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.

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.

Today, the band has 35 playing members, and currently practices at their band hall at Mount Brown.

old black and photo of the band

A remembrance tale

A documentary looking at Ireland’s oldest band – The Saint James Brass and Reed Band – founded in 1800 with records dating back to the early 1700s.

They have seen it all in terms of Irish History: The 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War, the foundation of the state to name a few. This bands illustrious history is one that deserves great recognition as it approaches it’s 276th birthday.

Written & Presented by Warren Farrell (past St James’s band member). Produced & Filmed by Garry McGovern

Our conductor

Kevin Corcoran is an acclaimed ensemble and solo percussionist with experience in classical, band and stage performances. In recent years he has begun the transition to conducting.

Now, in his role as conductor, in front of ensembles he brings with him a wealth of musical knowledge. A collaborative and creative person, Kevin enjoys leading the music making process in an enjoyable yet challenging way.

Kevin began his musical journey as a child studying percussion under the guidance of the late Monica Bonnie in TU Dublin, formally DIT. After school, he undertook a Bachelors of Music in UCD, where he attained orchestral scholarships. Kevin completed a Masters in Percussion Performance in Cork School of Music in 2015, followed by a Masters in Conducting in TU Dublin in 2020, under the tutelage of David Brophy.

In 2012 Kevin was appointed as a percussionist in the Defence Forces School of Music where he currently holds the rank of Corporal in the Army No. 1 Band. As a freelance percussionist Kevin frequently performs with ensembles such as RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, Irish National Opera, Dublin Concert Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra.
Alongside his performance career, Kevin enjoys currently working as a music educator with the Dublin Youth Orchestra, Rathfarnham Concert Band and Gonzaga College Orchestra.

To date, throughout his studies and as a professional conductor, Kevin has had the opportunity to conduct numerous ensembles including the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Army No. 1 Band, Lourdes Brass Band, Gonzaga College Orchestra, Dublin Youth Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and the TU Dublin Senior Wind Ensemble.

Since taking on the role of Conductor with St. James’ Brass and Reed Band, Kevin has had the pleasure of leading the band in many performances, with highlights including Áras an Uachtaráin and Farmleigh House.