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.