The William King Memorial Flute Band from the Fountain - an early champion of the recently established Londonderry Bands Forum - has been financially, technically and practically assisting the Caw Flute Band, as part of an ongoing fraternal engagement.
Chris Simpson, a leading member of the Fountain band, recently handed over a cheque to complement an Ulster Scots tuition grant, which was received by Caw Flute Band earlier this year.
Caw Flute Band also gratefully took ownership of a set of Bass Drum heads and received the welcome promise of practical help with fluting and drumming, from members of the Fountain band.
Mr Simpson told the Sentinel that the William King band, in collaboration with the Londonderry Bands Forum, had also helped with flute and drum tuition schedules required by the Ulster Scots criteria for the grant.
He explained that although the William King band’s contribution was small it would be of great assistance to their counterparts in Caw who are now in the same position as that in which members of the Fountain band found themselves 40 years ago.
Derek Moore, Coordinator of the Londonderry Bands Forum, said that the training programmes being developed were designed to help bands with managerial issues.
He also said that the Caw Flute Band was one of the success stories of the Londonderry bands scene and praised Mr David Blair for his drive and commitment to make Caw a shining example in the forum.
During last year’s ‘flag protest’ the band, working with St Columb’s Park House, successfully managed to keep a potentially volatile situation stable.
The project leader of the Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group, Linda Watson, said that she was delighted that they were associated with the Caw Flute Band.
She added that the band regularly used the premises for practice and had been involved in history workshops organised there.
The group also worked in partnership with the band members on the ‘Alternatives to Bonfires’ project last summer, which was a huge success.
In a glowing commendation the well-known community worker told the Sentinel that since the band formed they had really lifted the community spirit within the Caw/Nelson Drive estate and had shown that they were prepared to come out of their comfort zone and help with leadership issues in the area.
Their recent appearances at the Foyle Cup parade, the Playhouse Theatre - where they played as part of ‘Music City Day’ - and a performance during the ‘All Ireland Fleadh’ have enhanced their reputation all over the city.
In the past year Caw Flute Band have marched and played in areas, in which bands that have been about for many years have never played.
The Londonderry Bands Forum recently stated on radio and television that they are encouraging members to use all opportunities to showcase their skill and talent that has been marginalised in the city for so long.