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                                            Frankie McDonald

                                            Played with The Central Seven in the 1960s. Along with, Eamon Robinson keyboards, Eamonn lackin trombone,Dennis Prendergast saxophone and clarinet, Patsy McNally bass guitar and hawaiian guitar, Aidan Butler lead guitar and vocals, Jimmy ? drums,. Then with Syd and the Saints, after which he joined Joe Dolan. Also was in a jazz band with Cha Nicholsan and Joey Ainsworth who used to do great Sunday morning sessions.. Name unknown Frankie MCDonald is a current and founding meber of the Midlands Big Band Frankie McDonald. Since the 1960s, he has been a major part of the Drifters band – the last survivor of the Showband era of that decade. However, Frankie McDonald has much more notes to his credit, which includes a period founding Athlone’s School of Music, and a professional solo career which ran parallel to his days in the Drifters. “I think the music came from my father, but my mother was a great influence, and it was her who put me forward for Feis Cheoil, and for BBC and Radio Eireann programmes,” said Frankie. Frankie also played the cornet in local concerts in Co Monaghan and in the Clones Brass Band, and one of his mentors from that era was Pat McGuigan, father of the boxer, Barry. The young Frankie won an All-Ireland championship at the age of 12 years at the Feis Ceoil. When he turned 14, Frankie left Clones to go to the Cathal Brugha Barracks Army School of Music, where a future band colleague from Athlone, Liam Meade, from Assumption Road was also studying there. In 1962, Frankie came to Athlone, to be stationed in Custume Barracks, when the Band of the Western Command required a cornet player. Shortly after his arrival, he joined up with the popular Eamon Robinson showband, which played in parish halls around the midlands in the early 1960s. Finbarr O’Keefe, who was a Saints musician, and later authored the showband book, ‘Good Night, God Bless and Safe Home’, wrote to Frankie in Cyprus and invited him to join ‘Syd and the Saints’ in Athlone. They put Athlone on the Irish Showband map, and afterwards Frankie joined a popular local traditional band, the Kieran Kelly band, which is where Frankie met his wife, Mai Kelly. Mai played piano in the band, alongside Eamon Furey, Johnny Dawson, Larry Benson, and the now well-known recording artist, Brendan Shine. In recent years, Frankie has played with his family groups, ‘Route 101’ and ‘The Showband Show’, and very recently himself and his music colleague, Ricey Scully, have been playing many venues as part of a brass and singing duo, called the Entertainers. Recently the duo has been joined by Athlone trombone player, Chuck Daly.


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