A moments relaxation between hymns as the band performs at the platform on 12 July 2010 in Ballygowan

Ulster Hall Belfast World Championship 2003

February 2000

1990 Photos from the Lord Mayor's Parade, Belfast

12th July 1985 in Comber (Centre - Bob McMurray, left - John Dawson, right - the late Harry Carse)

Strictly a family matter - Bob McMurray with his daughter Barbara and son Robert

The late Harry Carse and Marty McMinn (both awarded a 50 year medal in 1982)

NIBA Contest 1989. Conductor Brian Houston guides Ballygowan to their second successive second place. Brian conducted his first rehearsal in Ballygowan on 01.09.83, and the band's first engagement under his baton was a Bandsman's Service on 25.09.83. It is no secret that the band was in the lower rungs of the Flute Band League's senior section when Brian arrived. When he moved on, the band was in the top three - including wins in Scottish Own Choice (1989) and in the Flute Band League Own Choice Championship (1990).

Late 1980s

Above (from left):
Seated: J. McKnight, J. Houston, S. Denvir, J. Burke, K. McDonald, C. Strain, B. Houston (Conductor), A. Spratt, L. Dawson, B. McMurray, M. Houston, I. McBride
2nd row: L. Gourley, A. Davidson, G. Gourley, R. Gourley, J. Gourley, R. McMurray, J. Gourley, R. Gibson, J. Dawson, H. Carse, J. Gourley
Back row: N. Denvir, J. Presho, J. Douglas, M. Douglas, R. McMurray, D. Gourley, B. Kerr, R. Mannis, D. Denvir, A. Robinson

From left

Seated: L. Gourley, A. Denvir, B. McMurray, J. Gourley, K. McDonald, P. Nellin, S. Denvir, M. Houston

Standing: G. Gourley, R. Gourley, J. Presho, R. Gibson, J. Dawson, J. Douglas, R. McMurray, H. Carse, R. Mannis, B. Houston, N. Denvir, J. Gourley, R. McMurray, G. Gourley, A. Davidson, J. Gourley, M. Douglas, A. Robinson, D. Denvir

12th July 1987 in Castlewellan

The Young Musician of the Year trophy was presented to the band in 1987 by Derek Denvir, and John Dawson added the roll of honour certificate. We don't know where these are!!

Isle of Man 1984

Isle of Man 1984 Star of Burma of Parade

April 1984 leading the Youth Organisations to their annual church service

The Bandroom's first central heating system was switched on for the first time on 02.02.84

Musical Director Windsor Hylands’ retirement party photos - see Band News page (thankfully we are still enjoying his services from time to time)

Centenary year 1976

Late 1980s

From left:

Back row:

D. McCracken, D. Coyle, D. Canmore, S. Carse, J. Gourley, R. McMurray, A. Anderson, G. Stitt, D. Mays, M. Douglas, R. Douglas

Middle row:

B. Kerr, N. Dickson, K. McKnight, S. Adair, D. Knott, J. Gourley, L. Gourley, S. Denvir, K. McGregor, A. Spratt, C. Kerr, J. Herron


J. Gourley, F. Browne, T. Gourley, D. Gourley, W. Hylands (Musical Director), J. Douglas, J. Dawson, S. Gibson, A. Robinson, A. Douglas

In April 2006 the Ballygowan Flute Band was invited to play at Rotary International’s UK-wide Conference in the Odyssey Arena , Belfast. This was the first and only time that Northern Ireland had hosted the event, and the purpose of our invitation was to give the delegates a flavour of Northern Ireland’s cultural talent. The band “played in” the Colour Party and then gave a 20-minute concert - which went down very well indeed with the Rotarians and their guests.

