Ballylone Concert Flute Band

A townland of Ballynahinch, Co. Down, is the birthplace of Ballylone. Its formation was in 1907 when a John Douglas acquired simple, single key instruments.

The first secretary of the band was William Harrison who remained in that position for 62 years until his retirement in 1969. His successor was Joe Morrow.

The first bandmaster, Joseph Stewart, lived in Killyleagh and his dedication helped to establish the band.

The outbreak of war in 1914 meant that the band was temporarily disbanded but as soon as war ended Ballylone returned to playing part music. During this time they had the services of David Boyd, Alex Belshaw and Joe Stewart as their conductors.

Ballylone first competed in the N.I.B.A. championship contest in 1946, success coming the following year with first place in the Junior Second Grade section. Robert Kane took over the baton in 1951 and Ballylone again achieved success.

In 1962, Ballylone were to welcome ont only a new conductor but the man who was to be the catalyst to the true potential of the band. His man was George Hawthorn, a name synonymous with flute bands. The “Wee-Man” led the band to a number of first places. In 1965, the band competed in the Intermediate Section of the N.I.B.A. Championship for the first time. The retirement of the “Wee-Man”, due to ill-health and the arrival of Derrick Lown in 1977 heralded a welcome revitalisation of the band.

A change of flutes to concert pitch and Derrick’s enthusiasm saw Ballylone achieve numerous successes in the Intermediate Section and in 1984 Ballylone competed in the Senior Section for the first time. Their first World Championship success was in 2002, the following year their present Conductor was appointed, his name is Philip Walton (a deputy conductor of the Ulster Orchestra), the bands arranger is now Alan Trimble.

Since appointing their new conductor, Ballylone Concert Flute Band has been successful in the N.I.B.A. World Championships winning the top prize in 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016 & 2019.

Ballylone still maintains its position as a marching band and takes part in Park performances, Church services and Concerts.

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