WATCH: Limerick dances to the beat of 20 marching bands

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts


WATCH: Limerick dances to the beat of 20 marching bands

The Slippery Rock Marching Band from Pennsylvania brought the International Band Championship to a rousing conclusion PICTURE: KIERAN RYAN-BENSON

LIMERICK danced to the sound of 20 marching bands this afternoon at the 49th annual International Band Championship.

Around 30,000 people lined O’Connell Street for the parade, which brought the curtain down on this year’s St Patrick’s festivities.

And they were rewarded as more than 1,000 performers provided a spectacular musical backdrop, despite less than perfect conditions.

There were celebrations for the Charlotte High School band, who landed the overall title.

The group from North Carolina impressed judges with a performance of the Neil Diamond classic 'Sweet Caroline’, before putting their own take on the ‘Thunderer’ marching track by American composer John Philip Sousa. 

“I’m very pleased. Four years ago, we won best international band, so it was nice to win the overall band this year,” said Timothy Cook of the group, “We really rehearsed a lot. We have been rehearsing since January. We have lovely new uniforms too. We were prepared. The students were very excited to perform. We will definitely be back!”

Elsewhere, there were awards for a number of other bands: the best youth band prize went to Banna Chluiain Meala of Clonmel, who gave an emotional rendition of the Cranberries classic ‘Dreams’.

Best international band went to the Slippery Rock University Marching Pride band from Pennsylvania, while the best musical performance accolade went to another American band, the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh from New Jersey.

Mullingar Town Band secured best uniform, while the most entertaining performance went to the Clondalkin Youth Band.

There were special judges awards for the Killorglin and District Pipe Band, the Friendship Band, and another New Jersey group, the Glen Ridge High School Band.

Four bands flew the flag locally for Limerick, including the Newcastle West pipe band, which won best local band.

The Boherbuoy Band once again, as is tradition, opened proceedings, while there were performances from the CBS Pipe Band and the City of Limerick Pipe Band.

Mayor James Collins said: “It was absolutely amazing, just exceptional musical talent on display.  We had Limerick bands, Irish bands, American High School and University bands, and those from Estonia and England. There was high energy and high entertainment.  The people of Limerick came out to support it again despite the weather.  The rain didn’t stop anybody having fun, it was fantastic.”

For more pictures and reaction to this year’s International Band Championship, see The Leader, which is out first thing Wednesday morning.