Big thank you from

Good news for local bands as upgradings are announced  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

IT was good news for several bands from Ulster when the results of next year's upgradings were announced by the National Council Officials last week.

Bleary & District, under the leadership of Pipe Major Nigel Davidson and Leading Tip Ian Lawson, now reap the reward for all their hard work having gained promotion to the elite Grade 1.

It has been a steady rise for the band since when they started to compete in 1996 under Nigel's leadership.

Now we have four bands in Grade 1 - Field Marshal Montgomery, Ravara, Ballycoan and now Bleary & District. Killadeas Pipe band, with Pipe Major Kenny Ferguson and Leading Tip Stephen Young, the reigning World Champions in piping and drumming in Grade 3A, will now compete in Grade 2.

This band had an outstanding season, winning every competition except one. They will be, joined in Grade 2 by Syerla who also had a great year.

Two bands from Co. Londonderry were upgraded. They are the Quinn Memorial with Pipe Major Harold Bloomfield who go to 3A and the Queen Elizabeth under Lady Pipe Major Iris Gilmore who go to 4A. Both bands had a great season and fully deserve promotion.

Bready are upgraded to 3A having come second in this year's world championships. A super result for this band under Pipe Major Robert Campbell.

Seven Towers under Pipe Major David Reid, who gained second place at the world championships, are also promoted to Grade 3B.

Also celebrating their success are Pipe Major Isaac Grant and Marlacoo Pipe Band who will be joining them in 3B. The complete grading changes for next year's competition are:

Novice Juvenile to Juvenile - Bucksburn, Glasgow Schools, Inverclyde and Kintyre Schools.

Grade 4B to 4A - Kilsyth , Manorcunningham, Newmains, Old Meldrum, Queen Elizabeth and Stow.

Grade 4A to 3B - Marlacoo, Seven Towers, Williamwood, Bo'ness RBI and Linlithgow & District.

Grade 3B to 3A - Black Raven, Bready, Oban, and Quinn Memorial. Grade 3B to 2 - Prince Charles USA.

Grade 3A to 2 - Killadeas, Lanarkshire, Lochgelly High School, Syerla, West Midlands Police.

Grade 2 to Grade 1 - Clan Gregor, Bleary & District.

Downgrading. Grade 4A to 4B - Clan MacBeth.

Grade 3B to 4A - Kincross & District.

Grade 3A to 3B - Beeston & District, Coria Vallum.

Grade 2 to 3A - City of Auckland, City of Edinburgh, Houghton le Spring, Mackenzie Caledonia.

The Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA are planning an St.Andrew's Night gala concert in the Ulster Hall Belfast on Saturday 29 November commencing at 8pm.

The exciting line-up will include our own Field Marshal Montgomery and Scottish Power Pipe Bands, along with the Edinburgh School of Highland dancers.

All this for the small price of £5. Demand is sure to be great so early booking is advisable. Contact Mervyn Herron 40-624849.

Mervyn can also be contacted for the 2004 Pipe Band Calendars which have proved so popular these past years.
Each calendar contains many photographs of winning bands and drum majors as well as all the dates for next year's pipe band championships.

It is also planned to have available the informative `flyers' for the Northern Ireland branch, which details all the events for next season. These are free, also from Mervyn Herron.

The RSPBA Co. Down Section and the Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School are holding a class of instruction for Drum Majors on Saturday 8 November in Banbridge Bowling Pavilion, Linenhall Street, Banbridge from 10.30am to 12.30pm

If you wish to be a band drum major or you wish to have a refresher course in all aspects of drum majors work then this is the place to be.

The Belvoir Drum Majors are holding their Annual General Meeting on Saturday 1st November at 2 pm in Belvoir Parish Church Hall.

On behalf of all my family I wish to thank everyone in the pipe band association for their support during the death of my mother on 20 October.

We especially thank all those who sent cards, phoned or attended the funeral.

Ulster Star