St Joseph's accordion band. Pic Denis Byrne
St Joseph's Accordion Band in Portlaoise is celebrating 60 years in existance, by launching a new book filled with photos and memories.
The band, a familiar and beloved sight at Laois parades, matches and Portlaoise religious events, is asking for sponsors to help them keep the cost of their new book within reach of everybody.
Peter Smith is a member for 58 of those years, and Bandmaster for the past 25.
“The cost of the book will be €12, we kept it low so that people can afford it. We are asking all businesses if they would kindly donate a sum towards its publication, from €1 to €100,” he said.
The book is being printed locally, and will be a handsome hardback packed with photographs. Sponsors names will be listed inside it.
“There is almost 61 years of history and chat in it, we got in some fantastic pictures. like one in Henderson's Hotel with us all in our suits. I hope it brings back memories to everyone associated with the band,” Peter said.
Over the years, the band represented Laois abroad at the New York St Patrick's Day parade, as well as places like Luton, Manchester, Nashville and even in Graceland.
The book includes photographs of many members who since passed on, and photos of when they had majorettes marching with them.
St Joseph's Accordion Band is looking to the future.
“We have a facebook page with regular updates. We are recruiting new members, including four good tin whistle players, and flag girls to march carrying our new flags. My son Owen is our new Staffman and we welcome new drummers, accordion players and trad musicians,” Peter said.
The band is holding an Open Day on Sunday May 13 at 2pm in their Band Room, located on the lane behind Bosco's Gala shop on the Mountrath road, Portlaoise.
To find out more, call Peter Smith on 085 7167788.