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Omagh True Blues Flute Band

MY NAME is Roger, Iím 24 years old and I live in Omagh, County Tyrone. My first experience with the Marching Tradition (from what I can remember) was around 1984 when the Annual 12th July Celebrations were held in Omagh.

As my father was an Orangeman we always went to the Twelfth every year. We also attended all the local Annual Parades. Blair Memorial Flute Band, Omagh Protestant Boys, Mountfield Pipe Band and a few other pipe bands (the names of which I canít remember) held parades in Omagh in those days.

In 1990 the Twelfth returned to Omagh for the 300th Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. By this time I really enjoyed watching the bands and as I was heading into first year at the high school I decided that I wanted to join a Flute Band. When the season was almost over I joined up with Blair Memorial FB and was taught how to play the flute.

My first parade with the band took place in Newtownstewart the following year. I really enjoyed it so I decided to stay in the band. I found that the bus parades were the best, as the crack was always good. My first Twelfth with the Blair Memorial was also in 1991. I think (though Iím not quite too sure) that it was in Fintona. This gave me my first real taste of what it was like to be in a band with people watching on the streets. It was great. I stayed with the band until 2001.

For years I had listened to people saying that the Orange Order were just men in bowler hats who just sang the Sash and terrorised Catholics. This I knew was not the case. So therefore in 2001 due to my love of the marching tradition I decided to join Omagh True Blues LOL No. 937. My first Twelfth with the lodge was in Omagh in 2002 and I felt very proud to be a part of such an organisation.

Later that year, I and a few others decided to form another Flute Band in Omagh. This would mean that our lodge would have a band to lead them on the 1st and 12th of July every year. Therefore a band was formed and we decided to call it Omagh True Blues Flute Band. The band is not connected with the lodge in any way - only a few of us from the band are in the lodge.

The Omagh True Blues took part in its first parade in June 2003 in Ballinamallard. Since then, weíve taken part in a further nine parades. The band also has a website www.freewebs.com/otbfb I am the webmaster and Iíve been very pleased with its success.

As you can see the Marching Band Tradition has had a huge impact on my life and I hope that it continues for many years to come. No Surrender


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