Big thank you from

Plans underway to make world championship week 'Piping Hot' 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

DURING the week of the world pipe band championships, the National Piping Centre hopes to organise a `Piping Hot' Festival in Glasgow.

The Festival, which has received pledges of £70,000 in public funds, will link up with existing events such as Glasgow Skyes concert in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and the National Piping Centre's own recitals and workshops, as well as recitals run by the College of Piping and others.

Executive Officer of the RSPBA Ian Embelton says the idea of the Festival is good as long as the main focus remains on the world pipe band championships.

That is the real reason thousands of bands men and women travel from all parts of the world to Glasgow.

The World Championships bring between 30,000-40,000 people to the city for what is the biggest day in the piping calendar. Glasgow City Council are renegotiating with Headquarters for a new contract to stay at Glasgow Green for the next three to five years. The current contract expires this year.

This year's Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will take place on Saturday 13th March at the Quality Central Hotel in Glasgow. Anyone wishing to go must give his or her name to Branch Secretary Lorraine McVeigh as soon as possible.

One of the top issues to be debated is that the world championships become a two-day event. But which two days? Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday? It will be interesting to hear the outcome of this proposal.

As before the overall costs for band representatives will be subsidised by the Northern Ireland Branch.

The Belvoir Drum Majors will be taking part in a BBC television programme. A television crew will be going out to Belvoir Parish Church Hall to film the drum majors taking part in all their training activities. Further details of time and date will be confirmed soon.

The South Belfast Cultural Society will be running a Burns Education Programme on Friday 23 January and this will be funded by the Ulster-Scots Agency and Laganside.

The programme will take place in five venues starting at 12 noon and running through till 6pm. The venues are Donegall Road Primary School, Donegall Road Methodist Church Hall, Sandy Row Community Centre, Donegall Pass Community Centre and the John Hewitt Bar in the centre of Belfast.

If any Burns enthusiasts are in the City Centre on the 23rd, they are invited to drop into the Hewitt Bar for a taste of Haggis and Scottish Fold music. Proceedings start at 5pm. The project will involve a series of workshops on Bag piping, Scottish Folk music, Highland dancing and Burns poetry. There will also be live performances by the Scottish Folk Group Cutting Edge and Scottish dance group Celtic Spirit.

Talented piper Brian Rea of Ballycoan Pipe band will pipe the Haggis into the five venues and play a selection of traditional piping tunes.

The first branch meeting of the New Year will take place on Saturday 31st January at the usual venue of the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn starting at 2pm.

Two dates for your diary: - Leapoughs annual concert will take place on Saturday 6th March at Dromore High School starting at 8pm and Seven Towers will once again be staging their annual concert on Saturday 3rd April at St. Patrick's Church Hall, Broughshane. Both these events are always popular and well worth planning to attend.

Ulster Star