THE rain failed to dampen spirits at the Scottish Pipe band Championships at Dumbarton last Saturday, where over 120 bands challenged for the honour of taking the first of this year's major championship titles.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from outside Lisburn were in terrific form and swept home to victory in Grade 1, winning the Scottish title.
Under the leadership of Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Keith Orr the band, according to one adjudicator, were streaks ahead of the other 13 challengers.
In runner-up place was Strathclyde Police, who also won the drumming title under ex -Banbridge man Eric Ward. Scottish Power took third, Boghall & Bathgate fourth with Shotts & Dykehead (now competing under the name House of Edgar) taking fifth place. This was the lowest placing for Shotts to achieve in years. Final sixth place went to Vale of Atholl.
Grade 2 was won by Clan Gregor in both piping and drumming with two of our Ulster bands securing places in the top six. Bleary & District from Armagh won third place and Upper Crossgare fourth placing.
In Grade 3A, Syerla did well and won third place with Tullintrain winning fifth place on ensemble preference and winning best drums. This grade was won by Lochgelly High School.
Quinn Memorial had a double victory to take the title in Grade 3B in both piping and drumming. Winning the Scottish title is a big boast for this band and must give them great confidence for the new season.
Hollymount also had success in this grade by a sixth place win.
Seven Towers, who have beet rebuilding their band this season under Pipe Major David Reid, had a fantastic start to their new season when they won 1st place in Grade 4A.
Mountfield from outside Omagh won fourth place.
No bands from Northern Ireland took part in Grade 4B which was won by Stow who also won both piping and drumming.
John Noble took the senior Scottish Drum Majors title with Ryan Ferry the junior grade and Danielle Sharvin the juvenile
anyone who did not attend the Malahide championships there will be an opportunity to hear the winning Grade 2 band in concert. Bleary & District who are now fielding 15 pipers will be hosting an evening of music on Saturday 24 May in the Market Place Theatre Armagh at 8pm.
Along with Bleary will be many other artists and all proceeds will go to the band's funds.
The Co. Fermanagh Pipe Band Championships will take place on Saturday 31 May in Celtic Park Enniskillen.
This is the first of the local competitions within the Northern Ireland Branch and there are 40 bands entered for this event.
Adjudicators will be Winston Pollock and Denver Cardwell for piping and Colin Brown and Gordon Parkes for drumming.
The full results of the solo competition held at Malahide on Friday, 9 May were: March Strathspey and Reel - 1st Jonathan Greenlees from Lisburn, 2nd Robert Watt Maghera and 3rd Gary Watterson. Robert Watt won the hornpipe and jig section.
A total of 114 certificates were presented recently at the Lisburn piping and Drumming School to 46 students covering both practical piping and drumming, as well as the theory of music.
The guest of honour, Mr Fred Walker presented the certificates, and said that the current high standard of pipe bands in Northern Ireland was in part due to the excellent work of the school.
Also guests at this event were Margaret Walker and George Ussher Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA.
Results of Scottish Championships
Grade 1. 1st Field Marshal Montgomery. 2nd Strathclyde Police (also Best Drums) 3rd Scottish Power. 4th Boghall & Bathgate. 5th House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead. 6th Vale of Atholl.
Grade 2. 1st Clan Gregor (also best drums) 2nd.ASCO Buchan. 3rd.Bleary & District. 4th. Upper Crossgare 5th.Polkemmet. 6th.Dumfries & Galloway.
Grade 3A. 1st Lochgelly High School. 2nd West Midlands
Police. 3rd Syerla. 4th Lanarkshire. 5th Tullintrain (Also best
drums) 6th Lomond & Clyde.