There’s no St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world quite like Dublin’s intimate carnival vibe and the marching bands of the USA seem to agree! This year eight of the 11 marching bands involved hail from North America
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, part of the five-day St. Patrick’s Festival, is something to behold. A colorful, carnival-style celebration with Irish officials, community groups, dancers, and street performers all marching to the sounds of the marching bands and most notably a great number of them from America.
This year’s the theme of the St. Patrick’s Festival is storytelling and the parade, which has been in the making for over 18 months, is sure to be as ambitious and lively as always. What’s notable about this year’s line up of marching bands if that eight of the 11 featured are from the United States.
What many people don’t realize is that Ireland’s national St. Patrick’s Day parade is actually a marching band competition and those bands who’ve made it, to march the streets of Dublin, have beaten off strong international competition.
Dublin's five-day St. Patrick's Day Festival 2019
Making Paddy's Day plans? Check out St. Patrick's Festival Ireland's five-days of family fun in Dublin! Read more here - https://bit.ly/2IT6UXEPubliée par IrishCentral.com sur Mardi 5 mars 2019
“As a festival, we attend a major band recruitment show in Chicago annually,” explained Chief Executive of the St. Patrick’s Festival Susan Kirby. “We work really closely with musical specialists here in Ireland who have huge connections with major musicologists and band specialists in the US and annually we would have at least one, if not a selection, of different adjudicators for the bands.”
“A lot of people don't realize that while the parade is a spectacle and a performance it's also a competition. The bands are competing and can win everything from best band to best costumes to best performance and the US bands are really strong in the competition annually.”
This year the United States will be heavily represented with marching bands from Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Texas winging their way to Dublin to celebrate at the national festival. There are also two homegrown bands from Dublin and one traveling from Germany.
Kirby told IrishCentral “It's a huge honor to us to welcome these incredible bands from all over the world, but certainly there's such an affinity between Ireland and the US that we have these long-standing relationships with some of the major bands, all over, coast to coast, in the States.”
She continued “It's such a special thing for the bands to come here in some cases to fundraise for many years to participate and it's on their bucket-list, if you will, of performance opportunities and we're really proud of that.”
The Dublin parade is a huge draw for marching bands from around the world as it’s a one of a kind experience and Kirby and her team are keenly aware of this. The Festival makes sure every band is featured on the parade broadcast, which will be seen around the world.
What really makes Dublin’s parade special is the intimacy the marching bands experience. Kirby explains that this is something even the veteran band members cherish.
“They're literally shoulder to shoulder with all of the crowds, and they get to soak all that wonderful magic up. They're always greeted with such warmth. We really try and create a really special experience for all the bands.”
The Dublin St. Patrick’s Festival parade has been running for 24 years and Kirby says it’s become the “must-have pin” for bands.
This year Kirby is especially excited about the involvement of the German band Musikverein Offingen.
“It's their first time coming. They come from a small town in Germany,” explained Kirby. “There's 500 of them in the town, 50 of them are coming to the parade to perform in the parade. They've put such group effort to come.”
It’s the human stories that really get to the St. Patrick’s Festival Chief Executive. She said these lovely “golden moments” often happen among the America bands.
Kirby said over the years there have been many instances where “maybe Mum or Dad performed back in the day and now the child is doing it and Mum and Dad are coming to support them and see them. It's really special and emotional.”
Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will kick off at 12pmGMT / 8amEDT on Sunday, March 17. You can watch the parade live on IrishCentral’s Facebook page.
Here’s a rundown of the 11 bands who’ll take part in this year’s parade:
Slippery Rock University "Marching Pride"
Since 1889, the Slippery Rock University Marching Pride has been bringing exciting parade performances and halftime shows to local fans and appearing at national venues and parades, such as the Pontiac Silver Dome and twice at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, in New York City.
Clondalkin Youth Band
One of the largest marching and concert bands in Ireland, they have performed every year in the Dublin Parade since 1989. The band is under the expert guidance and baton of Mr. Vincent Dolan, music teacher and former member of the Army No 1 Band.
The Musikverein Offingen was founded in 1925. Currently, there are about 65 musicians, aged from 15 years old to 65, playing in the band. Offingen is a village with about 500 inhabitants located between Stuttgart and Munich. This is the first time for the band to play in Ireland and for the Band Director, Mr. Philipp Schurr, it is a dream come true!
Palm Springs High, Spirit of The Sands Travel Band
The Spirit of the Sands has produced excellent musical ensembles for many years and today the band boast of a strong assembly with an exciting repertoire. In 2015, they were named a Grammy Foundation Signature School Community Awards Winner, one of only 80 across the United States. The band has performed all over the world, but this is the first time they will perform in Ireland.
The Artane Band has been in existence since 1872 and has played for many heads of state in their long history. They have a unique and long-standing relationship with the GAA and are a well-known feature of All-Ireland Sundays.
Wauwatosa East Red Raider Marching Band
The band is well traveled, having performed recently in the 2017 Washington DC Cherry Blossom Parade as well as the 2015 New Year’s Day Parade in Rome, Italy. In 2013, the band also participated in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The band has performed internationally in Paris, London, and Edinburgh. This is the first time the band has performed in Ireland.
University of Northern Iowa Panther Marching Band
Known for a professional approach to performance, the Panther Marching Band is recognized for its dynamic style, innovative drill, and sensitive musical interpretation. The 300-member strong University of Northern Iowa Panther Marching Band combines “Panther” spirit, musicianship and more than 120 years of tradition to create renowned musical excitement.
Charlotte Catholic High School Band
North Carolina, USA
The Charlotte Catholic High School Band has gained notable recognition for its recent performances. In 2015, the band traveled to Ireland where they competed in the International Marching Band Competition, in Limerick, Ireland and the St. Patrick's Day Festival Parade in Dublin, Ireland. The band was successful in both parades being named the Best Overall Band in Dublin and Best International Band in Limerick.
Eastern New Mexico Greyhound Sound Marching Band
New Mexico, USA
The Greyhound Sound Marching Band, "The Sound of the High Plains", is proud to celebrate its 82nd year of musical excellence!
The band members are both music majors and non-majors. They perform music from the hottest charts, providing spectacular halftime entertainment for the fans that pack Greyhound Stadium.
The University Of Nebraska At Kearny “Pride Of The Plains” Marching Band
The University of Nebraska at Kearny “Pride of the Plains” Marching band has a long history dating from its formation is 1907. Members of the “pride of the Plains” are between the ages of 18 and 22 and comprise a variety of music and non-music majors.
The “Pride of the Plains” has traveled internationally every four years. Recent international tours include the Rome New Year’s Day Parade and Norwegian Constitutions Day Parade.
Spirit Of Saginaw High School Band
The Spirit of Saginaw Band is an award-winning high school marching and concert band. The band was formed in 2005 with the opening of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District’s second high school.
The Spirit of Saginaw Band is overjoyed to be performing for the Irish crowd at the 2019 St. Patrick’s Festival.
Have you visited Dublin for St. Patrick's Day? Do you know anyone who's marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade? Let us know in the comments section below.