Despite the difficulty of Covid, lockdowns, and being unable to get together as much as we wanted to, 2020 saw St. John’s Brass and Reed Band spring back to life.
With a new musical director, a complete re-organisation of our music library, a social media reboot, donations of funds and instruments for an instrument bank, new members coming in, the return of past members, the launch of our outreach programme ‘First Steps in Music‘, a fantastic commemorative mural for our band hall, being part of Limerick Culture Night 2020, and being featured on RTE One News, we finished off 2020 with a bang!
Finally being able to get out and play, we did various Christmas concerts in the city centre and Garryowen areas that were met with such warmth and enthusiasm by our audiences.
Thank you to all our band members, students and supporters. We cannot wait to keep spreading the joy of music in this brand new year of 2021. There is much more to come, so watch this space!
BASED at 2 Garryowen Road, St. John’s Brass and Reed Band has been an intrinsic part of the ceremonial history of Limerick for over 150 years. To recognise and celebrate the band’s contribution and representation of Limerick City, Draw Out, the Limerick- based Urban Art initiative, aims to honour the collective with the expertise of Dublin-based artists Decoy and WithoutMatter, delivering a striking mural commemorating the history of the band.
Chairperson for St. John’s Brass and Reed Band, Tony McCarthy, instigated proceedings with Draw Out supplying the artists with an incredible photographic reference; an original photo from 1958 of Jimmy Mc Cormack (right), current President and member of the band and Kevin Greaney (left), a former band member.
The history connected to St. John’s Band is very much part of Limerick’s Cultural Heritage, past and present. With the recent appointment of Mr. Jonathan Luxton as Musical Director, a new exciting era for the band is on the horizon. To coincide with current developments, which included giving the exterior of the building a much needed paint job, the well-received depiction of both the historical aspect of the band and the familiarity of the figures on display represents the true spirit of St. John’s Brass and Reed Band.
Draw Out endeavours to deliver public artwork that inspires higher thought about the community surrounding it, raises awareness and gives remembrance. With the support of Creative Ireland; Made in Limerick and Limerick Arts Office, this project was made possible. The Draw Out team quickly went to work to select the artists they felt would truly deliver on this piece.
‘DECOY’ is a professional muralist and street artist living and working in Dublin. In recent years, his public profile and reputation as an emerging artist has been building from strength-to-strength. Recent group and individual exhibitions, large-scale outdoor commissions and his strong social media presence are a testament to this.
In 2020 his art has progressed into a visibly unique style. Using abstract shapes and patterns synonymous with childhood drawings, overlapping and colour switching, creates his playful yet considered artworks. Furthermore, advancing Irish trends of abstraction and urban art. Also documentation of his day to day activities has become just as important; producing a litany of time lapses and day long paint story collaborations as he goes.
‘WITHOUT’ is a visual artist hailing from Dublin. Originally coming from a fine-art/sculpture background, Without has been working as a muralist and designer the last four plus years. WITHOUT’s practice falls somewhere between sculpture, painting and, in recent years, large format artwork in the form of muralism and architectural installations. His most recent work explores themes of space, time, movement and form, treading the grounds between two and three dimensions. The combination of both artist’s individual styles creates a vibrant and collaborative concept, bringing depth, emotion and personality to the piece.
Public artwork shines a light on a particular entity rooted within the community, and acts as a talking point for important social conversation. Draw Out aims to represent the community spirit of the area, honour its cultural heritage and its influence on the populace. Draw Out has, to date, delivered 29 original pieces at a variety of sites across Limerick City and within Limerick communities, taking pride in defining the ‘local common ground’ to encompass the distinctive, cultural elements of the area, presenting the authentic, social and cultural character of a city and its communities.
If you wish to contact Draw Out, you can do so on 061- 314637/ 0838827455 or via any of our social media platforms.
Draw Out Socials: @drawoutlk (Insta and twitter), facebook.com/drawoutlimerick Website: www.drawout.ie
St. John’s Brass and Reed Band Socials: @saintjohnsbrassandreedbandlimerick Website: www.stjohnsband.com
Artists socials: @decoy_art and @withoutmatter (Instagram), facebook.com/Decoyartist
We’re absolutely thrilled to see the progress being made at 2 Garryowen. Our beloved band hall is getting a facelift! A band-themed mural is slowly being erected on the gable end of the building.
