Belfast Telegraph

The ‘Rock’ band tunes up for 50th celebrations

Whiterock flute band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2012 and are calling on all their old band members to walk with them next year.



The band was founded in 1961 but did not begin parading until April 1962.

The band members were living in Belfast close to an interface, and say it was “a living nightmare” for ordinary families, but despite this many bands managed to keep playing.

The Whiterock’s first side drums and bass drum had been donated by Springfield Flute Band which was associated with the Methodist Church on the Springfield Road.

The majority of the band’s members came from the predominantly protestant upper Springfield Road, New Barnsley, Moyard Park, Highfield and surrounding areas of west Belfast.

Band members said that due to the unrest in the city during the early 1970s many members had to flee their homes.

Following the traditional Whiterock parade which is held every year on the last Saturday in June, one of founder members, the late Joe Proctor, returned to find that his cottage had been destroyed in a fire set by republicans who invaded the Springfield Park on the upper Springfield Road. The Proctor family later found a new residence in the Glencairn area of west Belfast.

The band would later lose two members who were murdered by the IRA.

They say they would like to honour these men and other past members who are no longer alive.

The band secretary Rab Hillis said: “The culture of the marching band scene is not purely about music but also aims to promote our image and to educate the younger generation, teaching them discipline, dedication and respect.

“We practise every week for 48 weeks of the year, taking a well deserved four week break for Christmas.

“We also enjoy the social elements of friendship and camaraderie and promote the need to work with our neighbours on a cross-community basis.

“The band is actively involved in fundraising and aims to support local charities each year.

“This year a donation of £400 was made to Arability from Agnes Street.

“Looking back over the past 49 years and towards the future we hope that people have enjoyed the Whiterock Band either playing, watching, listening to the music or just admiring the uniforms.

“The Whiterock flute band also known as ‘The Rock’ wish to invite all past members to join us at a special reunion event to celebrate our 50 years, to be held on Saturday June 23, 2012, this will hopefully take us all back in time and allow us to recall those treasured memories.”

All interested past members should contact Billy Daly on 07517472283 or Thomas McAllister on 07598515676.

The band has appealed for anyone with old photos or footage of the band to forward them to r.hillis@live.co.uk.

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