Melody flute prize for Lisburn band

Lisburn Young Defenders.
Lisburn Young Defenders.

It has been a few years since Lisburn Young Defenders competed at the Flute Band Association ‘own choice’ contest but this year, at the Island Centre in Lisburn, the band did it in style by winning the ‘melody plus’ section for the first time.

The band played two pieces - ‘Divided They Fought’ and ‘The Pink Elephant’ - with a performance good enough to pip William King Memorial by just one point.

Although the band has won the Irish Championship many times in 2000, 2001 and 2003 this is the first time that they have been successful in the ‘melody plus’ section.

It allows a more flexible playing style and permits piccolo and F flutes, something which the Young Defenders used to their advantage.

The pieces used were arranged by band conductor Gary Shields who was delighted with the success and the recognition it will bring to the band.

“It is great to see Lisburn Young Defenders again acknowledged as one of the top Bands in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“To reach this level requires a lot of hard work and dedication but it is all worthwhile when you see that you can compete with the best.

“Our youngest player today was only 11 and yet we had other members in their 40s so the Band has a real blend of youth and experience, which is great for the future.”

The focus for the band now moves on to hosting two annual events. The Blood and Thunder night sees a number of top bands appearing at the First Blues Club on Saturday, March 4 and the annual melody contest will take place on Saturday, March 25 in Lisburn Orange Hall. Both events are pay at the door and open to the general public.

The band has some opportunities for new members in both flute and drum sections. Any young musicians who want to further their music, or older musicians who want to get involved again with a top band, will be made most welcome. The band can be contacted through Facebook or Twitter.