By Jack Treacy
Stage five restrictions meant all band rehearsals were curtailed for many months. Band members were chomping at the bit to get back into live rehearsals and performing in public again. It was therefore appropriate that one of their recent rehearsals was in the open air on the Fair Green and that their first public appearance was at the Man and Horse statue in St. Michaels Square.
It was a delight to witness musical seeds bearing fruit, as the young musical talent that was sown in the Ballinasloe Town Junior Band Nursery blossomed in the July sunshine at their first summer recital. The group of eight musicians fitted in seamlessly and confidently with the senior members as they treated the passers-by to a varied collection of tunes ranging from, Harry Potter themes, to catchy Abba favourites. They had benefited from the nurturing tutelage of Junior Band Leader Keith Kelly and his team of mentors through online Zoom sessions and limited live rehearsal time.
Over the coming weeks, the Band intends to entertain the shopping public in the square, additionally, they hope to repeat the successes of last year by also giving outdoor recitals at the local Nursing Homes and Hospital bringing some much-needed live entertainment to the service users, residents, patients, and staff.
Work on the Hall has recommenced after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Internal fire doors were installed and three storage rooms within the building have been fireproofed. The front doors of the hall must now be replaced with a specially designed functioning fire door. It is anticipated that the works will be completed soon.
PRO Brian Derrane stated: “The band has been successful in receiving some grant aid to help with the renovations of the Hall and we are also extremely grateful to the local community who backed the Raise the Roof campaign by purchasing slates. We have been unable to raise any funds during the year to cover the annual maintenance and running costs due to the restrictions on activities. Ongoing annual fundraising will be needed to cover insurance, lighting, heating, instrument purchase and repair, and the purchase of sheet music as well as mortgage repayments. If you would like to support us, please contact any member of the Band. Send a message via our website or Facebook page.”
Recently the Junior members of the Ballinasloe Town Band took part in a cross-culture exchange with members from two Schools from Kuching City in Borneo, Malaysia. The Malaysian students are educated through English which meant that members on both sides of the world were able to communicate, learn about each other, and play games.
The exchange was organized and hosted by Malaysian director Wilson Matthew, who has worked with BTB youth director Keith Kelly on projects in the past. As well as musical performances, both Irish and Malaysian members presented history and information about their bands and their hometown. They finished the day off with some games and fun.
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