This was the first outdoor parade for us in 2006 and it certainly came around quickly after a winter that included our highly popular Battle of the Band event and a few other indoor events that we attended ourselves.
It was now back to the outdoor scheme and what a better way to start it on a cold and breezy night. We headed to the Monkstown for the host bands parade with 19 side drummers, 34 fluters, colour party of 6, 5 cymbal players, 3 marshals and our main bass drummers.
This was a very big band for us and I don’t know how we are going to get a double-decker bus these days for our band to travel to parades in!
We managed to see a few bands as we made our way to the starting point, the bands that we seen where the Steeple from Antrim, they had a small band but they certainly have big hearts and give it there all on parade.
We also saw the Sandy Row UFF band playing and looking well in their new uniform from last year that suits the band well.
The only other band that we had the chance to see where the vastly improved Sons of Ulster from the Shankill Road. Big in numbers and had plenty of young members this is great for the future of the band and well done to them as this year they celebrate 40-years on the road.
The route this year was not to bad but some areas where a bit tight for the bigger numbered bands but at least it stayed dry but bitterly cold.
Good crowd of people where out to watch the parade and of course I noticed a lot of boys and girl members from other bands out watching as I call them trainspotters on patrol!
Our own display was not too bad at all, we blooded in 2 new side drummers and 3 new fluters into the ranks and I must say they done really well, they fitted in nicely.
On the playing side it was business as usual, the band captain called one new tune tonight and kept strictly to the better known tunes, first night on the road and it was good to get back to what we do best…marching the loyal streets of Ulster and promoting our culture.
Below are a selection of photographs of the band in action.
The band where presented with the following awards during last nights parade competition results:
1st Blood and Thunder Band
1st Blood and Thunder Drum Corps
1st Blood and Thunder Bass Drum
1st Style and Appearance
1st Colour Party
1st Junior Drum Major
1st Best Overall Band
I noticed a few bands tonight where parading in their normal clothes without wearing their uniforms and after talking to a few members it was the usual story of tailors and suppliers had let them down so fair play to the bands for attending and I do hope they get sorted out soon with their uniforms.
This year the parade finished at its usual point of the 36th Ulster Division Mural and a good crowd gathered there to see the bands play their last tune to entertain the crowd.
Overall it was a good night for the band and it was a good start to the season for all the bands and hopefully all bands will enjoy the marching season. In this year being the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The majority of the events this year will be contributing to this great occasion so I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the season.
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman
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