A simple title, ‘The Band’, presents a show which tries to get behind the psyche of those of us who enjoy and are a part of the marching band fraternity in Northern Ireland.

It’s a BBC show, which as you can imagine doesn’t immediately draw some of us in, but it is independently made and is now in its third series.

For me, the series allows those who don’t come from our cultural background to look in at what makes us tick.

The first episode in this series concentrated on three individuals – a young male from a flute band in the heart of East Belfast, and two women in country accordion bands.

We learnt about why they joined their bands, and what membership means to them and their families.

Having been in Rosslea accordion band from childhood until motherhood got in the way (in the nicest possible way – I wanted to enjoy the parades with the children), I can strongly identify with the two women in the country accordion bands in the show.

The band practices – which, for me, were in a tiny Border Orange hall during the height of The Troubles – the outings, the parades, the annual church services, the 12th of July and uniquely in Fermanagh, the 12th of August commemorating the Battle of Newtownbutler [all come to mind].

The family association with the bands also came across strongly, and that was the same for me.

It was a fundamental and important part of my growing up to be in Rosslea accordion band, even when the IRA decided that, as a family, we could no longer live near Rosslea when they attempted to murder my father.

The young man from inner East Belfast also told us how important his band, Gertrude Star, is to his life, and let us know how it helped him overcome his insecurities and shyness.

In the second episode, we hear from a young man called Andrew who says his band in Londonderry, the William King Memorial Flute Band, changed his life and has inspired him to take a course at university, despite leaving school without qualifications.

His story in particular is a real lesson in how much the membership of a band means to so many across Northern Ireland.

Also, in the second episode, which aired last night but is available on the BBC iPlayer, Tim – who despite the fact he is in a wheelchair after being born with spina bifida – takes part in his band in Markethill with the help of his dad.

His life, like Andrew’s, has been enriched by his membership of his band.

I am very pleased that ‘The Band’ has been made for wider distribution.

It is nostalgic, comfortable and enjoyable watching for those of us who recognise the way of life, and my hope was, and is, that those who are not from my background will find it interesting, and even informative as to why it is an integral part of who we are.

I say it ‘was’ my hope, but as usual, when I put on social media that it was an excellent programme for those who want to understand the Orange culture, the usual trolls and offensive Republicans came out to play.

“You have no culture”, “It belongs in the dark ages”, “In this day and age it’s embarrassing – grow up”, “bigots”.

These are the politest responses – there were many other comments that cannot be printed.

Social media really does facilitate the lowest form of commentary.

I have never said that all is perfect in the band community in Northern Ireland – there are those who let their fellow band members down by excessive drinking, rowdiness and – dare I say it – sectarianism.

But just as the GAA argue we should not judge them by those who name competitions and grounds after terrorists, neither should those who cherish their band culture be defined by a few who misuse their culture.

Boorishness and sectarianism are certainly not the norm, especially in country areas where the band culture is about music and fellowship.

The free music tuition which is provided to thousands of young people is a great enabler for them as many would otherwise not be able to afford to play a musical instrument.

That is something which is rarely spoken about, but in my view needs to be acknowledged.

We are told by those seeking a United Ireland that space will be made for those of us from an Orange background.

It seems to me that this is just pie in the sky, as every time anything positive comes from the Orange or marching band community, it is dismissed, and we go round the usual sectarian roundabouts.

The truth is very obvious – a United Ireland would be a very, very difficult, if not impossible, place for those of us from an Orange, Unionist background.

It’s just as well it’s not on the agenda.

Republicans want to close their eyes to those of us from the Unionist community who value our cultural expression.

They want us to leave all that behind, and become the same as them in some awful, green, Gaelic nightmare.

They show us by their commentary on our culture why Irish Republicanism is so narrow – no room for anyone else, only for those who sign up to their tiny viewpoint.

No thanks.

And it’s not just Republicans that cannot abide a culture other than their own.

The sneering that comes from some middle-class, sophisticated types is almost just as bad – you know the ones that go away over The Twelfth just to avoid it.

If they come across a parade by accident, they may well self-combust!

Those same condescending citizens are happy to engage with the GAA despite all its issues, but for those people, country bands are the thing to shy away from – go figure?

If there are Nationalists and others who genuinely want to start to understand their Unionist neighbours, they should watch ‘The Band’.

It is only when we walk in the shoes of those we don’t share a culture or identity with, that we will achieve genuine reconciliation, as opposed to the plastic one I’ve spoken about before.