Cobh Confraternity Band will celebrate its 50 year anniversary at a special dinner event this Friday, 20 October.
The celebrations will be held at the Commodore Hotel, Cobh and will include a meal and a special speech by Captain Michael McCarthy, marketing manager of the Port of Cork Company, who is a founding playing member of the group.
The band formally known as Cobh Confraternity Brass and Reed Band was founded in 1967 to provide music for Catholic Church functions in Cobh. At this point 50 years ago recruitment, along with classes and training, were fully underway, as was a major fundraising operation. Through the hard work of the band’s officers Fr St John Thornhill (president), Jerry Harrington (chairman), Ger Kelliher (vice chairman), Jim Curley (secretary) and Eddie Powell (treasurer) were backed by its industrious committee and directed by John Kelliher, it was ready for the 1968 Eucharistic Procession.
The band’s first engagement outside of Cobh took place a year later in Glenbrook.
Cobh Confraternity Band’s repertoire expanded and soon the group were regularly performing in concerts, at fundraising projects, parades, festivals and sports meetings. Some of the band’s many memorable performances included the FAI Cup Semi-Finals between Cobh Ramblers and Sligo Rovers, the homecoming for Cobh’s track and field Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan, and the centenary ceremonies for the Titanic and Lusitania liners and the Australia Day festivities in Cobh.
Cobh Confraternity Band travel across East Cork on a voluntary basis to provide entertainment for up to 60 visiting cruise ships ever summer and played for 32 ships to date this year. Following a recital featuring a mixture of Irish, popular and classical songs and marches, the unberthing of the boats is marked by the band’s playing of Charles Zimmerman’s Anchors Aweigh.