MEMBERS of the St Patrick’s Youth Pipe Band from West Cork have just returned from a fourteen-day trip to Russia.
They were invited guests of the Spasskaya Tower Military Tattoo where they played in front of audiences of up to 8,000 people each night, including President Vladimir Putin.
The show was filmed for live television and also streamed online.
The prestigious festival consisted of many other class acts from around the world including guests from China, Pakistan, Belgium, Belarus, Italy, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Greece, Japan, and different parts of Russia.
Clonakilty’s youth band, comprising civilians, differed from the majority of other acts which included military. The band members were featured on many TV interviews and in newspaper articles.
Drum major Ava Lane, (9), daughter of pipe major Joy Lane, captivated both spectators and fellow performers, being the youngest member to ever perform at the Tattoo. Ava marched into the famous Red Square each night, leading the Irish delegation with pride.
The chief military conductor and head of the military band service of the Russian armed forces, Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, bought Ava to centre stage each night after the finale performance, where he gave her a big hug and presented her to the crowd as all the performers were marching out of the arena.
The Irish delegation performed a selection of Irish marches and Russian pieces in the beautiful backdrop of the Spasskaya Tower and the colourful St Basil’s Cathedral. At the end of the group’s selection, a school of highland dancers based in Moscow performed to a selection of reels before the massed band ‘la cheile sa cheol’ marched off to a lively march and to a rapturous applause.
For the finale, all musicians, bands, singers, dancers, army marching drill groups and stilt walkers came together to perform a medley of Russian traditional and contemporary pieces conducted by the general. A fireworks display took place over St Basil’s before all performers marched out of the grounds.
Apart from the nne shows, the band took part in Moscow Day festivities, which included a parade of the city. The members also performed at others concerts and parades during the week and the West Cork pipers and drummers took centre stage in the People’s Palace outside the Kremlin.
Ava, a trained Irish dancer with the Kiely Walsh School of Irish Dancing, performed light jigs, horn pipes and reels.