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First Old Boys Association Silver Band
The First Old Boys Association Silver Band was formed in Belfast in 1946. As its name suggests, the band was created from amongst the former members of the 1st Old Boys Brigade Company. The 1st had been the first Company in Ireland, dating from 1886, and was formed at St Mary Magdalene Church (Col), Donegall Pass Belfast. A few ex-members of the company are still associated with the band as players/vice- presidents. The band on its creation assumed instruments and music from a previous band, known as the IOR (Independent Order of Raccobites) Band.
During its existence the band has regularly competed in contests both at home and in England. The band have won the senior brass section on seven occasions. Other notable successes include a second place in the UK Grand Shield competition (Manchester Belle Vue, 1965), and numerous NI Brass Band League, entertainment contest and solo and quartet victories.
The band draws its members from all sections of the community in Northern Ireland. Many members live and work in Belfast, while some make a round trip of over 100 miles to attend rehearsals two nights a week. Everyone gives of their time freely, as the band is a 'subscription' band, i.e. members pay weekly dues.
Other expenses are raised through concerts and miscellaneous fund-raising activities.
In recent years, the band has enjoyed working with a number of visiting professional conductors including Richard Evans, Geoffrey Brand, Graham O'Connor and John Berryman, who led the band to victory in the 2002 NIBA Championships. Stephen Cairns is the bands new professional conductor who led the band to victory in the 2003 NIBA Championships.