Bid to change marching band stereotypes

Published Wednesday, 26 March 2014
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An initiative has been launched in a bid to challenge perceptions of marching bands in Londonderry.

Bid to change marching band stereotypes
The initiative will work with bands from across the city. (© Getty)

Derry City Council and the Londonderry Bands Forum will work together to educate young people on the history of bands, their instruments, and different views on parades.

The bands forum was set-up in 2012, in recognition that bands can be perceived as political rather than musical or cultural - and to boost awareness of the community work they are involved in.

Co-ordinator Derek Moore said: "Many people see a stereotype rather than the bigger picture when they think about marching bands.

"The bands forum is happy to work with everyone to help them understand the culture better.

"Developments such as the musical performances by local marching bands in the All Ireland Fleadh are beginning to change perceptions - but there is need for further educational work."

The newly published 'Marching Bands Activity Sheet' has been developed in partnership between the Londonderry Bands Forum and the Community Relations Team in Derry City Council.

They hope the educational initiative will help to change perceptions of bands.

It comes as a surprise to some that you don't have to be in a loyal order to be in a band, or to hear that bands are actually hired in to play at parades.

Sue Divin, Community Relations Officer

"Often people are unaware that the tradition of marching bands spans across the 'traditional divide'," Sue Divin, Community Relations Officer with Derry City Council, said.

"In the Irish tradition, the Catholic temperance movement historically supported the development of marching bands culture."

She added: "Whilst Frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte first developed fife and drum bands, Ireland's oldest flute band comes from Drumahoe."

The initiative, which has been funded by Derry City Council's Good Relations Strategy, has been welcomed by the Mayor Martin Reilly - who says that attitudes are changing.

The SDLP representative said: "The change has come at a time when our city is promoting its legacy after being crowned City of Culture 2013, and when cross community events have been staged at both Ebrington Square and Guildhall Square.

"These events, such as the St Patricks day Parade and the Fleadh, saw both sides of the community merge in a family friendly environment.

"I welcome this initiative, as it will educate and inform young people on topics that previously they may have not engaged with."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
John in Newtownabbey wrote (304 days ago):
No chance!
anon in everywhere wrote (304 days ago):
Yip, here we go again.. The council strikes again.. They voted to have the flag of our country taken of one of our country's landmark buildings, now they want to change the way our marching bands walk.. I always walk in a left right motion, not with two left feet. Ya can't have it all one sided, soon we will all have the same haircuts too. now that would be pointless.
Observer in Online wrote (304 days ago):
Frank in Belfast - I agree to an extent, but only a small minority in bands are guilty of that. It was the same on St Patricks day where a small number of people see it as an excuse to get drunk and cause trouble. There are idiots on both sides.
its hard to control in belfast wrote (305 days ago):
frank in Belfast, band members are not allowed to drink, some do break the rules but you always get people who do this sort of thing and let the other members down. out of the thousands that take part how many actually get drunk or cause trouble? very few.
nobands in ni wrote (305 days ago):
how will they outline the history of the uda and uvf embroidered on their uniforms
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