BIG DAY OUT The Clew Bay Pipe Band, pictured at the Custom House Studios where they performed recently for Culture Night, Cllr with Margaret Adams, Breeda Burns and John McHugh. The band are looking forward to their performance at the Republic of Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifer at the Aviva Stadium on Friday next. Pic: Conor McKeown
Clew Bay Pipe Band to perform at World Cup qualifier
This Friday evening, the Clew Bay Pipe Band will march around the Aviva Stadium playing the national anthems of Ireland and Germany before the teams battle it out in the World Cup 2014 qualifier.
The story of how this relatively new pipe band has been booked to play in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000 people began last spring.
On St Patrick’s Day, the 25-piece Clew Bay Pipe Band – made up of students from the school and a number of adults – was officially launched at Carrowholly NS, Westport. Just over a month later, an Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Irish soccer manager Giovanni Trapattoni were scheduled to complete their famous climb of Croagh Patrick – and the band was asked to play at the start of their climb and pipe them from the car park to the foot of the holy mountain.
Minister of State for Sport and Tourism Michael Ring complimented the band during the pre-climb speeches and told FAI Chief John Delaney that he hem to play at the Aviva.
Speaking to The Mayo News, school principal Peter Carney reveals that Minister Ring’s comments set in chain a sequence events that meant that the band were booked for the World Cup qualifier within minutes.
“John Delaney came across the stage and invited us to play, the crowd responded and his secretary Siobhán Keane came up to us straight away to discuss details,” remembers Mr Carney. The mood in the school has been upbeat ever since. A chart counts down the days until the band gets on the road for Dublin.
Although seven of the band members are in primary school, and another 14 are under the age of 16, the Clew Bay Pipe Band is taking the Aviva performance in its stride. “The kids don’t suffer from nerves,” Mr Carney said. “They’re excited about it. It’s the old fellas like myself and Des Cafferkey, the Pipe Major, who get them.”
The band is also getting accustomed to high-profile appearances – they recently performed with the Chieftians, and featured on television programme on The Gathering Ireland 2013 with Jean Butler.
Mr Carney attributes the band’s speedy rise to prominence to the dedication shown by the children, who have given up much of their free time to intensive practice. Just last weekend Keith O’Malley from St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band in Dublin came down last Saturday to do a day-long workshop with the band. “It’s a lot of dedication from kids who could be doing other things,” Mr Carney acknowledged.
Commenting on Friday’s performance, the school principal has high hopes for its effect on Ireland’s relationship with the EU. “We’ve learned the German national anthem and even snazzed it up a bit, hoping Angela Merkel will let us off on the bank bailout deal,’ he quipped.
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