Glenhugh Flute Band has been associated with the Ahoghill area ever since its foundation in September 1915.
The band’s history can be traced to a conversation which occurred in a field belonging to Mr William Kyle in the harvest of that year. Locals had gathered to pull flax and, as they worked, a suggestion was made that they should form a band.
Mr Robert McCartney from Ballyconnelly made a list of names of those interested and the band held its first practice in an old house on Hugh McKay’s Broad Bog. Samuel McCrea was elected band master, William Harkin secretary and William Bamber treasurer.
Each member contributed a penny a week to the kitty and the band’s first instrument was a small drum given to William Bamber by Master Porter from Ballybeg.
In 1919, the band moved to a new house and 2 years later then changed their meeting place to an upstairs room in Mr Andrew Taylor’s new house. It was there that Glenhugh Loyal Orange Lodge was formed.
They finally moved to Glenhugh School House.
The building was renovated and an official opening ceremony took place at Easter 1945.
This former place of learning is now the Orange Hall and in addition to housing the brethren, it is also the meeting place of today’s band.
The first master to take the band out on the road was Sam McCrea and the tunes in those days were written out by Sandy Marks.
A glance through old records brought to light one or two interesting facts and figures.
For example, in those early days the peak cap worn by the leader cost a mere 4s 3d and a head for a bass drum was 2s. A flute cost about 4s and the complete bass drum £5 10s.
Glenhugh Flute Band held their Golden Jubilee in 1965 consisting of 14 flutes, 4 drummers, bass drummer, cymbals, triangle and leader. Hubert Livingstone was band master,
Robert Greer secretary and Samuel McBurney treasurer.
Since then the band has gone from strength to strength, taking part in the Twelfth of July parade every year accompanying Glenhugh LOL 344 with whom the band share a very close relationship. Also, the annual Relief of Derry commemorations with Ahoghill Apprentice Boys of Derry club and the annual Black Preceptory parade with Ballykeel RBP 250.
On a few occasions the band has also taken part in the annual Scottish Twelfth celebrations and also, just recently, led the Ahoghill, Portglenone and Cullybackey LOL Districts at the Covenant Parade in Belfast in September 2012- an engagement viewed with great honour by the band.
Nowadays, in their 100th year, the band consists of colour party, two leaders, six drummers, two bass drummers and 19 flutes.
Rodney McKee is band master, Philip Marshall is Chairman, Sarah-Jane Lamont is secretary and Drew Kyle is treasurer.
The band will be holding their annual parade this year in the village of Ahoghill on July 9 to celebrate 100 years on the road.
They will be accompanied by Glenhugh LOL 344, Ahoghill Apprentice Boys of Derry Club and Ballykeep RBP 250.
The parade will start at 8.30pm sharp and will leave from the Cullybackey road car park. The parade will then follow the route of Ballymena Road, The Diamond, Church Street, Glebe Road, Portglenone Road, The Diamond, Cullybackey Road, Cullybackey Road Link, then finish off in the car park.
Article: S. J. Lamont