PIPE Major Richard Parkes received a wonderful honour last weekend when he was awarded the MBE on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his contribution to piping, especially with the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.
Richard has completed over 21 seasons as pipe major of the band and has transformed it into one of the most respected and successful pipe bands in the world.
His unique talent for producing consistent quality sound and excellent competition arrangements has taken the band to numerous major championships.
The Richard Parkes success story has reached the four corners of the world, with Field Marshal having players from Ulster, Australia New Zealand, Scotland and England among the ranks.
Although Richard has always put the band first, he has achieved several notable solo successes, including winning the Jig competition at Inverness and London in 1988, Strachan Memorial MSR in 1990, 3rd in Medallion MSR in 1991, seven times All Ireland senior champions eight times Piper of the Year, and nine times Ulster Senior Champion.
All in the pipe band fraternity send their heartiest congratulations to him on this very well deserved honour.
The British Championships, the second of this year's five majors, took place last Saturday in Turriff Scotland.
It was a very successful journey for Altnaveigh Memorial who won the Grade 3B title under Pipe Major Colin Moffett. Bo'ness RBLS won the drumming championships.
In Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead took the British title in both piping and drumming with Field Marshal Montgomery second, followed by St.Laurence O'Toole third, Strathclyde Police fourth, Boghall & Bathgate fifth and Scottish Power the final sixth placing.
Two other Ulster bands competing in Grade 1 were Ballycoan and Bleary who tied on points with Ballycoan getting the 12th placing on ensemble preference and Bleary 13th.
The first place winners in the other grades were Drambuie Kirkliston who won Grade 2 and best drums; Lomond & Clyde Grade 3A with Oban taking best drums; Linlithgow & District 1st place and best drums in Grade 4A and Kirkwall City the winners in Grade 4B.
The Mid-Ulster section of the RSPBA are celebrating their 50th Annual Pipe Band and Drum Majors championships on Saturday 19th June at Cookstown High School sports arena.
This year's event marks a milestone for the Mid-Ulster section and they are promising a special day's entertainment for everyone. They have an entry of 56 bands and 41 drum majors, with a full entry of five bands for the Grade 1 competition. Grade 2 has nine entries, 12 in Grade 3A, seven in Grade 3B 11 for Grade 4A and 12 for 4B.
The Adjudicators for the day are Robert Brannigan and John Nevans for piping, Gordon Parkes and Gordon Craig for drumming, with Arlene Callaghan, Joe Wilson, Jeffrey McCready and David Brownlee for Marching and Deportment.
Prior to the championships, the Mid-Ulster section are proud to host the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in concert on Friday 18th June in Burnavon Centre, Cookstown. Tickets can be purchased form the centre 8676 9949 and cost £12.50. Secretary Gloria Patterson has promised this to be one of the best ever weeks of piping in the Mid-Ulster and there will be loads of entertainment on the Saturday as well.
Down Pipe band Championships will take place on Saturday 26th June
As usual Contest Secretary Mervyn Herron and his team have pulled out all the stops to make this event one of the best in the pipe band calendar.
Lady Faulkner, who was the special guest of honour at the Belvoir Drum Majors evening on Friday 5th March, has written to secretary Ronnie Davidson to pass on her congratulations for a splendid and most enjoyable night.
She writes "I've had the pleasure of presenting prizes to quite a number of schools down the years but I have never seen such a well disciplined and polite class as those coming to collect their certificates that evening. The display was splendid and a fitting tribute to Alicia Dickson's skill and dedication of her pupils.
"For me it was especially welcome to have the opportunity to renew my family's association with the Cleland Pipe band, whose trophies were displayed in our dining room in Bangor so many years ago, and also to be reminded of the Faulkner family's links with the Scottish Pipe Band Association and the Faulat Girl Pipers."
vision of the Pakenham project, which is a cultural musical
programme, that seeks to prepare pipers and drummers to a
competitive standard, has taken two long hard years to
But the hard work has paid off for Ballydonaghy Pipe band with the fruition of a Grade 4B Pipe Band.
"We had a vision of establishing a feeder band and it has taken this length of time," said Jim Wilson, the founder of the Pakenham Project.
"We also greatly appreciate the financial assistance from the Arts Council for NI." Winston Pinkerton and Charlie Rea are the tutors and the band is made up of local children, some as young as eight and nine, and a few more `mature' members to add experience to the band.