MEMBERS of Dunloy Accordion Band and their near neighbours at Eglish will have been saddened to learn of the recent passing of their former conductor, Mr. Tommy Woodcock.
A musician well-known throughout the Mid-Antrim area, the Ballymena man was closely associated with his Church, his music and his hobby of fishing. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Wednesday 22nd August.
After his family, Tommy’s great interest was music and in particular silver bands. He began to attend band practice in the old North Street band hall, just around the corner from his Clonavon Road home, where he learned to play euphonium and trombone. Over the years he enjoyed the camaraderie of what was ‘the town band’ and loved nothing more than a discussion about banding, particularly with his late brother Jim - a brother whose knowledge he valued and whose musicianship he greatly admired. Tommy eventually took over the role of conductor of the Ballymena Silver Band and the partnership enjoyed a great deal of success in Brass Band League and Northern Ireland Bands Association contests in the 1970s and 80s. It should also be noted that he was asked to train the Curragh Silver Band from Maghera for ‘a few weeks’ in the early 1950s but such was his enthusiasm for the job that Tommy was still ‘helping out’ only a few weeks before his passing. Tommy’s musical skill and knowledge was also observed from beyond the silver band world and he went on to conduct Eglish and Dunloy Accordion bands, with both bands enjoying considerable contesting success under his baton.