The East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band came together as a result of a meeting of an East Belfast lodge, Cookes Defenders LOL 609. The band paraded under that name for two parades 1st and 12th of July, after these parades the bands membership parted company with the lodge, and set out on there own under the name Protestant Boys Newtownards Road Flute Band.
The band members present at the first band practice where Joe Killops, Tommy Jim Killops, Roy & Sammy Speirs, William Bright and Albert Baker.
The band practice took place in the back yard of the Killops family home, 131 Severn Street. These were indeed very humble beginnings for the band, as it was for most bands starting up in those days.
Membership of the band grew very quickly and before long they had to move to somewhere bigger to practice, the old coal yard in Dee Street, from there they then moved to the Painters Hall in Dee Street, followed by premises in Glenallen Street before securing their own practice hall in Vicarage Street were the band resided for quite some time.
The band changed its name to East Belfast Protestant Boys in the early 1980’s. From very humble beginnings this band has moved on to be a band that is always willing to try something new.
In 2003 the East Belfast Protestants Boys surprised everyone when they walked the 1st July Mini-Twelfth parade with white trousers in a new uniform. The present membership stands at over 50 and the new uniforms purchased for the new millennium cost the band £18,000.
The band has since left Vicarage Street and moved to Townsley Street were the band stayed till 2004, the band has now new premises now in Connswater Street, just off the Newtownards Road where they hope to stay.
The band has had a few sad times over the years with the deaths of three good members John Boyd, Richard Cowan and Steven Hamill. The band has its own mural on the Newtownards Road in memory of these members and it is truly a piece of art that has been dedicated to these 3 great members who are greatly missed. This dedication also stretches out for past members who have also died and they are also never forgotten.
During this time the band has produced 6 CDs/Tapes; the most recent titled “No-One Likes Us, We don't Care”. The best of the five in most people’s opinions would be the “In Memory” CD.
The present Chairman John Keenan joined the band some 30 odd years ago. The band bug took effect and still remains. He taught the kids how to play the flute and also introduced new tunes and encouraged the band to try new ideas. His enthusiasm for the job remains to this day as the band goes from strength to strength.
The men whom make up the present days membership would like to thank everyone whom were past members who helped to build and structure the band over the past 37 years. To become a band that preparation can stand anywhere in loyalist circles, we would especially like to thank the men who stood by the band when membership was at a all time low, who stood there ground and rebuilt the band. Today its members are reaping these benefits to become not only big in numbers but also in brotherhood. What we mean by this is that Prod Boys are born, not made!
We are always on the look out for new members and if you want to join one of the best bands why not contact John Keenan; this can be done by; calling into to the Union Jack Shop, telephoning the Union Jack Shop (028 9059 2909) or by sending him an e-mail via HERE.
We would like to end this brief history of the band by saying our simple message from all the members of East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band.