The combined Irish Army Bands prepare to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the foundation of the Army School of Music.
The first public performance given by an Irish Army Band took place in Saint Stephen's Green in May 1923. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Army School of Music, over 200 musicians from five Army bands will parade through Dublin.
Commandant O’Sullivan says the Army School of Music is nearly as old as the State and was the brainchild of General Richard Mulcahy. Following recommendations from Dr John F Larchet, it was decided it should be based on German rather than British army musical traditions. Colonel Fritz Brase was brought over from Germany as the first director of the newly established Army School of Music and he remained in charge until after the war.
Fifty years on the structure of the school and the bands is the same, with four Command Bands and the school of music itself. The Army School of Music trains the bandsmen who are boys aged between 14 and 18. After three years they join the band.
The last time Army Bands from all over Ireland paraded together was in the great military tattoo of 1945. It has not happened since then, although the bands march every year in the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Spring Show and Horse Show.
The Golden Jubilee parade will go from Saint Stephen's Green, down through Grafton Street, College Green, Westmorland Street and O’Connell Street to the Parnell Monument. It will turn and continue along the other side of O’Connell Street to Burgh Quay.
In addition to the parade, Commandant O’Sullivan says a gala Army night will be held in the RDS in aid of the benevolent fund.
It will be a very big army night which will have small echoes of the tattoo, you know, the 1945 tattoo.
The acclaimed Italian tenor Guiseppe Giacomini will be signing with the Band on this night which will include a supper and a display of photographs showing the history of the Army Bands.
This episode of ‘Tangents’ was broadcast on 12 October 1973. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.