THIS year's world solo drumming championships will take place on Saturday 26 October at the new venue of Craigmount High School, Edinburgh.
Sponsored by Rathfriland man Sam Hodgen and Andante Percussion, these championships are the ultimate prize in solo drumming worldwide.
The expected competition between our own Andrew Scullion and the reigning world senior champion Jim Kilpatrick will be stiff and will provide great entertainment for the spectators.
James Laughlin returns to defend the title he retained last year in the juvenile section one and Gavin Noade, who won the Juvenile section three, will also be defending his title.
There are many good up and coming drummers in the Province and there is sure to be a great collection of trophies coming back to Ulster.
This year the Grade 1. section at pipe band competitions will be strengthened with the addition of Ballycoan who were upgraded at the end of the 2002 season. They will join world champions, Field Marshal Montgomery, and Ravara. It is also hoped that a band representing the Police Service of Northern Ireland will be competing.
Pipe Major Terry Tully and his St. Laurence O'Toole have recruited several new players this year and hope to compete up North next season. A definite engagement for them will be the annual All Ireland Championships which will take place in 2003 in Newcastle.
Last year was a good year for the band as they finished in the top six
at several of the major championships.
Another band from the South of Ireland and who have been promoted after this year's results is Lord Edward's Own and they will complete in Grade 2. Finvoy b a n d f r o m C o . Londonderry are also promoted and will play in Grade 3A. Quinn Memorial, Killen, and Altnaveigh Memorial go up to 3B, and Gransha go to 4A.
Mervyn Herron, Contest Secretary, will once again be producing a colour calendar on behalf of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
This calendar will feature photographs of pipe bands and drum majors and a useful diary of all the dates for events next season.
The calendar was a great success the past two years and sold out each time. So if you want to be sure of getting yours then place your orders with Mervyn early. You can contact him on 4372 3635.
A visitors' information leaflet on all pipe band competitions will also be produced once again for next year. This handy flyer, which will be used primarily in tourist offices, hotels etc. was in big demand last season, and greatly promoted the pipe band movement in the province.
Kilrea Pipe Band from Co. Londonderry are holding a 'Come along and have a go' morning on Saturday 2 November in Kilrea Orange Hall from 10.30 to 12.30pm. This will be an opportunity to try your hand on the drums or practice chanters and meet the band members.
Kilrea band is under the leadership of Pipe Major Rodney Wilson and Leading Tip Colin McNeill, and both will be on hand to give instruction and advice.
Anyone interested in joining the band as learners or experienced members will be made very