Big thank you from

High hopes for Eden Pipe Band 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

PIPE Major David Caldwell has high hopes of Eden Pipe Band from Plumbridge, which is just outside Omagh, competing next season.

This band has been absent from the piping scene for some years now but in its day was one of the top contenders in Grade 1.

Eden Pipe band grew out of Omagh True Blues which was led for many years by David's father Pipe Major Billy Caldwell and the late Sammy Hall as Leading Tip.

David has 11 pipers with the potential of at least 3 more working hard preparing for next year. Leading Tip Ian Hetherington from Londonderry has 6 experienced drummers also ready to challenge in the Grade 2 arena.

Eden band was formed in 1971 under the leadership of Pipe Major Tom Barbour and had many successes under his leadership.Jackie Hamilton took over as Pipe Major a few years later and he led the band right up to Grade 2. In 1980 he handed the reins over to the young talented solo piper David Caldwell who was Pipe Major from then to 1996.

David and Eden pipe band had many achievements with the highlight of winning the world and All Ireland championships in the same year one of their most treasured victories. The following year the band were promoted to Grade 1 and continued to challenge till the band ceased competing some 7 years ago.

It is really good news that Eden hope to return to competing in Grade 2 especially as Ballinderry Bridge from Co. Tyrone who were in Grade 2 has now been promoted to Grade 1.

We wish Eden every success and look forward to hearing them in the contest arena next season.

Strathclyde Police will appear in concert under the auspices of the Mid-Ulster Drumming School on 7th May 2005. The concert will take place in Maghera High School and Gary Smyth will have tickets available for this event very soon.

In the past the Mid-Ulster drumming school have had such big names as world champions Field Marshal Montgomery; the Pipes and Drums of the RUC and just last year the guest band was Scottish Power.

This is the second visit of the Strathclyde Police to Ulster and they will appear under the direction of their new Pipe Major Donald MacKay and Leading Tip Eric Ward.

The band has the amazing achievement of winning the world championships 6 years in succession from 1981 to 1986 and this remains a feat unbeaten by any other pipe band.

During their most successful period the band was led by Pipe Major Ian McLellan who was awarded the British Empire medal in 1982 for his outstanding services to piping.

Donald MacKay was appointed Pipe Major at the end of the 2004 season having taken over the role from Pipe Major Jim Wark. Jim also had his victories with the band leading them to the top 6 positions in all of the 5 major championships.

Eric Ward's most recent success was winning the drumming championship title in Grade 1 in 1999 at the Scottish championships.

It will be a very interesting concert for all piping enthusiasts especially to hear the band under their new leader.

Belvoir Drum Majors will resume their classes in Belvoir Parish Church Hall on Saturday January 8 and every Saturday until February 26, 2005 commencing at 2pm. They will be under the command of their instructor Drum Major Kathleen Smyth and all pupils especially new ones will be made very welcome.

A date for your diary is February 25, 2005 when the annual display and presentation of certificates will be held at 8pm in Belvoir Parish Church Hall.

Ulster Star