St. James’s Brass and Reed Band, Mount Brown, Dublin 8, is by far Ireland’s oldest band. It was established in 1800 but early records trace back as far as 1737.
St. James's Band has participated in numerous events of historic importance, which included playing at the meetings of Daniel O'Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell. The band was invited to play at Parnell's home in Avondale and later led his funeral to Glasnevin Cemetery.
During The Civil War tragedy the band played at the funerals of leaders from both sides of the conflict, the most publicised one probably being that of Michael Collins on August 1922, the band can be seen on the film of the funeral.
Since its foundation St. James's has won many musical awards, and many of its members have gone on to professional careers.
Its illustrious history includes playing at a candlelight procession to welcome home the Fenian prisoners in 1877 and the 1898 parade of Wolfe Tone. The band also played for Douglas Hyde as he departed on his American tour in 1906 and at the funeral of O’Donovan Rossa in 1915. St. James’s Band played at the funeral of Thomas Ashe in 1917 during which the first public performance of the ‘Soldiers Song’ by any band was heard.
In recent years, they have played in the National Concert Hall and have also recorded for R.T.E. radio.
In 2005, the band moved into their brand new bandhall at Mount Brown, where they play a wide variety of music, which ranges from overtures, selections, marches and some of the most current popular tunes.
Today, the band has 35 playing members, its oldest and longest-serving member, John Gannon (Snr), has 75 continuous years under his belt to date.
Musical Director - Tom Tyrrell
Tom joined St. James's Band as deputy conductor in 1996 and was appointed Musical Director/conductor in 1999.
Previously Tom conducted, for short periods, Mayfield Brass Band, St Mary's Band, Maynooth and Dublin Concert Band.
Tom served in the Irish Army school of Music for 40 years as Principal Clarinetist, mainly in the Band of the Defence Forces Training Centre and finished his career in the Defence Forces as Lead Saxophonist in 2002.
The band is run by a committee elected by the members at the A.G.M. and derives its income from membership fees and the proceeds from engagements.
In 2014, the Committee consists of 10 Members.
The Officers of this Committee are:
- Chairperson: Dermott Phelan
- Vice Chairperson: John Doyle
- Secretary: John Farrell
- Assistant Secretary: Katherine Morey
- Treasurer: John Daly