An fabulous exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the Irish showbands era of the 1950s, 60s and 70s was officially opened at the Aras Colmcille Heritage Centre yesterday, in the grounds of St. Columba’s Church, Long Tower. The exhibition will remain in place until Saturday, April 27th..
The exhibition is a fascinating insight into this genre of music which packed dance halls throughout the darkest days of N. Ireland’s ‘troubles.’
Eugene Quigley, the man behind the exhibition, said: “This is a fabulous way to not only celebrate the rich of the showband era but also our social history.
“There are many people across the north west who will have fond memories of the showbands and the exhibition will reignite memories of a time that many remember with great fondness,” He said.
“However I would also encourage young people and school groups to come along and learn about the showband phenomenon.”
Between 1957 and 1972 more than 500 showbands were active in Ireland, working up to five nights a week, playing in ballrooms, dance halls and marquees, to crowds, sometimes in excess of 1500.
Local people will recall Gay McIntyre’s Showband, which travelled across Ireland and were highly regarded by dancers and musicians alike as being one of Ireland’s top five dance bands. Johnny Quigley’s All Stars, a big band with thumping brass arrangements, The Clipper Carlton from Strabane, known as the band who put the word ‘Show’ in Showband; the Melody Aces from Newtownstewart), The Dave Glover Showband and The Witnesses.
Visitors to the exhibition at Aras Colmcille Heritage Centre (formerly the Wee Nuns School, in the grounds of the Long Tower Church), are asked to make a donation towards the Aras Colmcille Centre which is managed by a group of volunteers who believe in preserving this great historic building.