Armagh Trip

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 12 February 2010

On Friday 5th February Foden’s Band and the people of Armagh Old Boys’ Band Association (Northern Ireland) came together to celebrate a union that began a decade ago.

Ivor Stephenson and the Armagh Old Boys began the weekend celebration of this musical anniversary with a magnificent ball on the Friday night. Fodens then entertained with an informal concert that gave everyone a chance to socialise and dance.

Saturday’s music making began with a concert in which the band accompanied junior and up-coming brass players from around Northern Ireland.  All of the youths performed solos ranging from “My First Solo” to “Bass in the Ballroom” and “Children of Sanchez” with aplomb.

Following this wonderful concert that hammered home that there is a strong future for brass banding in Northern Ireland, Foden’s moved to St Patrick’s Church at the highest point in Armagh to hold another concert. In side the band were greeted by the epic replica of Napoleon’s eagle taken from one of his standards by the Irish Regiment during the Battle of Barossa in 1811 which was the inspiration behind Andy Scott’s new composition ‘Battle of Barossa.’ The band concluded the concert with this piece after Andy Scott had explained to the capacity audience about the new work.


On the Saturday night Foden’s performed a gala concert to a sell out audience featuring items recently recorded on the bands latest cd that had been dedicated to Ivor Stephenson. Before finishing the concert the band thanked their host, Ivor, for his consistent hard work and support with a presentation of the said cd release. The concert concluded with a standing ovation for the band followed by a number of encores.

On the Sunday Fodens concluded their weekend trip with a concert in the local parish church. There they played throughout the mass that was especially entitled “Just a Closer Walk” to conform with the opening piece that enlightened the Sunday morning atmosphere with ragtime. Following a number of hymns Foden’s capped a beautiful ceremony with Eric Ball’s Resurgam, that left the Priest and congregation suitably rejuvenated and inspired, something that was becoming quite a regular thing in Armagh over this particular weekend.


For any conductor and every audience, Foden’s Band is a musical Magic Carpet. It continually takes the listener to places that few other ensembles rarely even approach Howard Snell