Ernie takes a trip down memory lane

Lower Ballinderry Accordion Band with conductor Ernie Singleton (left) pictured in the early 1970s.
Lower Ballinderry Accordion Band with conductor Ernie Singleton (left) pictured in the early 1970s.

As we enter the New Year, we take a trip down memory lane to the showband days with Lisburn man Ernie Singleton.

Ernie played saxophone in ‘The Jimmy Johnston Showband’ in the early 1960s.

The local band played in dance halls, village halls and orange halls in and around Lisburn and throughout the whole of Northern Ireland and also at venues in Southern Ireland.

Prior to joining the Jimmy Johnston Showband, Ernie played in the Jimmy Harrison Band in the 1950s.

Ernie also played in some local marching bands including Blaris Accordion Band (1950s) and Lower Ballinderry Accordion Band (1970s) of which he was also the band conductor.

People who went to dances in ballrooms in the sixties will remember that pubs closed at 10.00pm and as there was no bars in the dancehalls and young dancers went for refreshments (tea, coffee and soft drinks) in the peace and quiet of a tea room café.

The dancehalls in those days, when showbands ruled the stage, did not have the ear deafening music that young people have to tolerate in today’s noisy night clubs; and in the words of a well known 1960s song by Mary Hopkin - ‘those were the days my friend’.