Record-equalling 15th national title secured


Drogheda Brass Band has secured a record-equalling 15th national brass band championships, held at the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone, Co Westmeath, on Saturday 6th April.

The annual event, hosted by the Irish Association of Brass and Concert Bands (IABCB), saw a dozen bands compete across various categories. 

At the end of a long day of contesting, the Section 1 Brass grouping, containing four competing bands, playing Christopher Bond’s descriptive piece The Lost Village of Imber, which tells the story of a once-thriving village that was ultimately used to facilitate a military camp. Throughout the piece, the Church of St Giles features prominently as a beacon of light and hope to the villagers.

Competing alongside Steadfast, Navan and Lourdes, adjudicator Sarah Groarke-Booth picked Drogheda as the winners with an amazing 188 points (out of 200).

This was a first nationals outing for Drogheda Brass Band’s new conductor Stephen Murray, who swapped his cornet for a baton in May last year. The band played last of the four bands and delivered a performance that was described by the adjudicator as being a clear winner for her and was the most consistent performance. 

The band was awarded first prize ahead of Lourdes Brass Band, Stedfast Band and Navan Silver Band. In winning, the band also secured a record-equalling 15th national title. 

However, the prizes didn't stop there, as it would be triple delight for Drogheda Brass Band, as the band’s principal euphonium player Anthony Murphy was awarded the best instrumentalist award and the band was also announced as the best overall band of the championships. 

Speaking afterwards, band conductor Stephen praised the band for their commitment to delivering an exhilarating performance on the stage. 

“They have all worked so hard since the start of year and I would like to give special praise to our youngsters who all played with levels of maturity far beyond their age.”

Band president Tony Collins – one of three band members to have won all 15 of those titles alongside Michael Plunkett and Martin Cassidy – echoed those sentiments: “This win really is a credit to our model of introducing new beginners every year and having them progress through to eventually join the senior band. These youngsters are the future of the band – and who knows, maybe they’ll go on to win even more titles than me!”