THE Ulster Championships were held on Saturday August 8 in Donard Park, Newcastle, when a large crowd enjoyed favourable weather to see and hear the musical spectacle of the pipe bands.
Field Marshal Montgomery and Ravara Pipe Bands were in fine tune winning top honours including best pipes and drums in Grade 1 and 2. Big encouragement for both bands, as they prepare for the ultimate challenge this Saturday at the world championships.
European champions Thiepval Memorial from Co. Donegal and the Quinn Memorial added the Ulster championship titles to their growing array of trophies. They took first place in Grade 4B and A with Thiepval winning best pipes and the Quinn best drums. Castlerock were the victors in 3B and Aughintober in 3A with both bands taking the trophy for best pipes. Ulster drum major champions were Zoe McDowell (Novice) Lauren Hanna (Junior) Samantha Gordon (Juvenile) and Paula Braiden (Senior).
August 15 will see 8000 performers from 220 pipe bands performing in front of around 40,000 spectators, when the 2009 world championships take place at Glasgow Green Scotland. Bands will travel from as far away as Australia, USA, Pakistan and New Zealand to perform at this, the most anticipated pipe band event in the world. BBC Scotland
will have live web coverage of this event, and their site can be accessed at www.bbc.co.uk/worlds with video clips available on demand worldwide after the event. This will allow fans to follow the drama of the championships as they unfold.
Canada's Simon Fraser University Pipe Band will be fighting hard to defend and retain their Grade 1 world title won last year but there will be a very stiff challenge from Ulster's own Field Marshal Montgomery, who are the six times holders of this coveted world title.
Ramore Head, Portrush on August 22 will see the last of this season's local pipe band competitions with the Champion of Champions awards. Portrush has always been the jewel in the crown of venues for the pipe band association with the eagerly awaited parade of the Town by bands and drum majors, and hopefully this year's spectacle will again prove a great success and a fitting finale to the 2009 championships at home.
The RSPBA Summer School promoted by the Northern Ireland branch will take place at the Flowerfield Arts Centre Portstewart from August 18 to 20 with classes daily from 9am to 4.30pm. This has proven to be very popular over the past few years and if interested then please contact Project Manager Lindsey Ellis on 028 9267 0445 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org for registration or fur-
Another date for you dairy is the Youth in Action solo piping and drumming contests to take place at Kerr Street Green Portrush on Friday August 21 commencing at 2.00pm.
Then the Portrush Invitational senior solo competition will follow, also on Friday August 21, at 7.30pm, the venue being the Golf Links Hotel Complex Portrush.
Contact Mervyn Herron for further details of the solo competitions. Telephone number 07702 681189 or by email at: email@example.com
The fifth major pipe band championships, and the last competition of the season, will be the Cowal Highland Gathering held on Saturday August 29 in Dunoon Scotland.
Grade 4B - 1st. Thiepval Memorial (also best pipes). 2nd. Lisnamulligan. 3rd. Closket. 4th. Wm.Kerr Memorial (also best bass). Best drums went to Upper Crossgare.
Grade 4A - 1st. Quinn Memorial (also best drums and best bass). 2nd. Matt Boyd Memorial (also best pipes). 3rd.Letterkenny. 4th. Tamlaght O'Crilly.
Grade 3A - 1st. Aughintober (also best pipes and best bass section). 2nd. St.Finbarrs. 3rd. Howard Memorial. 4th.Killen. Best Drums Upper Crossgare.
Grade 3B - 1st. Castlerock (also best pipes). 2nd. Banbridge. 3rd. Ballydonaghy (also best bass section). 4th. Black Raven.
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara (also best pipes, best drums and best bass). 2nd. Seven Towers. 3rd Killeen. 4th.Annsborough.
Grade 1 - 1st. Field Marshal Montgomery (also best pipes, best drums) 2nd. St.Laurence O'Toole. 3rd. Scottish Power. 4th. Ballycoan (also best bass) Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Zoe McDowell. 2nd. Emma Barr. 3rd. Lauren Abraham. 4th. Matthew McKinney. 5tli.Kathryn McKeown.
Junior - 1st. Lauren Hanna. 2nd. Rachel Cardwell. 3rd. Bethan Martin. 4th. Lauren Muldrew. 5th. Elizabeth Morrow.
Juvenile - 1st. Samantha Gordon. 2nd. Linzi Hamilton. 3rd. Jemma McKinney. 4th. Heather Bell. 5th. Laura Millar.
Senior - 1st. Paula Braiden. 2nd. Brian Wilson. 3rd David Brownlee. 4th. Andrea McKeown 5th. Kathy Megarry Calvin.