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Kellswater set to ‘Rock’ Gibraltar PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 July 2008 21:57

BALLYMENA'S links with Gibraltar are set to be further strengthened next month, thanks to the efforts of a popular local band.

Kellswater Flute Band will embark on a six-day trip to the 'Rock' on August 12 as part of the band's 60th anniversary celebrations.

There, the band will march and play concerts, while at the same time cementing the formal twinning link between Ballymena and Gibraltar, which has been in place since 2006.

“We felt we would do something special to celebrate the band’s 60th anniversary and this trip has been two years in the planning,” bandmaster Alistair McDonald told the Times. “We felt Gibraltar would be a good location because of its links with Ballymena and also because our conductor Glen Houston has a lot of contacts out there.”


A party of 62 people – including band members, accompanying artists, parents and friends – will make the trip, finally putting an end to the Herculean task of tying up all the logistical loose ends.

“It’s been amazingly difficult to organise everything because some people are leaving early because of work commitments, while others are flying in from Scotland, England and Dublin, but the bulk of us will fly out together from Gatwick,” said Alistair.

The band will borrow some instruments in Gibraltar but other more unwieldy equipment – such as the bass drum bearing the band’s name – will be transported by people carrier driven by band member Alistair Swan, who will be accompanied by Andrew Lamont going and Samuel Ewart on the return journey.

Kellswater secured some funding for the band members – other members of the party will pay their own way – from Ballymena Borough Council, while the Gibraltarian government has helped out with accommodation.

“We’ve also been involved in fund-raising ourselves and had a major event – an auction, barbecue and disco – last month, which raised a good sum.

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported us in that and also all the individuals and businesses who have given us donations, while the members have contributed significantly themselves.”

The Kellswater party will assume mini-celebrity status during their trip, with Glen Houston and treasurer Stephen McKay having already conducted press and television interviews during a previous fact-finding trip earlier this year.

While there, Kellswater will perform two concerts – one of which is part of the resort’s Summer Nights Festival – and two parades. Kellswater will be accompanied by Shillelagh, one of the Province’s most popular folk bands, and the ever-popular Fiddler Adam.

“We hope that the trip will enable us to promote our culture and also promote both Ballymena and Northern Ireland to a wider audience – who knows, there may even be bands from over there coming over to Ballymena in the future,” added Alistair.

The band has produced a new CD to coincide with the Gibraltar visit and full details are available on the band’s website


Ballymena Times July 2008.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 21:58

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