40,000 line streets of Limerick for international band parade

20 marching bands featured 1,000 musicians from across Ireland, Europe and US

Sun, Mar 16, 2014, 19:26

With the theme music from hit movies like Superman and James Bond and even an appearance by ‘Jaws’ the killer shark, there was plenty to keep spectators enthralled at this year’s International Band Parade in Limerick.

More than 40,000 spectators lined the streets of Ireland’s National City of Culture today for the marching band contest, where The Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces walked away with the top prize.

It was the band’s first time taking part in the competition which is now in its 44th year.

A total of 20 marching bands featuring over 1000 musicians from across Ireland, Europe and the USA performed as part of the Limerick St Patrick’s Festival.

The Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces took the title of ‘Overall Parade Champion’ while Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Marching Colonials, from Massachusettes, were named ‘Best International Band’.

The Redemptorist Centre of Music Concert Band, from Limerick won the ‘Best Local Band’ category while Clondalkin Brass and Reed Youth Band were given the prize for best uniform.

The Dublin band thrilled spectators with their impressive repertoire which including the theme tune to the hit movies Jaws and Superman.

And there was even an appearance by the killer shark himself to keep younger audience members amused.

It was no surprise that the Spanish entry Dulzaninas De Avila Pipe band was given a prize for ‘Most Entertaining Performance’.

When they weren’t playing instruments and marching these lively performers even managed to include singing and dancing in their repertoire.

There was a huge reception for Limerick City Brass and Reed Band led by 80-year-old Sammy Benson who was presenting with a special certificate from Mayor Kathleen Leddin.

The well known pensioner who established the band in 1974 was honoured for 40 years of voluntary service in his native city.

One of the youngest participants in the parade was five year old Seamus Purcell from Fedamore in Co Limerick who was part of St Mary’s Pipe Band and taking part in the parade for his second time.

The prize for Best Musical Performance was awarded to Fort Madison High School Band from Iowa and The Friendship Band from Northern Ireland received a ‘Special Judges Award’.

Other winners included Maghery Fife and Drum band from Donegal who were named ‘Best Youth Band’.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr. Kathleen Leddin congratulated all of the winners in this year’s International Band Championship, adding:

“The sight of thousands of people from all over the world lining the streets of Limerick City Centre is particularly pleasing considering we are celebrating City of Culture this year. This is just one of dozens of City of Culture events taking place during 2014.”

“The huge number of participants in this year’s Championship as well as the large turnout by members of the public shows that the event continues to go from strength to strength.”

Other than the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, another highlight of the weekend is ‘Paddy’s Day Unlocked’ — a free City of Culture event featuring musical performances, a screening, dance, theatrical performances and spoken word at The Milk Market tomorrow from 3pm to 7pm.

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