Big thank you from

Branch agrees more time to look at two day world championship  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

Branch agrees more time to look at two day world championship

THE first meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA was held last Saturday in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn.

There was a large attendance at this first meeting, which was chaired by George Ussher who welcomed everyone to the first of the New Year sessions.

At the last Annual General Meeting of the Northern Ireland branch, a proposal was put forward from the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band to hold the world championships in Glasgow over a two-day event to facilitate the ever-growing number of bands.

Last Saturday this proposal was temporarily withdrawn in order that all the groups concerned would have more time to consider all the details and the implications of staging such an event.

One of the big questions over holding a two-day world championship is the question of finding the money to finance such an event. It is estimated that it would cost about £100,000 to run the competition if it was held over two days.

At the moment the Association is in negotiations with Glasgow City Council to sponsor a five-year deal, and the proposal of extending the championships is one which will be raised.

This year's All Ireland solo piping and drumming championships will take place at a new venue.

Banbridge High School will host this important competition on 18 September.

There was also good news at the Branch meeting when it was announced that another band - the William Kerr Memorial Pipe band from outside Dungannon - has joined the RSPBA, and will compete in Grade 4B.

A concert is been organised in Kilkeel Town Hall on Friday 26 March at Spm, when amongst the
guests will be Bleary & District Pipe band under the leadership of Pipe Major Nigel Davidson, Ballywalter Senior Flute band and a mini band from the Mourne Young Defenders band.

Special guest on the evening will be Jim Kilpatrick, fourteen times winner of the world solo drumming championships.
Tickets cost £8 and can be purchased from the Essey Music Stores, Albertbridge Road telephone number 90 456177.

There will be a new man at the helm of Altnaveigh Memorial Pipe Band this coming season. Colin Moffett, from Bessbrook, a well known solo piper, is their new Pipe Major. Colin has a wealth of experience having been a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery band in their most famous year of 1983 when they won all five of the major championships.

He also was a piper with Grade 2 Bessbrook Pipe band when they won the All Ireland and Ulster Championships.

Several ex Bessbrook players are also in the band. Jeffrey Moffett, Dessie Moorhead, who are both pipers, Ian Moffett Bass drummer, and Kenny Gibson Leading Tip will also join forces with Colin to make up a band which should prove to be a really strong contender this season.

Colin replaces David Hanna who steps down owing to other commitments but who will still remain a player in the band. David was the Pipe Major of Altnaveigh for 28 years and saw the band upgraded to Grade 3B. His contribution to their success has proved invaluable and it is good that he will remain a strong supporter of the band.

The final band to appear in the popular Touch of Tartan radio Ulster broadcast hosted by Tommy Miller will be the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band under the direction of Richard Parkes.

The show airs at 2pm on Sunday and will be repeated on Thursday at 7 pm.

Radio Scotland's weekly piping and drumming programme 'Pipeline' is moving time slots starting on February 14 from 9.05 to 10.00 pm.

Pipeline is produced by lain MacInnes and presented by Gary West who are both well known in the piping world.

PAUL Spence is a young Drum Major who is hitting a high note. He joined his local band in Legacurry when he was 10 and has continually developed his talent and achieved great success over the years.

Paul joined Drumlough Pipe Band in 1997 when he got his first taste of competition in the junior grade. After leaving Drumlough Paul joined Tamlaght O'Crilly Pipe Band in 1998 when he enjoyed some success, gaining 3rd place in the Heart of Down, 4th place in North Down, 5th in Mid-Ulster and 5th in Ulster.

The 1999 season was a particularly good one for Paul, when he placed 5th in Ireland, 2nd in Ulster, 3rd in County Antrim, 4th in North Down, 4th in County Fermanagh and finished 3rd in Champions of Champion Junior Grade.

Due to health reasons, Paul did not compete in the 2000 season and in 2001 he was elevated to the juvenile grade and placed
2 n d i n t h e W o r l d Championships.

In 2002 Paul joined Hollymount Pipe Band in County Down, which is much closer to home. With 2003 being his final year in the juvenile grade, he certainly finished on a high note, taking first place in County Down, 2nd in County Antrim, 3rd in Ireland and 1st in Ulster.

Paul is really looking forward to the 2004 season, when he competes in the Senior Grade. Paul's parents George and Ann really appreciate all the time Senior Drum Major Cecil Shaw spent in training Paul, which has indeed proved to be very worthwhile.

Ulster Star