Band jpg

Marching from Mid-Tyrone to Midtown

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The Páistí Ná Fingréine Loughmacrory Accordion Band

The Páistí Ná Fingréine Loughmacrory Accordion Band

The Páistí Ná Fingréine Loughmacrory Accordion Band [/caption]

By Evan Short

A County Tyrone-based accordion band that is playing a leading role in revitalizing a rural part of the county is to march in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade next year.

The Páistí Ná Fingréine Accordion Band (aka the Loughmacrory Band) traces its lineage to the early 1970s but had largely ceased to exist until 2009 when the McElduff family decided to reconstitute it in order to give local young people something to do in an area of Ireland that has suffered heavily from the economic downturn.

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Fast forward six years and not only has the band led the Tyrone Senior GAA Football Team out for a crucial match, but they are now to play their part in the greatest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world as a guest of the Tyrone Association of New York.

Marion McElduff will be among the 120-strong group making the journey and she says it is extra special for her as she was one of the few who were there in the early days almost fifty years ago.

“I remember the early years of the band and always loved being a part of it. Years ago we would have travelled all over and there would have been events on almost every other week. Obviously times have changed and in 1987 there was a short revival, but really in the past year things have almost felt back to what they were in the early days,” she said.

Marion’s husband, Aloysius, said there was huge excitement at the upcoming trip.
“We are all buzzing about it with myself, Marion and my daughter Eimear all going to New York,” he said.

We were in New York a number of years back but to be playing in the Loughmacrory Band on St. Patrick’s Day in New York is something you could only have dreamed of. The past year has been great and the official opening in Loughmacrory was very memorable for the band and indeed all the community.

“We will no doubt have to meet plenty and really put in the practice now. It will be busy but I think everybody within the band is just that excited about what is coming up in 2016.”
One of those who will also be travelling to New York with the band is local Sinn Féin politician and chair of Loughmacrory Community Association, Declan McAleer.

He said it was another leap forward for the band that help cement its future.

"This is a massive step for the band and, in an era where the community is a hive of activity in a vast range of sports and other activities, the fact that a small mid-Tyrone village will be represented at New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is another massive headline in a short space of time.

"At the minute, there is 120 of us departing for New York on 15th March for five days.

“We are very thankful to Owen Rodgers and the members of the Tyrone Association in New York for hosting the band and helping with the logistics of the trip.

“We are all really looking forward to joining with the association for the parade on 5th Avenue. It will be a memorable day in the life of our community.”