September marks the 10th anniversary of the Upper Bann Fusiliers Flute Band - just as they prepare to hold their annual band parade in Lurgan.
The band expects to see huge numbers at this year’s parade, following the energy and efforts of its members and the large amount of parades that the Fusiliers have supported throughout Northern Ireland.
While their history is a relatively short one - in comparison to many other bands - the past decade has been packed full of effort, determination and the desire to succeed in a band scene packed with ability, quality and expertise. The band officially formed under the Upper Bann DUP Flute Band name after the party’s success at the Westminster elections in 2005, when David Simpson won the seat as MP for Upper Bann.
However, in efforts to de-politicise the band and appeal to a broader spectrum of the community, the band changed their name to Upper Bann Fusiliers in March 2007. The name ‘Fusiliers’ was chosen for its association with Unionists, as well as to honour the huge recruitment drive that took place in Brownlow House in September 1914. The Royal Irish Fusiliers came to Lurgan as part of a recruitment drive to raise a quote of 2,500 men - which they achieved in just three days.
A number of young people have passed through the Upper Bann Fusiliers, making a positive impact, making friends and giving something back to the community from which they come. The band scene is extremely strong, with local bands improving in both musical ability, marching and discipline each year.
The Upper Bann Fusiliers are currently recruiting for the Flute Core and Colour Party, and those interested in joining are asked to contact a member of the band or call into the practice, which is held every Monday evening from 7pm to 9pm in Brownlow House. It is a great time to join the band and get ready for the road for next season, as it will be a big year - with the Easter Monday parade held in Lurgan, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
The band would like to thank the Loyal Orders for their bookings and ongoing support, which is the lifeline of any band. In particular, the Fusiliers want to thank their long term partners, Lurgan District LOL No.6, Abrahams Chosen Few RBP 1107, and Corcreeney Branch, Baker Club, Apprentice Boys of Derry - with whom they have formed a great relationship and appreciate their help through the years.
The Upper Bann Fusiliers invite the community to come out and support their annual parade on Saturday evening, where the highest calibre of bands will be on display. The Fusiliers will parade first, as hosts of the parade, from the Royal British Legion at 7pm - before holding a wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial. Hymns will be played while members of the band lay a wreath in remembrance of the fallen from both World Wars and subsequent conflicts. Visiting bands will then commence the main parade from Shearf Drive at 7:30pm to parade the town, finishing in Union Street.
The annual parade is always well supported by the local community, and the Upper Bann Fusiliers once again voice their gratitude for this.