Special thanks go to Councillor Daniel Butler and the Limerick City & County Council Arts Office for their support with this project, Catherine O’Halloran and Emma O’Brien from Drawout, and the wonderful artists themselves Decoy and Without.
For more information about the artists and their work, check out their Instagram pages @decoyart and @withoutmatter.
We’re delighted to be participating in Limerick’s Culture Night, taking place on Friday 18th 2020.
After being close to disbanding permanently, with the last performance being over two years ago, our historical community band has made an exciting comeback with previous members, new members, a new musical director, and the support of the Garryowen community.
During this difficult time with Covid-19 presenting many challenges for bands, orchestras and musical groups, Culture Night 2020 is taking place online.
St. John’s Brass & Reed Band is participating virtually, with a video that takes viewers from 1865 to 2020, presenting a rich history and a connected community of band members; some with two or three generations in a family playing in the band. We also introduce our exciting new outreach programme, First Steps in Music, launching this month with two of our local schools, helping to encourage and support children learning to play instruments.
Yesterday, we were deeply saddened to hear that one of our long serving members, Liam Downey, had passed away.
In his younger years, Liam was a talented local rugby player and in later years began learning the concert flute before joining St. Johns Brass & Reed Band.
Down through the years, he served on numerous committees and, with a deep love of music and the band itself, Liam was always generous with his time when it came to both helping with fundraising events and the organising of the band room itself.
Liam was an extremely popular member of our band and was highly respected. He will be deeply missed.
Our deepest condolences go to his wife Lucy, children Dermot, Brian, Lucy Rita, brothers Paddy and Kieran, and extended family and friends.
St John’s Youth Club, part of the Garryowen Community Development Project, have been using our band hall as an arts studio to create lovely pieces of art as part of their summer youth work programme, in order to raise awareness about mental health.
Some fantastic pieces have been created, including a beautiful painting of a French horn.
We’re delighted to see our space being used for such a wonderful cause!
St. John’s Brass and Reed Band was featured in the Limerick Leader last night. The article announces the return of the Band under the musical direction of our new Conductor, Jonathan Luxton.
Readers are introduced to the mission of the Band which is to “bring music right into the heart of the community, somewhere we know there is young talent” as stated by our Chairperson, Tony McCarthy.
Our ‘First Steps in Music Programme’ and our GoFundMe page are also announced. We hope to raise enough funds to purchase new instruments for our instrument bank, which will give young people an opportunity to come and learn with our brass teacher Jonathan Luxton and our woodwind teacher Ken Hinchy.
To read the full article in the Limerick Leader, click here.
Last Thursday 9th July, the band had its first rehearsal since restarting.
On behalf of her father and the band’s President Jim McCormack, Jennifer McPhilemy handed over the conductor’s baton to our new Musical Director, Jonathan Luxton. Pictured also are band members Brian Duckett and band Secretary, Noel McCormack.
Jonathan moved to Ireland in 2019, having lived in Portugal where he played principal horn in the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon for 31 years. Since being in Ireland, he has played with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Camerata Ireland Chamber Orchestra, and has been invited to play with the Ulster Orchestra (postponed due to Covid-19). Locally, he has been involved in musical projects in the Limetree Theatre, St Mary’s Cathedral, Redemptorist Catholic Church, the UL Orchestra and St Anne’s School in Killaloe. Jonathan currently teaches brass at the Munster Music Academy, Killaloe.
Jonathan is passionate about raising awareness of music, especially in schools and communities. ‘I am delighted to be joining a local historical band, whose core value is to spread the joy of learning or playing an instrument, and welcoming anyone who wishes to join.Music should be inclusive, not exclusive. Every child regardless of wealth or standing should have an opportunity to study an instrument. My education was in the state school system in England, and I was very fortunate that music was still a big part of the curriculum back then. With music no longer being easily accessible to all, it has never been more important to provide opportunities for children and community members by forming partnerships between schools and local community music projects.’
St. John’s Brass and Reed Band is excited to move into a new era of playing, bringing with it a colourful and rich history, and carrying on the effort of band President Jim McCormack, who has been marching the band forward for over half a century.