Northern Ireland news

Miami Showband members launch musical

Surviving Miami Showband members, Des Lee (right) and Ray Miller at the Grand Opera House. Picture by Hugh Russell

SOME of Ireland’s leading showband legends reunited in Belfast yesterday to launch the new Miami Showband musical.

Saxophonist and singer Des Lee and drummer Ray Millar took a stroll down memory lane at the former Romano’s Ballroom in Queen Street to mark the launch of the musical, written by Marie Jones and Martin Lynch, which tells the tragic story of the Miami Showband massacre.

The Miami Showband was one of Ireland's most popular cabaret acts in the 1960s and 1970s.

In July 1975, three of its members, including lead singer Fran O'Toole, were killed after the band's minibus was stopped at a bogus UDR checkpoint near Banbridge.

The attack was carried out by members of the Glenanne Gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF. Two of the loyalist gang also were killed when the bomb they were planting exploded prematurely.

The Miami Showband Story opens for a 10-day run at the Grand Opera House, Belfast on August 8 before embarking on a four week All-Ireland tour.

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