A LIMERICK band is celebrating on the double after picking up St Patrick’s Day awards on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The Limerick City Rhythm Band journeyed en masse to the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day parade at the weekend, where they marched in front of 60,000 people.
And to their surprise, they beat 10 other bands to win the top prize in England’s second city.
Since they only arrived back in Limerick in the early hours of St Patrick’s morning, the band performed last in the parade.
But it was worth coming home to march on home turf, as they won Best Musical Performance in Limerick’s parade.
Band director Miriam Dawson said she was “dumbfounded” upon hearing from the Leader of their second win. “I hadn’t heard it until now. It was amazing march today. Everyone was cheering, whether they were playing drums or other instruments,” she said.
After braving freezing cold conditions in Birmingham, the weather here was considerably better.
She said following the win in Birmingham, the band “sailed” down O’Connell Street this Tuesday.
“It was an amazing march. Everyone was cheering, and all our members were so proud after getting the award. They were happy and smiling,” Miriam said.
Following their experience in only the band’s first trip away together, Miriam said every band should try and take a trip to an overseas parade if they can.
“A trip away builds a huge amount of spirit within a group. We have lots to laugh about. It is something every band should do every couple of years. It nourishes a group, and means we can build bonds and memories which will never be forgotten,” she said.
Miriam also said that the positivity within the band is reflected in its performance.
“Music comes from the heart, and this is shown through the sound that musicians play,” she said, “The best musicians always show spirit and heart, and it comes out in their music”.
Among the band’s number is 20-year-old tuba player Evan Cotter, who has made it to the live finals of the Voice of Ireland.
Although busy preparing for the RTE show, he journeyed to London with the group.
Miriam said however he does in the show, the talented musician and singer - who also plays guitar in church - has a bright future.
“He is a very modest young fella: not in your face at all. He is very happy got where he is. If he gets further, well and good. If not, he has still done brilliant,” she said.
Birmingham’s St Patrick’s festival takes place around the Irish Quarter in the city’s Digbeth area.
The Limerick City Rhythm Band is always on the look out for new members.
For more information, telephone Miriam at 087-2600821.