Bands Forum to meet in Bannville

THE South Down Bands Forum will meet on June 14 for their AGM in the Bannville House Hotel at 8pm.

A steering group of bandsmen and bandswomen was formed after a preliminary meeting in February 2010 to establish a Bands Forum that is representative of Protestant marching bands in the South Down area incorporating Newry and Mourne, Banbridge and Down Districts.

After a successful launch in March 2011, and having over 20 marching bands as members, the objectives of the Forum include: To forge a sense of unity between Forum members and provide a unified approach and response to issues relating to band culture; To promote through music, the history, culture and marching heritage of bands and organise events such as concerts, parades, discussions and talks that further the objectives of the Forum members;

To play a positive role in fostering community spirit at a local level and to act on behalf of and advise members on issues relating to marching bands.

The forum addresses the needs of smaller as well as larger bands in the area regardless of the number of parades they partake in.

This may entail lobbying statutory agencies on their behalf (Police Service NI, Strategic Review of Parades, Parades Commission), depoliticising marching bands (especially with the local Councils), developing diverse training programmes for band members and promoting inter band co-operation. The main focus of the South Down Bands Forum is to concentrate on members’ needs whilst also recruiting new band members.

Everyone is welcome to the meeting on June 14, especially band members of the forum and potential new members. For catering and confirmation purposes or for further information contact Gareth Crozier (Chairman) on 07725950152 or email southdownbandsforum@hotmail.co.uk. Alternatively please speak to a committee member of the South Down Bands Forum.

The group wishes to express their thanks to the PEACE III Engaging in Good Relations Team for their support.