Maghery Fife and Drum Band - Donegal
The Maghery Fife & Drum Band are a marching band that were founded in 1945 in the small rural village of Maghery (MA-HARRY) which is situated on the outskirts of Dungloe in The Rosses (best known for The Mary From Dungloe Festival) in Co.Donegal, Ireland.
The Rosses in Co.Donegal have a centuries old tradition of marching bands in particular Fife Bands and when visiting the area along the Wild Atlantic Way bands regularly are seen performing at community events throughout the year for entertainment and competitive purposes.
The Maghery Band that you will see perform has broken moulds in the Irish Band Scene as they have developed innovative and remarkable routines based on sound visualisation that will bring any audience to their feet!
Originally Maghery Band started out like many Donegal Bands do, initially performing locally to their hometown in locations as a part of their culture and heritage. Maghery's tradition has been annually performing in locations such as Meenacross & Dungloe every St. Patrick's Day & on Easter Sunday at Dungloe's Easter Sunday Main Street Band Competition. Originally the band's ranks consisted of Male members and sword bearers who acted as linesmen. Their uniform was the Men's best Sunday suit with pin stripe, tassles and lapels sewn onto the suit and removed there after.
During the 1960's the band had both a Junior & Senior Band actively performing which later returned once more to a Senior Band and by the 80s consisted of both Male & Female members. At this point the band had adopted an official uniform in the form of 'The Red Coats'.
In the mid 90's the Maghery Band ventured outside of their hometown and visited the coveted Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann (All Ireland Fleadh). Hungry for to obtain an All Ireland Title the band reinvented themselves in the winter of 1996. They adopted their Cream & Green Attire that they are synonymous to wearing to date and in August 1997 won their first All Ireland Title.
This was the foundation of their competitive career as members committed with great dedication. This dedication is seen to date as members practise as early as 6am and as late as 2am in order to practise successfully with their busy personal lives. In their 20+ years of competing Maghery Band have obtained over a dozen Donegal & Ulster Fleadh Titles and twice have won Two Consecutive Times All Ireland Titles in the Senior Fife & Drum Section. In 2004 the band adjusted to Junior status and won 11 Consecutive Competitions across all Fleadh & Donegal marching Band Association (DMBA) Competitions. In 2005 the band returned to the Senior Section at Fleadh and following this year took a hiatus from the competitive scene which lasted 5years. During this 5 year competitive gap the band continued their annual traditions performing on St. Patrick's Day & local commitments.
In late 2009 our current performing band was re-established with an intent to return to the competitive scene. Recruiting commenced and a Junior Band was formed. Throughout 2010 training ensued and their performance schedule grew, preparing them for their competitive debut. In 2011 the Junior competitive band returned to compete locally in Dungloe and sparked the reunion of past Senior Members. For the first time in 50 years both a Junior & Senior Band co-existed. The Juniors sparked much interest by adjudicators who labelled them as 'the band to watch'. The Juniors returned from the All Ireland in Co.Cavan in these 2 years as Champions as well as in Ulster Marching Band Assocation (UMBA).
In 2013 the Junior band had members coming of age and so the decision to move to Senior was made. The reunited Senior members agreed that the up and coming band showed much promise for the future. The reunited band stepped aside and so our Senior Competitive band that you see perform now were officially established. The 'Old Senior Band' continued with local commitments and some members joined the newly established Seniors into the competitive world.
The committee devised a 2 year plan to win The All Ireland Title they sought after. Alongside this the band also ventured into new competitive scenes and began competing in Limerick's International Band Championship. Competing alongside 18 other bands from USA & Europe the band became International Champions winning Best Youth Band for 3 Consecutive occasions when they visited in 2014, 2015 & 2016. The first for any Donegal Marching Band. This recognition opened up International and Worldwide avenues for the band who were developing fast.
Meanwhile, the dream to win the Fleadh was within touching distance and behind the scenes entertainment aspects were being steadily introduced as instructors were developing the band for their forthcoming routines. They band are instructed by Drumming Director Anthony Houston, Music Director Karl Doherty & Drill & Drum Major Director Annemarie O'Donnell. All 3 instructors are also playing members.The commitment of previous ranks was followed practicing a minimum of 4 to as many as 16 hours a week across 2-7days a week and in 2015 The current Senior Competitive Maghery Band won their first All Ireland! This coincided with the band's 70th Anniversary.
It was in 2016 when Maghery returned to defend their title at the Fleadh that they revealed one of their most innovative routines to date and recognition of their innovation began to mount. The dream came full circle when they became Three In a row Champions in 2017. This also coincided with the band's 20th Anniversary of the First ever All Ireland win (1997). In this same year they won the 'Johnny Walshe' Cup at their local Dungloe Main Street Competition which labelled them as #cupcollectors.
The band have continued recruiting in recent years and in Oct 2016 established their 'Mini Band' who in 2017 became the official competitive Junior Band, who in 2018 attended Donegal Fleadh and were awarded Champion Status. 2018 has seen the band established as an academy as they actively train youth and adults alike teaching music, drill and drumming to ensure the future of their success and legacy continues.
Following their most successful year to date (2018) the Senior competitive band stand as current 4 Times All Ireland Champions, Three times International Champions & 2 Times Dungloe Champions. Their 2 in a row win at Dungloe's Easter Main Street Competition spotlighted their innovative and entertaining routine when their performance went viral gaining over 50,000 views in under 2 weeks.
See link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4ewn0HPYDQ
This sparked their break into the Northern Ireland competitive scene where they competed in November 2018 and won Churchill Flute Band's Entertainment Contest. The now Maghery Band Academy also had all three bands (Old Senior, Competitive Senior & Competitive Junior) perform in Dunlgoe this year which had members spanning 3 generations, from as young as 3 and 90years taking part.
The Senior Competitive band will be undertaking an East Coast USA Tour in March 2019 when they travel to perform in various venues in New York City, New Jersey & Orlando Florida. During this tour they will also be parading in NYC's St Patrick's Day Parade, Bayonne, New Jersey's St. Patrick's Day Parade and parading in Universal Studios Florida as well as in The Magic Kingdom in Disney World itself,
Their mission is to perform worldwide and share their talents reaching entertainment audiences that imparts their creative collaborations. Their routines use elements of marching and choreographed drill to creatively visualize their music and drumming which is an exciting and thrilling experience!
We are very excited to be taking part in Liverpool Tattoo and look forward to performing for new spectators who will be joining us in our journey of performance marching, music and drumming art.