Band History

Mount Sion was the first ever Christian Brothers School and was established in 1802 in Waterford City, Ireland. The school was established by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice.

Mount Sion Silver Band was founded in 1967 by the then Superior of Mount Sion CBS in Waterford City, Brother Seán Ó Dúgáin, with financial aid from the school Past Pupils Union. The band was fortunate to engage the services of the late Fintan O’Carroll, a noted musician and composer, as it’s first Musical Director and Conductor. Mr. O’Carroll was ably assisted in those early years by Brother Hickey and Brother Murphy.

After Fintan O’Carroll’s sad demise in 1981, he was succeeded by Mr. Liam Walsh, a former member of the Band who was at that time was also teacher in Mount Sion Primary School. Liam remained as Musical Director and Conductor until October 2001 when he left Mount Sion. Liam was very capably assisted by Brother Hilary Devitt who managed the band’s affairs and provided a daily presence in the band room allowing the members to advance musically at an extraordinary rate.

The band did not function for some years after Liam’s departure. Mr. Mark Fitzgerald took up the baton for a short time in 2003 in an effort to revive the band, and he was followed in more recent years by Mr. Niall O’Connor; both Mark and Niall are former members of the band. Alas, in 2009, the band is no longer functioning as a unit, although some pupils continue to learn brass in the school.

For the greater part of it’s existence, the Band consisted solely of current pupils in Mount Sion Primary and Secondary schools. It was usual that the boys would leave the band when they left the school. However, in later years, former members of the band were invited back to play and to assist with teaching the young players and girls from the local Mercy Convert Schools were admitted into the band.

The band has given a very fine musical education to hundreds of boys over the years, many of whom still play a prominent role in the musical life of Waterford and further afield. Feel free to browse our Member Profile pages to see the musical heights that were achieved by some past members.

Over the Band’s 30+ year history, the Musical Directors were always proactive in submitting the band to contests locally, regionally and nationally. Members won National Quartet competitions on at least 5 occasions. They won National titles 6 times and were placed second a further 9 times. A comprehensive list of competition results and prominent band performances can be seen on the Roll of Honour and Performances sections of this website. A list of the more popular musical pieces has also been compiled and makes for reminiscent reading.

The success of Mount Sion Silver Band can be attributed to many factors:

  • The dedication and musical excellence of the Musical Directors, Conductors, and Teachers who guided the band over the years.
  • The support of the Christian Brothers in Mount Sion CBS.
  • The huge effort put in by the band members’ families and friends. This included helping with transport, fund raising door to door in the depths of winter, and the numerous other fund raising ventures, all of which allowed the band members to be provided with the best instruments and uniforms, and allowed them to concentrate an making good music.
  • Last but not least, the playing members of the band. Adjudicators at competitions over the years commented on the unique sound of the band. This can be attributed to the daily commitment to practice and the development of players of equally high ability on a consistent basis.

The history of Mount Sion Silver Band cannot be summarised on a couple of pages. It is hoped that it can be recorded much more comprehensively during 2009 so that future generations will be able to browse it’s pages and learn more about the band.