THE Ulster Piping Quartets, held in Ballynahinch, hope to hold a separate competition for drummers next year.
The Northern Ireland Executive Committee of the RSPBA will be putting forward this proposal at the next Branch Meeting on 30 November, and will hear any comments or suggestions from interested drum corps.
The quartets, which are usually held in March, attract a good entry from pipers and the addition of drummers should give an extra boost to this long running event.
This is now the time when many pipe bands hold their annual general meetings to review the past year and plan for the new season ahead.
Gilnahirk Pipe Band met recently to hold their 83rd Annual General Meeting. This was the best-attended meeting for 15 years, with many of the next generation in attendance.
Pipe Major Robert Greer was returned for another year, as were most of the other officers. David Dorman was newly elected as Drum Sergeant.
A series of committee meetings are scheduled to restart the ladies' committee which will proceed with fund raising activities - the first of which will be a calendar which proved so successful in past years.
The band has openings for experienced pipers, drummers and learners. Practise night is every Monday at 8pm in the Jack Britton Hall, Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church, and everyone will be made very welcome.
The Annual General Meeting of Banbridge Pipe Band also took place recently. Chairman Gary McDonald reported on the many successes of the band at competitions including the All Ireland and also winning the Champion of Champions trophy in Grade 3A.
Alan Gourley was re-elected as Pipe Major with his brother Keith Gourley newly elected as Drum Sergeant. Gail and Samantha Gordon were elected drum majors.
The members of the band have also decided to compete at the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton in May and also at the worlds in Glasgow in August.
The third report is of the Annual General Meeting of North Belfast, which is the only remaining competitive band in Belfast.
Due to lack of personnel the band was unable to compete at competitions until recently. They only entered two events last season and at the Ulster Championships in Londonderry won the drumming and fourth placing. The other event was the Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon where they came away the winners of the best drum corps and overall first placing.
The band is under the leadership of Pipe Major Jackie Moore and leading Tip Bobby Rea who were both re-elected to office. President is William Murdie and Chairman Eddie Montgomery
The band practises on Monday and Thursday nights at North Belfast Working Men's Club, where free tuition in both piping and drumming is available. Contact number is 90 715778.
Bands are encouraged to get their bookings in early for 2003 European band Championships to be held in Alden Biesen Castle, Belgium in September.
Prices start from £170 via coach and ferry and include two night's hotel and breakfast. Going by air will cost £200 and includes return flights Belfast/London with coach, ferry crossing Dover/Calais and two night's hotel with continental breakfast.
There is also on offer travel and accommodation by air from Dublin. This includes coach to Dublin, then to Brussels by Aer Lingus, and hotel accommodation with all transfers included. Two nights cost £295 three £325 and four £345.
An added incentive to travelling to Belgium for the championships will be a generous sponsorship from the organisers for all bands plus substantial prize money.
For more information on travel arrangements ring Heather Stirling on No. 70-345136.