SarahLaura.jpg WindsorIsobel01.jpg DougieSadie.jpg Jane.jpg Sharon+.jpg BrianLeanne.jpg BobJohn.jpg JimSylvia.jpg JohnJenny.jpg SadieRose.jpg StevieTom.jpg James+.jpg

Tuning up before playing at the 2011 World Flute Band Championship

Playing in Ormeau Park, Belfast. James Gourly is conducting - you can listen to John Phillip Sousa’s March Stars and Stripes Forever featuring Andrew Douglas on the piccolo at

The Dinner Party at the 2011 NIBA Presentation of prizes.

A proud Robert Mannis lifts the Band’s first World Flute Championship Trophy at the N.I.B.A. Presentation Dinner in 1990.

At the 2012 Flute band Association Annual Dinner, recently elected Chairman Stephen Carse lifts the winner’s trophy and framed certificate. Below is Conductor Windsor with his wife Isobel. Windsor is holding the trophy for Best Interpretation which he gets to hold on to for a second successive year. Below that is Audrey Spratt, Tori Gibson and Libby Douglas with the evening’s trophy haul, and Stephen is pictured with Mark Douglas who arranged the test piece Cappriccio Espagnol.

1991 Music From The Masters Band Contest, Portrush. The contest ran for twenty years, and on the last occasion, the organisers were kind enough to tell us that Ballygowan was the only Band to enter every single year. They added that we were the most successful band during those years and the most innovative - indeed Jean Douglas received a special award for her input into Ballygowan’s antics during those years!

Stephen collects the 2012 World Championship Best Band Trophy

Tori and Dougie with the Best of the Day Trophy (NIBA 2012)

Andrew receives the Interpretation Trophy on behalf of Colin Fleming (2012 World Championship)

Some photos from Crawfordsburn Masonic Dinner (January 12 2012). Representing the Band were John Dawson, Andrew Douglas, Robert McMurray, Stephen Gibson, David Mays, Dougie Gourley, Brian Kerr, Victoria Gibson, Mark Douglas, James Gourley.

The 12th of July 2013 will go down as one of the hottest on record, so Ballygowan took the decision to leave the heavy serge jackets behind - that’s not all that was left behind - one of our number lost the sole of his shoe in the melted tar!! Click here for better view

World Championship, Market Theatre, Armagh, 12th October 2013. It was a case of three successive wins with three different conductors - that’s not been done before! It’s not that we strive to turn over conductors, but then again we did win the Portrush Masters Contest four years in a row with four different conductors!

At rehearsal, prime mover  of the Saintfield Harvest Festival Edward Craig takes up his first opportunity to conduct a flute band

A large Ballygowan contingent attended the NIBA Annual Dinner & Presentation of Prizes on 14 November 2013. It was held in Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena, and a great night it was. We shared transport with our Ballylone friends and neighbours, and the craic on the bus added to the fun..
In order from the top, John Dawson collected the Winner’s Trophy, certificate and medals, Steven Cairns lifted the Interpretation Prize, Piccolo Prize winner Andrew Douglas was playing in a concert elsewhere, so his Dad Mark collected the trophy on his behalf. Steven Carse collected the Percussion Prize and Laura McBride went up for the Best of the Day performance. Altogether, a great day at the office on  October 12. Margaret Campbell, President of the Association presented the trophies.

From left: Lord & Lady Dixon Park (Belfast 2007),  Trophies from Scotland 2009, 12th July 2008 (Ballygowan), 

13th 2006 July in Scarva

Above: Photos (from top left - click any photo for a closer look):
Laura McBride & Sarah Bass, Windsor & Isobel Hylands, Sadie Strain (President) & Dougie Gourley (Chairman), Jane & Joanne Gourley, Sharon Gourley & Heather McCracken, Leeanne & Brian Kerr, John Presho & Bob McMurray, Sylvia Presho & Jim Gourley, John & Jenny Dawson and Jean Browne, Sadie McMurray, Margaret and Rosaline Gourley, Stephen Gourley & Tom Gourley, Rod Kerr & James Gourley.
Ballygowan F.B. invited to play for Royalty at a Garden party in Hillsborough Castle. Representing the Royal Family that day were H.R.H. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Conductor Dr. Windsor Hylands and James Gourley are the ones in conversation with Charles.

