Donegal band hit the right note in Birmingham

Annagry band reach the top of Mount Errigal in unique fundraising bid.

By Staff Reporter

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Donegal band hit the right note in Birmingham

Annagry band on the march in Birmingham

The picturesque village of Anagaire has a long association with England's second city so when they got an invitation to join in the St. Patrick's day parade there, they graciously accepted.

A committee was formed and fundraising began. Former band members were welcomed, once again, into the fold and began to diligently practice for the upcoming event.

Séamus Boyle worked with the chairperson of the parade, Anne Tighe in Birmingham, to get matters organised.

Table quizzes took place, 'The Goats don't shave' played a gig at Caisleán Óir. The hotel was packed on that occasion.

However, the highlight of the fundraising events was when Buíon Cheoil Anagaire reached the top of Mount Errigal.

On reaching the peak, they played a few tunes,which could be heard in the Poison Glen in Dunlewey.

It is claimed that no other band has undertaken such a feat.

New uniforms, fifes and drums were purchased for the upcoming occasion.

On March 12th, the band boarded Feda's bus alongside a BBC film crew and made their way to England, in high spirits.

On Friday night, the band went to the “Spotted dog,” Anne Tighe's pub.

The band enjoyed Irish stew and Scotch eggs and played a few tunes to a very appreciative audience.

On Saturday night, the band attended “The Irish Sacred Heart Club” in Aston.

On Sunday morning, a March sun shone. The band gathered to the spot where they would join the parade. Members were excited and nervous as all their hard work, all their practice was about to be showcased in Birmingham city.

There were hugs, photographs and handshakes as they stood waiting for the moment that they would join the parade.

Paddy Forker's float arrived with a crowd of Donegal youth astride, they all cheered, sang and welcomed the band. The atmosphere was electric.

After a rousing rendition of the “Hills of Donegal,” Paul McDevitt of the Druma Mór, issued the instruction “band ready” and off they marched.

The band was led magnificently by Neil Charlie Neil McBride as he strode proudly onto the streets of Digbeth with his band behind him.

Irish emblems could be seen everywhere and the band marched forward, heads held high, in perfect unison through the thronged city streets as more and more people from the region fell in behind them in support.

When the march ended there was a very pleasant surprise as the Lord Mayor of the city presented Neil McBride with a crystal trophy for the best marching band of the parade.

Neil's father was a former leader of the band and would have been exceptionally proud of the band that he once led.

It was a sight to behold as Neil proudly accepted the trophy on hehalf of the band.

The committee worked tirelessly to make this trip a reality and members of the band would like to thank, Paul McDevitt, Neil McBride, Séamus Boyle and Mary Sweeney for all their hard work and dedication.

Organisers would also like to thank members of the Mallaghduff Crickamore and Maghery bands who donned the Anagaire uniform and marched and played alongside them for the occasion.

All those who took part in the march enjoyed it and those from the area, living in Birmingham, were delighted to see their band come to their city for St. Patrick's day and made it extra special.

For those who couldn't make Birmingham on St. Patrick's day, they will be delighted to hear that the Anagaire band will be out, in all their glory, once again, this Easter Sunday where they will be joined by the Mallaghduff and Ranafast bands.

All the bands will play in the village before Mass.

It is speculated that the band may be invited to 5th Avenue, New York.