IN WHAT surely must have been a first for a Fermanagh fleadh, a Protestant flute band played at the recent weekend of Irish traditional music in Newtownbutler.
Following on from initial discussions within the local cross-community group, Newtownbutler Together’s Peace Impact Programme, the local Fleadh organising committee invited a local Protestant Flute band to play on the ‘gig rig’ at the villages play park.
This was part of the weeklong programme of events in the village and the members of Magheraveeley flute band played a selection of tunes including “It’s a long way to Tipperary”, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” and “Pack up your troubles”.
Judging by the foot-tapping and even singing along at times, those watching were obviously entering into the spirit and getting a real feel for the music.
Dean Robinson (Band Master) said “We had a great day playing at our first fleadh, especially as a lot of our members live around the Newtownbutler area.
“We weren’t totally sure what to expect at first but it was a great experience.
“All our members that played thoroughly enjoyed it, we appreciated the great welcome and reception we got from the crowd and organisers,” said Dean.
Sinead Crudden added “As chairperson of Fermanagh Fleadh I am delighted to see the mixture of cultures participate in this year’s fleadh.
“We have organised a cross community cross border festival and all those attending have shown great appreciation of everyone’s culture.
I am extremely proud of all participants and thank them for their time.”
Thomas O’Reilly and Simon Wiggins, the chairman and vice-chairman of Newtownbutler Together, said: “This was an exciting day for Newtownbutler and a great occasion for people to come together and celebrate the different musical traditions and cultures that we have in the area.
“It is further development of the work that Newtownbutler Together has been doing over the years to promote cross-community involvement.”
“We would like to thank the members of Fermanagh Fleadh organising committee and Magheraveeley Flute band for making this positive move towards increasing tolerance and respect for each others musical traditions.”
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