Big thank you from

Excellent support for mini band contest  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

SAINTFIELD Pipe band held their annual 36th Traditional Miniature Pipe band Contest last Saturday in Ballygowan Church hall.

Secretary Wendy McKibben was delighted at the support from bands people to this long established event.

The highest grade of the day was Grade 3A and this was won by Leapoughs Pipe band under the direction of Pipe Major Wayne Bryne. Wayne, who just took over the band at the end of last year, was well pleased with the performance of his players.

Woodgrange was in runners tip place and won best drums, with Dr. Wright Memorial in third place.

Grade 4A was the biggest entry of the day and the worthy winners were Altnaveigh with Pipe Major David Hanna, who also took the trophy for best drums as well as the runners up spot. Third place went to Bellaghy Pipe band under Pipe major Gary Dempsey.

Gransha Pipe band gave a good performance to win both piping and drumming in Grade 4b. Second place went to Thomas Davis Memorial from Newry City and Cleland Memorial took the final 3rd placing.

It is a real pity that more bands don't support this well run competition as this event was once the biggest of its kind.

After an absence of five years Antrim Apprentice boys Pipe band are-now planning a return to the contest scene.

They have secured the services of Jackie Gordon as their new Pipe Major and will be competing in Grade 4B. Some nears ago this band almost always featured in the prizes and now, under its new leadership, is looking forward to achieving that same success.

Branch Secretary Lorraine McVeigh would like to remind all band secretaries to check that each and every one of their playing members are registered with Headquarters. Checks will be carried out rigidly this season and if any names are not on the list of the RSPBA. that band will be disqualified. Contact Executive Officer Ian Embelton 0141 221 5414 for further information.

Saturday 6 April is the solo piping competition, organised by Cullybackey Pipe band. It starts at 2pm and will be held in Cullybackey High School.

April 20 sees the Ulster Festival of Piping and Drumming take place in Monkstown Community School, and on 27 April the only Indoor Full bands competition will be held in Banbridge High School.

When the Simon Fraser University Pipe band from Canada appeared in Belfast and Glasgow recently at their sell out concerts, it was without two of their extremely rare marching drums.

The theft of these two valuable drums - only one of each in the whole world - happened just a short time before the world champions left Vancouver.

They belonged to the Leading Tip of the band, Reid Maxwell, who had left them in his van which was in the underground park of his apartment near blue Mountain Road.

Both instruments were prototypes designed by the Pearl drum manufacturing company, with one used like a tuning fork to set the tones for the band's other ten drums.

Although this theft was a serious inconvenience, the band had enough equipment to do all the show's. Pearl has agreed to supply them with replacements, but Reid Maxwell is still hopeful that somebody will do the right thing and return them.

It's a case of deja vu for the band, for just two years ago the Simon Fraser had four Pearl drums stolen in broad daylight just a few weeks before the band's participation in a world championship competition.

Ulster Star