THE Co. Fermanagh section of the RSPBA held their annual pipe band and drum majors championships last Saturday in Celtic Park Playing Fields, Enniskillen.
It was a day of sunshine which attracted many supporters to this galaxy of piping and drumming.
Ballycoan, under Pipe Major Alfie Rea, competed in Grade 1 alongside four from Grade 2. This competition was of the highest standard and Ballycoan were worthy winners of the title. They also won Marching & Deportment and best drum corps.
In Grade 2 Pipe Major Noel Mullen and Ballinderry Pipe Band took top honours winning best pipe corps. Cullybackey, who ended up in third place, also won best drum corps and best bass section. Finvoy from Co. Londonderry, under Pipe Major Chris Getty, won 1st place in Grade 3A and best pipes. Tullintrain had a double victory by claiming the trophies for best drums and best bass section.
The Grade 3B 2004 Scottish Champions - Seven Towers from Ballymena, under the direction of Pipe Major David Reid - continued on the winning trail with their 1st place victory. The drummers also won best drums and best bass section.
Aughintober took 1st prize in Grade 4A with Pipe Major G. Ferry and the drumming went to Leading Tip Willie Wray and Castlerock. Sergeant Walker won the best bass section.
William Kerr Memorial, new to the pipe band scene, gave a terrific performance and took first in Grade 4B under Pipe Major Andrew Shilliday.
McNeillstown took the best drums and Cullybackey the best bass section.
Broughshane & District Community Association Ltd in partnership with the Royal Scottish Pipe band Association (County Antrim Branch) will be holding their Village Festival programme commencing on Thursday 3rd June and ending on Saturday 5th June with the Pipe Band Championships.
George Ussher, President of the RSPBA and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch, spoke of his own enthusiasm of the Village Festival, which he said was the most forward thinking weekend to be held in the Pipe band Association.
The entertainment would involve Highland dancers from Glasgow, a vintage car cavalcade and street stalls. The Campers' Association will also be holding their annual rally in the Village, which will be attended by camper vans - some coming from Scotland and England.
The Vale of Atholl and Strathclyde Police will be travelling over to compete at the competition, and along with Ravara, Ballycoan, Bleary & District,
Field Marshal Montgomery and St.Laurence O'Toole, this Grade 1 contest promises to be one not to be missed.
A total of 52 bands and 32 drum majors will take part at these championships. There will be meal vouchers for every band member competing on the day, and there will also be £1,000 cash to be divided among bands parading the town at the finish of the competition. Two solo piping events will also take place on the Saturday - one for under 14 and one for under 17 pipers. And for the ladies there will be buses to transport them into Ballymena for some shopping.
The Village Festival committee have pulled out all the stops for this weekend event and it is hoped that many will support them in this new venture. Seven Towers Pipe Band will be holding a Fashion Show and Musical evening in Ballee High School on Friday 11th June. Tickets cost £5 or pay at door.
Saturday 12th June will see the second of this year's five major events. The British championships will be held in Turriff Scotland, but only four bands will travel to this event and they are the Field Marshal Montgomery, Ballycoan and Ravara in Grade 1 with Altnaveigh Memorial in Grade 3B.
Grade 1 - 1st Ballycoan also best drums and M&D. 2nd Ballinderry Bridge. 3rd Cullybackey also best bass.
Grade 2 - 1st Ballinderry Bridge also best piping. 2nd Killadeas. 3rd Cullybackey. also best drums, best bass and M&D. 4th Killeen.
Grade 3A - 1st Finvoy also best pipes. 2nd Woodgrange. 3rd North Belfast. 4th Quinn Memorial. Tullintrain won best drums and best bass. Black Raven M&D.
Grade 3B - 1st Seven Towers. Also best drums and best bass. 2nd Marlacoo. 3rd Augharonan. 4th Killen. Hollymount won M&D
Grade 4A - 1st Aughintober also M&D. 2nd Annsborough. 3rd Gortaclare. 4th Castlerock also best drums. Sgt. Walker- won best bass section.
Grade 4B - 1st Wm. Kerr Memorial. 2nd Thiepval Mem. 3rd Letterkenny also M&D. 4th McNeillstown also best drums. Best Bass Cullybackey.
Senior Drum Majors - 1st Kathy Megarry. 2nd Paula Braiden. 3rd Brian Wilson. 4th Gloria Patterson. 5th Andrea McKeown.
Juvenile. - 1st Ryan Ferry. 2nd Alicia Dickson. 3rd Ian Scott. 4th Donna Gillespie. 5th Teresa McCartan.
Junior - Ist.Linzi Hamilton. 2nd Elizabeth Sloan. 3rd Laura J.Lawson. 4th Simon Kerr. 5th Caroline Clydesdale.
Novice - 1st Kiera Wilson. 2nd Craig Clydesdale. 3rd Lorna Robinson. 4th Philip McGonigle. 5th Gary Scanlon. 6th Laura Abrahams.