Blaris Accordion Band with Jim Thompson in the
back row [second right]
BLARIS Accordion Band recently honoured its
longest serving member.
Jim Thompson was presented with a grandfather clock featuring a
brass plaque referring to his '50 years loyal unbroken service'.
He first entered the band's ranks in 1956 and
is the only remaining serving member from that year. More than
five decades later he said bands are now playing "much more
"This makes it more interesting for younger
members who can develop their musical abilities and help the
band carry out its yearly programme," he added.Mr. Thompson also
outlined some of the band's history.
It was originally formed in 1935 by Blaris
Christ Church Temperance LOL 128 but became independent from the
lodge in 1955.
"I can remember some great times with band members down the
years," Jim said. "I can remember playing under some great
conductors such as the late Mr. John Allen and the late Mr.
William McMurray with whom we won Grade One Championships in the
Ulster Hall and All Ireland Championships in Limerick in 1990
"The present conductor Mr. George Caldwell,
who came to the band in 2001, continues to keep entering
contests a priority.
Mr. Thompson said the band also played at
events such as youth parades, Orange Sunday services and the
July 12 demonstration.
"Christmas is a busy time when we play carols
and give concerts in nursing homes and folds," he continued.
He also revealed details of the band's annual
variety concert and sing-a-long in Magheragall Parish Church
next Friday, May 4. This will include pipers from Magheragall
Pipe Band playing 'Amazing Grace' and other pieces in harmony
with the accordions and drums of Blaris.
Finally, Mr. Thompson said new members were
needed: "Learner players are always welcome from 10 or 11 years
upwards," he added.
The practice hall is the Sarah Crothers
Centre at Warren Park in Lisburn. Anyone interested in joining
should phone 9262 1453.