Artane Band History
The Artane Boys Band was founded in 1872 by Brother Alphonsus Hoope, Superior of the Artane Industrial School, which had been established three years earlier. They gave their first public performance on the grounds of the school for the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) two years later.
In 1886 the band accepted an invitation to play at the Whit Monday games of the fledgling Gaelic Athletic Association on June 14th at the North Circular Road grounds, and began an association which endures to the present day.
Two major episodes happened in 1969. On February 15th the band hall was burned to the ground destroying all of the uniforms, instruments and music. The band appeared on Irish television the following week, and offers of help flooded in from Ireland and abroad, allowing the band to continue.
In June that year the industrial school closed, and membership of the band was opened up to boys who lived locally, ensuring a seamless transition from school band to community band.
The band has toured the USA on seven occasions, as well as trips to Toronto, Canada, Moscow, and has also travelled extensively around both Ireland, and the UK. They have played for every President and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, as well as Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton of the USA. The Band are no strangers to royalty either, having played for Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V and most recently, on the occasion of the state visit to Ireland by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh to Croke Park.
Queen Elizabeth listens to the Artane Band at Croke Park in Dublin
They have also shared a stage with performers such as Perry Como, Neil Diamond, U2, and James Last, as well as the Boston Pops Orchestra. More recently, the Artane Band was asked to open the Oxegen Festival with up and coming rock band, “The Brilliant Things”.
It is perhaps through their performances in Croke Park, the Home of Gaelic Games, that the band is best known, although this makes up less than half their public performances throughout the year. Their scarlet and blue uniforms are considered to be an integral part of big match days and with the arrival of Soccer and Rugby international match days to Croke Park, the reputation of the Band has led to them being invited to join both the Army and Garda (Police) Bands as part of the formalities at these occasions.
In 1998 the Artane Boys Band expanded to become the Artane School of Music, and increased the range of musical opportunities available to both boys and girls. 2002 saw the first intake of girls into the band itself, and just two years later, on Sunday October 17th saw the first ever performance of the renamed Artane Band, including 19 girls at the International Rules Match in Croke Park
The final words about this Band, a part of Ireland’s history and heritage, can be left to Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the world famous Boston Pops Orchestra, who on conducting the band, during a tour of Boston in 1974, remarked “you cannot judge these children as children; you must judge them as musicians, and fine musicians they are”.