Big thank you from

Large entry for All Ireland solos in Banbridge 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE All Ireland Piping and Drumming solos will take place on Saturday 18 September in new venue of Banbridge High School.

There is a large entry of 232 for this event and the starting time is 10am for pipers and 1am for drummers.

As the entry is so large tuning rooms will be at a premium and rooms will only be available to competitors and not to individual bands. Contest secretary Mervyn Herron would deeply appreciate everyone's co-operation in this respect.

The next branch meeting of the RSPBA will be held on Saturday 25 September at 2pm in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn.

Any band having a change or alternation to any rule Notice of Motion or Recommendations should forward these to Branch Secretary Lorraine McVeigh in writing before Saturday 18 September to be read at the Branch Meeting.

The 54th Annual General Meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch will be held in the Bridge Community Centre Railway Street, Lisburn on Saturday October at 10.30am for 1am start. All bands are urged to be represented as it is really for their own benefit to have their views and ideas discussed at this important meeting.

All band secretaries who are interested in completing the child protection course should contact Lorraine McVeigh, Branch Secretary, as soon as possible. Her telephone number in 97521657 or mobile 07808 761623.

The Belvoir Drum Majors classes will be resuming on Saturday 2 October in Belvoir Parish Church Hall and every Saturday until the 27 November.

The times of the classes will be 2 to 4 pm and they are open to drum majors from all types of bands.

The class is run under the guidelines of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and will be taught this year from the new drum majors instructors' manual.

John Noble, eight times world senior champion, will be coming over to take a class every month. This is a great opportunity to be taught by one of the best in the world.

A date for your diary is the Annual Display and Presentation of Certificates. It will take place on Friday 25 February 2005 in Belvoir Parish Church Hall commencing at 8 pm. For further information please contact Ronnie Davidson on 90 298837 or mobile 07734 151494.

There are also drum major classes held in the Bowling Club Pavilion, Banbridge from 10.30am to 12.30pm. These classes are taught by qualified instructors, many of whom are ex world champions themselves. More information can be obtained from Mervyn Herron on 40 624849.

Portglenone's fifth annual Gig On the Bann music and dance festival took place recently in the village along side the beautiful river Bann. This popular event has now become one of the major events on the Summer Festival Calendar, having built a reputation for offering a most impressive line-up of top performers spanning Traditional, Scottish and Folk Music circles. This year's Festival built on the success of previous years and saw artists from across Ireland and Scotland being brought to Portglenone for the weekend.

For pipe band enthusiasts the centre of attraction was the pipe band competition, which saw 20 bands battle in out in the four sections. Section A was won by Ballinderry Bridge, World Grade 2 champions, followed by Marlacoo and Seven Towers. Section B was won by Grade 3B champions - Seven Towers with Marlacoo, Battlehill and Gortaclare the other winners.

Section C went to Battlehill with Gortaclare McNeillstown and Bellaghy making up the rest of the prize list.

The final grade of Section D was won by Grade 4B world champions McNeillstown with Antrim in second, Cleland Memorial in 3rd and Grove in 4th place.

Adjudicators were Jonathan Greenlees, Willie Garrett, Harold Brownlow and Richard Coffey. At the end of the competition all bands did a parade of the Village where a large crowd had gathered to give their support and enjoy the splendid display put on by some of Ulster's best pipe bands.

On the Saturday evening the concert in the Old Factory at Wild Duck Inn featured the highly acclaimed group DANU, with the pipes and drums of St.Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band.

The evening was an outstanding success before a packed hall of music enthusiasts and everyone went away delighted with the most impressive performances from both groups.

Ulster Star