IT was a soaking wet start last Saturday to the first of the five big major championships of the new season, when the Scottish Pipe band Championships took place in Dumbarton, Scotland.
In spite of the awful weather, it was a worthwhile trip for some of our Northern Ireland bands. Ballycoan won the championship title in Grade 2 under Pipe Major Alfie Rea, and Quinn Memorial with Pipe Major H. Bloomfield, took the top honours in Grade 4A, winning both first in piping and best drums.
Ballycoan, who just missed out on promotion to Grade 1 last season, got off to a brilliant start this year by winning the Scottish Championships. Also great credit must go to the Quinn Memorial from Co. Londonderry, who are still rebuilding the band, when they won the double and claimed the title in both piping and drumming.
Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Andrew Scullion and their Field Marshal Montgomery band just missed out on winning the championship in the top Grade 1.
They claimed runner up place with two firsts in piping, second in ensemble and third in drumming.
Shorts & Dykehead Caledonia got the overall first place on ensemble preference and won best drums under Pipe Major Robert Mathieson and Leading Tip Jim Kilpatrick.
Syerla's young drummers must have been delighted with their win in Grade 3A. This is their first time competing in this grade having just been promoted this year.
The only other Ulster band to get into the prizes was Altnaveigh Memorial under Pipe Major David Hanna, and they won 4th place in Grade 4A.
South of Ireland band Lord Edwards Own were the winners in Grade 3A.
The 2002 Scottish drum major champions are Ian Young (Senior), Brian Ferry (Junior) and Jennifer Elvin (Juvenile).
This Saturday, 25 May, the Co. Fermanagh branch will host their annual piping competition in Celtic Park Enniskillen.
This is the first of the local outdoor pipe band and drum majors competition of the season.
June 1 will be the turn of the Co. Antrim section to host their championships in Ahoghill Playing Fields, where 38 bands will compete for the trophies.
Also on that day there will be an under 16 solo piping competition, and all young people are encouraged to enter for this event. The adjudicators will be David Clarke from Ayr Scotland, and Paul Turner ex Ulster man now living also in Scotland.
Saturday 8 June will be t h e Mid Ulster Championships in Cookstown, with the following Saturday the Co. Down Championships in Banbridge on June 15.
The big event in June will be this year's European Pipe band
Championships on 22 June in Belfast,
where 144 bands have entered.
This is the biggest entry of bands ever to compete in Northern Ireland, and promises to be a great day's outings for the family as well as all piping enthusiast.
The Mid Ulster section of the RSPBA will be hosting a concert in the Burnavon Arts Centre Cookstown on Friday 7 June commencing at 8pm.
This Golden Jubilee event will feature Ballycoan Pipe Band under the leadership of Pipe Major Alfie Rea, and solo piper Brian Donaldson from Glasgow.
Tickets are available from the Box Office 86769949, and as this Centre only holds room for 350, it would be advisable to get your tickets early.
Sandy Steele, well known drumming adjudicator in the Northern
Ireland Branch, would like to thank everyone in the pipe band
movement who attended the funeral or sent sympathy notices to
him and his family on the recent death of his father.
|Grade 1||1st Shotts & Dykehead (also drumming )||Grade 2||1st Ballycoan|
|2 n d F.M.Montgomery||2nd Dumfries & Galloway (also drums)|
|3rd Scottish Power||3rd Clan Gregor Society|
|4th Strathclyde Police||4th Polkemmet|
|5th Boghall & Bathgate||5th 1st Battalion The Highlanders|
|6th Dysart & Dundonald.||6th A.S.C.O.Buchan.|
|Grade 3A||1st Lord Edwards Own||Grade 3B||1 st Inverkeithing (also drums)|
|2nd Royal Burgh of Stirling||2nd Pontefract|
|3rd Johnstone||3rd West Midlands Police|
|4 th MacNaughton's Vale of Atholl||4th Dunoon Argyll|
|5th MacLean||5th Greater Manchester|
|6th Annan Ex-Service Club. Drumming - Syerla.||6th Dingwall|
|Grade 4A||1st Quinn Memorial (also drums)||Grade 4B||1st Tweedvale|
|2nd Arbroath||2nd Williamwood|
|3rd Nairn||3rd 1st Engineer Regiment|
|4th Altnaveigh Memorial||4th Kilsyth Thistle (also best drums)|
|5th Dartford & District||5th Newmains & District|
|6th City of Brechin.||6th Duns RBL|
|Senior Drum Majors||1st Ian Young||Juvenile||1st Jennifer Elvin|
|2nd Alistair Patterson||2nd Brian Morton|
|3rd John Noble||3rd June Gillies|
|4th Brian Wilson||4th Victoria Singer|
|Junior||1st Brian Ferry|
|2nd Laura Jane Lawson|
|3rd Elizabeth Sloan|
|4th Samantha Gordon|
|5th Gail Gordon|