another great advertisement for the marching band scene both locally and throughout the country, proving without doubt the continued popularity and growth of the movement. The large crowds on show and the amount of children both enjoying the parade and taking part are a great indicator of the current vibrancy of the scene.”
Kilcluney thanked everyone who attended the parade and donated generously, Armagh City and District Council and the PSNI for ensuring the event was safe. Particular thanks were conveyed to the people of Markethill who give unprecedented support to the band.
Nearly 80 members of the band and supporters will be making the journey to London later this month to participate in The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Grand Lodge of England celebration parade.
Tuition classes for the flute, drum and colour party sections commence at 7.30pm every Monday night at Kilcluney Orange Hall on Mowhan Road.
For further information on the band, visit the Kilcluney page on Facebook.