Showband Nostalgia Corner . . .
Spotlight on The Niagara
The Niagara Showband were based in the East Mayo area and were
at the height of their popularity around 1968 and ‘69. The lead singer was John
Kelly from Knock who recorded a single “Isle of Innisfree” in the Eamonn Andrews
Studios in Dublin in 1969. It was arranged by Noel Keeleghan and produced by
Bill O’Donovan who was very involved in the start-up of Radio 2 (2FM) some years
John served as a
member of the Garda Siochana for many years and retired from the
service six years ago. Since then he has recorded two albums and a
video and last weekend he commenced a country show on the new Knock
FM radio which hit the airwaves for the first time in its new format
Our photo shows (left
to right): Pat Halpin from Ballyhaunis played lead guitar. He is a
brother of John Halpin in Ballyhaunis and has resided in London for
many years. Tony Dolly, a native of Knock, has lived in Ballina for
years and is still involved in the music business. He was bass
player with the band. John Kelly from Knock was lead singer and
trombone player (see above). Liam Byrne from Dublin played saxophone
and oboe and later played with the No. I Army Band.
Gerry Fahy from Tuam
was the drummer with the band. He later emigrated to Canada where he
died tragically in a car accident some years ago. Aidan Staunton,
formerly from Westport and long time resident of Kiltimagh, played
organ and rhythm guitar. He works in the motor trade (Cleary’s,
Kiltimagh) and is still involved with the music scene. His son
Jonathan is now a member of the John Hogan country band. Don
O’Shaughnessy from Dublin was the trumpet player and now lives in
Las Vegas. He is also a former leader of the Artane Boys Band.
The Niagara were
managed by John Conway from Ballyhaunis (now in Dublin) who was a
member of The Riviera Showband. John Egan from Knock also managed
the band for a time.