Ballymena Young Conquerors' Spring Concert

Rachel McNabb


Rachel McNabb

BALLYMENA Young Conquerors Flute Band will be holding its annual concert on Thursday, May 2 in the Braid Arts Centre Ballymena, commencing at 7.30 pm.

The band is the town’s oldest surviving music group, having been formed in 1886. From humble beginnings as a marching band, it has evolved over the years to become one of the UK’s top flute orchestras.

The band utilises a broad range of different flute sizes, including C piccolo, G trebles, C Concerts, G Altos, C Bass, G contra bass and C Contra bass, plus additional percussion.

Over the years it has participated in many events such as concerts and church services, as well as achieving much success in North of Ireland Bands Association and Flute Band Association contests. It is also no stranger to the media, having appeared on UTV and BBC television, as well as making many broadcasts on BBC Radio Ulster.

Last October the band was delighted to finish in third place in the elite Senior Flute section of the NIBA championships, which means that they will be recording a half hour concert of music for this year’s BBC Radio Ulster “Strike up the Band” series.


Anchoring the concert this year as compere will be Ian McIlrath, and in charge of the music will be the band’s recently appointed conductor Andrew Douglas.

Andrew is following in the footsteps of his uncle Richard Douglas, who led the band to much success in the recent past. Andrew plays the piccolo in Ballygowan Flute Band, is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has appeared regularly with the Ulster Orchestra, including the BBC television programme “Proms in the Park”.

Guest artistes at the concert will be violinist Rebekah Durston and soprano Sarah McIlhagga. Rebekah is the Artistic Director of the Ballymena Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared on BBC television’s “Songs of Praise” and on BBC radio.

She was honoured to be invited to perform at the Freedom of the Borough event for Hollywood actor Liam Neeson in the Braid Arts Centre. Sarah McIlhagga began her singing career at Cambridge House Grammar School under the guidance of music teacher Tracey Brush, and has since appeared with the Seven Towers Male Voice Choir, won several music festival awards and has broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster’s “Your Place and Mine “ programme.

Tickets for the concert are currently available from band members and the Braid Arts Centre box office at a cost of £10 each.

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