Big thank you from

Alen wins 'Piper of the Year' title

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band ALEN Tully of the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band from Dublin was named as the 'Piper of the Year' at the Northern Ireland Piping Society's solo competition event held on Saturday October 3 at the Adair Arms Ballymena.

This is an invitational event and solo pipers are selected from the cream of top senior and junior pipers from all over Ireland. St. Laurence O'Toole pipers claimed the top two places in both the MSR and the Hornpipe and Jig. Men Tully won first place and Kevin Rodgers the runner up place in the MSR with Men again winning top place in the Hornpipe and Jig followed by Philip Tasker in second place.

Field Marshal Montgomery's pipers also scored well at this event with Emmett Conway crowned the best junior piper of the year.

In the Piobaireachd section Andrew Carlisle took top honours followed by fellow piper Jonathan Greenlees. Both these men also took the third and fourth places in the MSR section.

Piobaireachd - 1st. Andrew Carlisle. 2nd. Jonathan Greenlees. 3rd. Kevin Rodgers.

Jig and Hornpipe - 1st. Men Tully. 2nd. Phillip Tasker. MSR - 1st. Men Tully. 2nd. Kevin Rodgers. 3rd. Andrew Carlisle. 4th. Jonathan Greenlees.

Best Junior Piper was Emmett Conway.

The dates for the 2010 majors have just been released. They are as follows:- May 22 Scottish Championships at Dumbarton. June 26 British Championships at Annan. July 31 European Championships at Belfast. August 14 Worlds Championships at Glasgow. August 28 Cowal Championships at Dunoon.

2010 marks the first year in a three year deal for the British Championships at Annan, and the European Championships at Belfast. Dates have yet to be confirmed but locations are confirmed.

Last year there was confusion when coaches were stopped from leaving the Dumbarton competition to catch their boat before the end of the event. Ian Embelton Executive officer of the RSPBA has now confirmed with the West Dunbartonshire council that any band wishing to leave early to catch their boat should notify them when requesting a coach pass, and arrangements will be made to park them in the road adjacent to Levengrove Park to allow them to leave early. Full details will be issued with the entry forms.

186 drummers have entered for the 2009 world solo drumming championships to take place on October 24 at the Glasgow Caledonia University Glasgow and sponsored by Andante Percussion from Rathfriland.

The winter term of the Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School has now started in Laurelhill Community College Lisburn, Ebrington Centre Londonderry and Erne Integrated College in Enniskillen. Classes are held in all three centres on Saturday mornings from 10.00am till 12.30pm.

Tuition in Highland Dancing and Piping for Dancing is available also, subject to sufficient recruitment.

This year the school is encouraging all students who are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to use their music attainments as contributing to progress in the Skills Section of that award.

Recently at a meeting of all school tutors, the contribution of long serving school instructors was recognised with the presentation of Special Awards to those who had more than 21 years of service to the school.

Those receiving awards were - Sam Bailie (29 years), Tommy Robinson (27 years), Denver Cardwell (25 years), Colin Brown and Fred Noade (24 years), Rob Moffett, Brian Rea, Winston Pollock (23 years,) John Moles, Richard Parkes and Ian Woods (21 years).

Ulster Star