THIS year's annual Ulster Piping and Drumming Quartets were held in Ballynahinch High School on Saturday.
These were supported by Down District Council, with the awards presented by Councillor Harvey Bicker, Chairman of the Council.
This year there was the addition of drumming quartets and in Grade 1 Ravara drum corps took top prize with Bready following in runner up place.
Bready were also the winners of the Grade 3B drumming
competition, with their junior outfit taking 1st place in Grade
The only other prize winner in drumming was Cleland Memorial who were runner-ups in 4B.
In piping Frank Rainey Memorial were first place winners in Grade 3A, with Hollymount taking first in 3B and Bready in second place.
Marlacoo B, Marlacoo A .and Gransha B were the names on the winning list in 4A, with Cleland Memorial, Thomas Davis and W. Kerr Memorial the victors in 4B.
Adjudicators for the Ulster Quartets were Richard Parkes and Sandy Steele.
Kevin Reilly was elected to the position of chairman of the RSPBA at the annual general meeting held in Glasgow on 8 March.
Kevin has been a National Council representative for the Northeast England Branch for several years. He takes over this position from George Ussher from Ballinderry who resigned the post in February to take over as the RSPBA President.
Upper Crossgare Pipe band are hosting a 'Fashion Show' in Ballynahinch Leisure Centre on Monday 31 March at 8pm. For further information please contact Pat Crothers on telephone 90 620005.
Friday 11 and Saturday 12 April are the dates for the 7th annual Ulster Festival of Piping and Drumming in Monkstown Community School, Doagh Road, Newtownabbey. Competitions start at 7pm on the Friday for all juvenile piping and drumming grades with all others continuing on Saturday.
The two Piobaireachd competitions start at 9.30am, with the remaining piping and drumming grades, as well as the chanter and drum pad classes for under 14 year olds, commencing at 10am.
Entries close on Saturday 29 March with Solos Secretary Samuel Lawson, 8 Annaghanoon Road Waringstown Craigavon BT66 7RZ Tel no. 3882 0374.
Saintfield Pipe Band will be holding their popular Mini bands competition on Saturday 19 April in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church Hall commencing at 1pm.
This is the longest running Mini bands event in the British Isles and Secretary Wendy McKibben is the lady to contact for entries. Her telephone number is 97 528995. Adjudicators will be Ian Wood for piping and Ciaran Mordaunt for drumming.
The last Branch meeting before the start of this year's main competitions will be held on Saturday 29 March in the Bridge Community Centre, Lisburn commencing at 2pm.
A report on all events discussed at the Annual General Meeting, which was held in Glasgow on 8 March, will be given.
The Quinn Memorial Pipe band from Killygullib, outside Kilrea, have completed one of their best years in their 52 year history of the band.
They completed in 15 competitions throughout Northern Ireland and Scotland and lifted almost 30 trophies.
Under the leadership of Pipe Major Harold Bloomfield and Drum Sergeant Robert Lennox, the band became Scottish, British, Ulster, Co. Fermanagh, Co. Antrim and Mid-Ulster champions and have now been promoted to Grade 3B
To celebrate their success, the Quinn are holding an 'Evening of Traditional Music' in Garvagh High School on "Thursday 3 April at 8pm. Guests on the evening will be Robert Watt and Emma Culbert, compere Robert Ramsey and as well as the host band there will be other local musical items.
Tickets cost £5 and admission is by ticket only. Contact Alex on 295 40510 as soon as possible as seating is limited due to size of venue.
The Mid Ulster Drumming School, run by Gary Smyth, will be holding its 3rd annual concert in Maghera, Co. Londonderry on 3 May commencing at 7.30pm.
Following on from successful concerts by Field Marshal Montgomery and the Pipes and Drums of the RUC, the school has been successful in securing the first ever appearance in Northern Ireland of Grade 1 Strathclyde Police Pipe Band from Glasgow. This band were the winners of the world pipe band championships an amazing 12 times.
Pipe Major James Wark who took over the band in 2001, and Leading Tip Eric Ward, originally from Banbridge, have led the Strathclyde Police to much competitive success finishing fourth in last year's Grade 1 Champion of Champions table.
Joining their drum corps are Derek Smyth, formerly with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and Les Galbraith who drummed with the David Urquhart Pipe Band. This concert will be their first performance with the band.
Also on the guest list will be Inverness Gold Medallist Stuart Liddell, who is well known to Ulster piping audiences. He pipes with the Simon Fraser University Pipe band from Canada, and has made many appearances at concerts and workshops in Northern Ireland.