On 17 April 2014, the Band was invited to a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour to celebrate our success in retaining the World Championship for a third successive year.
Seated:  John Douglas, Mayor, Councillor Stephen McIlveen, Stephen Carse (Band

Standing: Richard Douglas, Andrew Douglas, Sarah Bass, Matthew Gourley, James Douglas,
  David Mays, Alderman Robert Gibson, Geoffrey Gourley, John Dawson,    Victorias Gibson, Mark Douglas, Stephen Gibson, Audrey Denvir, Brian Kerr

Trophies: City of Dublin International Festival Trophy, World Flute Band Championship   Winners/Piccolo prize/Percussion prize

Energy Institute Friday 21 March 2014 Annual Dinner (Titanic Quarters, Belfast)

Energy Institute 2014 Annual Dinner (Titanic Quarters, Belfast)

The Big Flute Challenge took place on 13 September 2014 in The Kings Hall Belfast, and, although the Guiness Record was not broken, it was a truly wonderful event - visit the website for a fuller report -

2014 NIBA Championship (before & after the winning performance)

Click for 4 more photos

Photos from 2014 NIBA Annual Dinner & Presentation of Awards (resp. Best Band, Best Interpretation, Best Percussion, Best Piccolo, Best Solo Alto)

Bringing Christmas cheer to Victoria Square, Belfast

Photos from the 2015 Big Flute Challenge at The Whitla Hall, Queens University Belfast. This was the second year of the event which raises money for Marie Curie and the Children's Hospice charities. Special guests this year were Sir James and Lady Galway. A great day was enjoyed by everyone with good music and craic.
From top left: Stephen Cairns, Susan Denvir, Stephen Carse, Laura McBride, Drew Vincent, Audrey Spratt; Stephen Carse, Mark Douglas, Stephen Cairns; Sir Jame Galway; Mark Douglas, Darren Canmore, Brian Kerr, Steephen Carse - more photos here

John Dawson collects the 2015 second place certificate from the President of the Northern Ireland Bands Association, Margaret Campbell at the annual presentation of prizes.

Richard Douglas receives the Trevor James Concert flute after the 2016 Flute Band Association’s Own Choice Contest. The flute was presented to the winning band in the Championship section by John Seabrook of Trevor James

Rebecca Thompson receives the winning trophy, certificate and cheque for the 2017 Flute Band Association Own Choice Contest from FBA President Dougie Gourley.

Here’s a blast from the past.The late Billy Davidson buttoning up his tunic!

12th July 2016

Chairman Stephen is now skilled to play flute or percussion!

Photograph taken in Ballygowan (probably early 1970s)

Drum Major: D. Gourley, Bass Drum: H. Moore
Side drums: (from left) J. Presho, R. Gibson, B. Mannis, K. Rodney 
Flutes from left and front
R. Carse, D. Denvir, R. Gourley, J. Strain : : J. Canmore, W. Ross, S. Evans, G. Douglas : : D. Carse, H. Carse, T. Ellison, B. Davidson : : R. Douglas, N. Denvir,  J. Douglas, D. Douglas : : M. McMinn, B. Strain, J. Gourley, J. Watson

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Eric McMillan, formerly of Ravenhill and originally of CLB has joined our ranks. His first public appearance with us was the Scottish Amateur Band Association’s Spring Contest in Troon, May 2017. Welcome Eric - we trust you will have a long and happy time with us.

12th of July 2017 in Ballynahinch - what a great day it was. Photo: courtesy of Newtownards Chronicle.

1947 Belfast Parks schedule - It’s doubtful if any current players were there!

Tori & Laura with the 2017 Best Performance plaque in the inaugural Entertainment Competition

Laura, Andrew, Tori, Uncle & James enjoying the success