Sam takes a trip back to Show Band days

Shauna Loughran


Shauna Loughran

LOCAL man Sam Coulter recently called into the Guardian office with a real treasure trove of pictures from his Show Band days.

The 93 year old, a renowned Saxophone player, brought old memories back to life as photos dating back to the 1940s show some of the well known players from this musical era.

Sam Coulter was born just outside Ballymena in the townland of Kilknock. He was a Flight Sergeant with the ATC and is seen in some of the pictures at Ballymena Technical College where they built a glider.

A keen musician, Sam started out playing the violin. He also played the Clarinet, Piano, Accordion and of course the Saxophone.

He was taught the violin by Frank Woodcock of the Cullybackey Road.

Samuel also recalls the Mason family of Audley House which sits at the corner of Springwell Street and Ballymoney Road.

He credits them with being a very musical family with Eileen and Hazel being talented pianists.

Ronald Mason went on to become the Director and Drama Producer at the BBC.

Sam spoke of how he played with Bobby Millar at Springwell Street, whose nephews went on to form The Irish Rovers.

Sam played with a whole range of bands - The Dave Smyth Band, Maurice McCullough Band, The Swing Knights, The Walter Lewis Showband as well as his own bands.

He estimates he played with around 40 bands in total.

In 1977 he moved to Canada and began playing in the Johnny Maloney Orchestra.

He lived in Ottawa for one year before moving on to Montreal.

It was in Montreal he began performing in the famous Ma Heller's Club for three months, on Sherbrooke Street, one of the longest streets in Montreal.

In 1981 Sam returned home and set up an Antiques Business at Kildrum.

His photographs capture some of the camaraderie, glamour and fun of the Show Band era and we are grateful he decided to share them with us.

We will be featuring some of these pictures in our Blast from the Past section over the coming weeks.

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