Archived Histories of Brass Bands 
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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

C.W.A. Brass

Carrick Amateurs was formed in the 1890's as a first section flute band and were one of the bands that formed the N.I.B.A. in 1906. The original band hall was built by the then bandsmen on a plot of ground donated by Mr Chas Legge, the president of the band. The bands' first conductor was an ex-army musician, Mr Burgess, followed in 1903 by Mr John Murdie. It was under his leadership the band became a part music flute band, winning first prizes in the Windsor Park March Competition (Junior section) and N.I.B.A. Championships on many occasions.

The band progressed well until 1967 when, due to dwindling membership, it was decided at the A.G.M. to try to recruit new members by forming a military band. This formation lasted for only four years after which it was decide to convert to Brass. In 1977 Carrick Amateurs gained first prize in the third grade section of the Irish Championships.

Unfortunately, in 1985, again due to dwindling memberships of both Carrick Amateurs and Whitehouse Silver they decided to amalgamate to form C.W.S. (Carrick Whitehouse Silver). As C.W.S., the band won various entertainment contests and twice won the Grade 2 Irish Championship Section - in 1986 and 1993.

Whitehouse Silver - was formed in the early 1900's with a nucleus from the 31st BB Bugle Band St. John's Whitehouse. Mr Ernie Curlett, a founder member of Whitehouse, was dispatched to Belfast to purchase bagpipes as the bugle band had wanted to change to a pipe band. Mr Curlett, on passing a pawn shop in Belfast, spotted a cornet at a very reasonable price, so he brought that home instead and thus Whitehouse Silver came into being. It is interesting because Mr Curlett purchased the rest of the instruments needed for the band from a Regiment base in Carrickfergus who were selling off their old instruments just as Whitehouse was being formed.

The remains of Whitehouse Band now reside in Carrickfergus, helping to make up C.W.A. Brass.

Agnes Street Band - or "The Aggies" as they were locally known began as a flute band in 1921. Initially they were called McMaster Memorial (the band having been formed in honour of Matthew McMaster who died saving the life of a young girl who ran in front of an army vehicle on the Cliftonville Road). A few years later the name was changed to the Agnes Street Temperance Flute Band and in 1924 Ernest Ruddock (a name that became synonymous with the Agnes Street Band) was appointed conductor. By 1935 the band had won every section in local contests (including senior) but needed a new set of instruments. Bearing in mind the cost of a set of flutes was very expensive, it was decided to change to brass as they were much more reasonably priced and the Agnes Street Temperance Silver Band was formed. (The term "The Aggies" was coined during a soccer match when a team from the band was under some pressure and an enthusiastic supporter shouted, "Come on the Aggies"). In 1945 the band won the Senior Brass Championship of Ireland (at their first attempt) and this was the start of many wins in the years ahead. Agnes Street Band went on to become one of the most successful brass bands in Northern Ireland winning the Irish Championships a total of 18 times along with successes in many other local contests - including March Contests and the Brass Band League. They also competed in contests in England and Scotland - winning the senior cup at Belle Vue, Manchester in 1955, invited to compete in the 1959 British Open and represented Northern Ireland at the European championships in 1986 and 1987.

One player of note within the Agnes Street ranks was the Euphonium player Bobby McDowell who, apart from winning the Irish Senior Solo Championships some 15 times, also won the British Open Solo Championship in 1974 and 1975 (placed 2nd in 1976 and 3rd in 1973).

Sadly, in 1994 Agnes Street Band folded and amalgamated with C.W.S. resulting in the band changing its name to C.W.A. Brass.