There was a good representation from bands present and the meeting was conducted by George Ussher, Chairman of the NI branch, who said the Branch was in a very healthy position and looking forward to the 2005 season.
Guests included Ian Embelton, Chief Executive from Glasgow, and Kevin Reilly, Chairman of the Association.
The recommendation from the Seven Towers Pipe Band that the pilot scheme run during this season for having two judges at the Branch competitions be continued and expanded to all competitions for the 2005 was passed.
This was except for the All Ireland and the Ulster Championships which will continue to have two piping, one ensemble and one drumming adjudicators. Thanks and praise was extended to Lorraine McVeigh, Joanne Davidson and Mervyn Mayes who have stepped down from their positions within the Branch.
Replacing them will be Margaret Montgomery as Branch Secretary and Roy McCullough as Trophy Officer.
Lorraine has held the important position as Branch Secretary for two years and Joanne Davidson for 12 years.
The veteran of the trio is Mervyn Mayes who has been Trophy Officer for 30 years with the Northern Ireland branch and they are indebted to all these people for their dedicated and hard work over this time.
All other Officers were voted back into their positions.
Amos Gilmore, Pipe Major of Cullybackey Pipe Band, is this year's 'Piper of the Year winner. The invitational solo event held in the Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena recently featured the cream of Ireland's pipers and was held under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Piping Society.
Amos was runner up at the recent All Ireland solos but went one better at Ballymena when he took the coveted title.
Gareth Rudolph, who comes from South Africa but competes in Ireland, quite often won the Piobaireachd section and Ryan Canning was the Junior piper of the Year.
Piper of the Year. 1st Amos Gilmore. 2nd Jonathan Greenlees. 3rdAlen Tully. 4th Ryan Canning.
Piobaireachd. 1st Gareth Rudolph. 2nd Jonathan Greenlees. 3rd Andrew Hall.
Jig and Hornpipe. 1st Jonathan Greenlees. 2nd Gary Watterson.
Junior Piper of the Year - Ryan Canning.
Strathclyde Police Pipe Band has announced the appointment of Donald MacKay as its 5th Pipe Major. The appointment follows the recent retirement from the position by Pipe Major James Wark who will retire from police service in December. Donald has been a piper in the band for three years after having served with the Highlanders (formerly the Queens Own Highlanders) for 11 years.
During Wark's three years as pipe major the band returned to the prize list at the RSPBA majors and their high point was in winning the British Pipe Band Championships in 2003.
The band's Drum Sergeant is Eric Ward, formerly from Banbridge Co. Down, who joined the band in 1995.
Gilnahirk Pipe Band held their AGM recently in Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church Hall. It was a well attended and lively meeting with a pleasing number of representatives from the junior section present. Although the band did not win any trophies this year, all present took consolation from the fact that they had finished in the top half of all contests entered. They are hopeful this should give them a strong position to build on for next season.
The band fulfilled many engagements during the year in a wide range of local and not so local events including several at hospitals, old people's residences, parades, festivals etc with many more events lined up.
The social side proceeds with the Christmas dinner well in hand. Contact Sammy Simpson on 9044 8081 for more information.
The junior classes are progressing well but there are still places for learners, especially pipers, and as always experienced pipers and drummers will be made very welcome.
There are over 150 drummers entered for this year's world solo drumming championships to be held in Bathgate Academy on Saturday 30th October. As usual this event will be sponsored by Sam Hodgen from Andante Percussion, Rathfriland Co. Down.