Big thank you from

Annual meeting opts not to back Millennium Review  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association took place in Glasgow on 9 March.

This was a very important meeting for the pipe bands as the Millennium Review report was to be debated and voted on.

Two months ago this report had received favourable backing from the majority of the delegates, but much to the surprise of many of those present, this time round it failed to reach the required quota needed to implement the proposals.

One reason for this could be because such a great job of reorganising the association has recently been carried out.

Championships have been secured into 2004 and there has been some good and forward thinking planning put into place.

Thanks for this is due mostly to Chairman George Ussher from Ballinderry and Executive Officer Ian Embelton and the National council members, including our own Mervyn Herron and Kenny Crothers. All have worked tirelessly for the good of the RSPBA to put it in the healthy position it currently enjoys.

There is a meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA on Saturday 23 March in the Bridge Community Centre, Lisburn commencing at 2pm.

Band representatives are urged to attend this meeting where a report will be given on the Annual General Meeting in Glasgow.

Saturday 23 March also sees the long awaited concert by the Grade 1 world champions, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, Canada.

They will be appearing in the Waterfront Hall Belfast.

The only piping quartets to take place in Northern Ireland were held last Saturday in Ballynahinch High School.

Awards were presented by Councillor Harvey Bicker and the event was supported by Down District Council.

It was a good day for Pipe Major Robert Kirkland and his newly promoted Howard Memorial Pipe band from Dungannon with their quartets taking lst and 2nd prizes in Grade 2.

South of Ireland band St. Joseph's Clondalkin took 3rd placing.

Playing for the first time in Grade 3A was Bro. Matt Boyd Pipe band from Pomeroy. Co. Tyrone under Pipe Major A. Ferguson.

The band gave a good performance to win 1st place. Frank Rainey Memorial claimed the other two place prizes.

In Grade 3B Ballydonaghy Caledonia under Pipe Major Ken Steward were in excellent form and won 1st place.

The good news is that this band has now secured a drum corps, which will enable them to compete in the outdoor competitions this season. Hollymount were in runner up place with Cottown taking the 3rd place.

The biggest grade of the day was 4A and this was won by Bellaghy from Co. Londonderry, with Altnaveigh from Newry in second place.

There was a warm welcome for Marlacoo Pipe band under their Pipe Major Isaac Grant. The band have not been competing for some years now, and were delighted to take 3rd placing.

Grade 4B was won by the Cleland Memorial Pipe band under the direction of Pipe Major C. Hamilton, who also took runner up place. The final placing of the day went to Gransha from Dromore.

Saintfield Pipe band are holding their annual MiniBands competition in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday 30 March commencing at 1pm.

This event is open to all grades and the adjudicators will be Richard and Gordon Parkes

The contest meetings for the month of April are as follows: -

• 6 April is the solo piping under the auspices of Cullybackey Pipe band. Entries close on Saturday 23 March and they should be forwarded to Dessie McWhirter, 61 Glenhugh Park, Ahoghill BT42 1LR. Tel. No. 25871 931.
• 20 April is the Ulster Festival of Piping and Drumming, which this year will take place in its entirety in the Community School Monkstown.
• Then on Saturday 27 April the Co. Down section holds their very popular Full Indoor bands competition in Banbridge High School starting at 12 noon. Entries close on 6 April and these should be forwarded to Contest Secretary Mervyn Herron, 17 Merrion Avenue, Newcastle BT33 0BH. Adjudicators for this event are Gordon Parkes and Trevor Dear.

Ulster Star