In tune with the band
From Harry Foy's Book 'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'
It was to be a big day. Our accordion band had been invited to play at the official opening of a new football pitch in Lurgan - Davitt Park. For weeks we practiced all the popular military marches. Uniform buttons were polished and uniforms themselves brushed. One member even got a new pair of rubber soles for his shoes - the ones that cost sixpence from Woolworths.
The day dawned with the sun shining brightly. A very warm day was forecast. All the band members were resplendent in the navy uniforms with gold and green trimmings and all were in a happy mood. After a few warm up tunes, we lined up outside the band hall. The big drum was struck and St. Patrick's Accordion Band, known as the "Tunnel Band", started to parade along Liberty Walk, the name given to the restricted area they were allowed to parade in.
A large crowd lined the street to see them off on this auspicious occasion but first there was the customary halt at Davidson's Bakery, the band's sponsor. Some of Mr Davidson's family had emigrated to America, so on each parade "The Irish Emigrant" was played outside the Davidson household.
On the bus journey we were accompanied by Constable Charles Diver. Charlie always traveled with the band to ensure that we kept the peace. On arrival in Lurgan, we lined up for the parade. The town was bedecked with bunting and the pavements were crowded with cheering people . To the tune of "Our Director", we stepped out to show the Lurgan people just how good we were. Right up Edward Street, along Church Street and down to the chapel we went, followed by a large crowd. We rested for a while before heading back to the field. A nearby ice cream vendor did a roaring trade with his tuppenny sliders.
On the way, one of the band members, Jim Bennett, noticed that his new soles were missing so on the way back, it was bingo time - all eyes down - to look for Jim's new soles. It had been a very warm day and as we paraded past the Church someone saw Jim's new soles, firmly planted in a stretch of melted tar .... Jim had lost his sole to Lurgan!
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