Graignamanagh Brass Band celebrated the season in style with their first Christmas Concert under new musical director Mick Cooney in Duiske Abbey on December 17th 2010. The evening was a thorough success, but the highlight came in the shape of a formal presentation to three of the band’s longest serving members.
First went to retired Side-Drummer Dick Byrne for his outstanding contribution throughout his long service with the band. The award was accepted by Dick’s wife Hannah and family. ‘Dick knew every solo cornet melody we played’, says Denise Furlong, Solo Tenor player with 30 years in the band herself. ‘He used to hum along to every single part while playing. He used to stand behind me, and I could always hear him humming’
Euphonium player Noel Coady of New Ross was also honoured at the concert for his 65 years of continuous service to the band. He accepted his award with his wife Sarah and his children, Nigel and April. ‘In his 65 years with the band, Noel has never missed a practice with the band’, says Denise Furlong. ‘He is now into his 70s, and still going as strong as ever’.
Willie Flood, Baratone player from Brandon Park Graignamanagh, was the final of those honoured on the night. Willie accepted his award, along with wife Bid and family, for 50 years of continuous service to the band. Willie, described as the ‘life and soul’ of the party, has been part of the band since his early youth, and continues to play with them to this day. Denise Furlong recalls how Willie has always made the best effort to make band practices, never missing one – he always remained dedicated, even when there were only a few members in the band.
One of the oldest bands throughout Ireland and the UK, founded in 1760, the Graignamanagh Brass Band has memebrs from Castlecomer, New Ross, Kilkenny, Callan, Inistoige, and Graignamanagh. They venture to France this September to play a concert as part of the Twinning Towns project.