30th July 2017
Our trip to Tipp – yes “it’s a long way to Tipperary”
For the past 2 years, the band has been fund raising and applying for support to part-fund a band tour to Tipperary in Southern Ireland commencing 29th July 2017. Plans were made in conjunction with the C.J. Kickham Band from Tipperary to perform a joint concert and a Festival of Remembrance at St. Mary’s Church in Tipperary. This was to remember those Irish Soldiers lost during conflict & we would be the first Royal British Legion Band to do this
Funding this tour was supported by Leiston Town Council, Suffolk County Council and by fundraising at performances by the band across the county. It enabled the band members to be subsidised to travel by coach, along with Instruments and uniforms to the “Glen of Aherlow” which was the base for the band on this tour.
On Monday 30th July, a Festival of Remembrance Concert was given by the band to a packed audience in Limerick Cathedral. This event was to give Honour and Remembrance to the Limerick War Dead on the 100th Anniversary of the death of Irish Poet & Soldier, Frances Ledwidge 31st July, 1917. This concert was a community fundraising event for the Limerick War Memorial Fund witnessing the sacrifice of over 1,300 Limerick Men and Women.The (local paper) Limerick Leader was full of praise and complimented the event and the bands performance. Cornet Soloist Olivia Kersey, was the first solo of the evening and got us all swaying with her excellent performance of “Georgia on my mind” during the first half, and later Piper Graham Macusland, joined the band for an exceptional rendition of “Amazing Grace” and “Highland Cathedral” and of course the Irish favourite Killaloe. During the second half of the concert tenor horn soloist Ben Weygang played the moving melody “Feelings.” with warmth and tenderness. . It was a wonderful night with most of us feeling quite emotional hearing the audience singing along to the band and the sad lyrics of “The fields of Athenry”. A night of music and memories shared through poetry and the act of remembrance. The Irish last post and reveille were played by Vicki Tischler and Philip Glennon and a new piece composed by the bands Musical Director Peter Gray, “Always remembered” was included in this moving tribute.
On Tuesday August 1st there was a joint rehearsal with the C.J.Kickham Band at the Hotel in Arherlow, where along with our Piper pieces were rehearsed for the planned Festival of Remembrance in St. Mary’s Church, Tipperary, in preparation for Friday 4th. The practice was tremendous with approx 40 brass players. The sound was huge and left us uplifted and proud.
The joint performance on the Friday evening was very well received and enjoyed by both bands and the audience alike. Included within the programme were solo’s played by Olivia Kersey on the cornet “An air for Cornet & Band” which was originally titled “The Aherlow Air”, and later she played the infamous “Post Horn Gallop” yes…you’ve guessed it ..on the Post Horn. The concert included the act of remembrance and one that left us all feeling that we had been part of a special tribute to honour & remember all those who had been lost in conflict. Musical Director Peter Gray had also composed a march included in this concert called “Knocklong”. It was included especially for Joe Maloney (a member and organiser of our trip to Tipperary) which was a fitting tribute to those Irishman and women, lost in the town of Knocklong, which also happens to be the home of Joe.
On Saturday 5th August a small group from the band accompanied by the National Flag party, along with Tim Haskell & Councillor Tony Cooper from Leiston Town Council to pay their respects to the Irish War Dead at the WW1 war memorial in Tipperary. The Last Post and Reveille was performed by Vicki Tischler & Philip Glennon This was followed by a short church service again at St. Mary’s and was a fitting finale to our trip.
We did manage time for socialising and visits around the local area and we were made to feel extremely welcome by the Tipperary Band and families. The trip has given us many new friends as well as memories to reflect upon.
We returned to Leiston tired but proud that we had been able to take the name of Leiston & The Band of the Royal British Legion across to Southern Ireland.
Our sincere thanks go out to all those who supported us to make this trip possible.