Big thank you from

Important decisions taken at AGM  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

SOME important decisions were reached at the Annual General Meeting of the RSPBA, which took place on Saturday, March 13 in Glasgow.

Honorary President of the RSPBA status was conferred by the National Council on Councillor Alex Mosson, City of Glasgow Council and Honorary Vice-President status conferred on Matt Connell, former chairman of  the Association.

Agreement was reached that the RSPBA,s Adjudicators panel will now be formally an integral part of the Associations constitution and will report directly to the National Council. All adjudicators on the approved list will have RSPBA membership status, making them more accountable in terms of adjudication standards, competence, and conduct.

Because of these changes, there will be more opportunity for the Music Board to focus on the RSPBA's education and training programme in an effort to raise performance standards in piping drumming and drum majoring.

The recruitment process for entry to the Adjudicators panel is to be made more rigorous with new procedures being introduced by the adjudicators training group for mentoring of new and existing adjudicators, and for assessing competence and for continuing professional development all in an effort to raise adjudication standards. Confirmation that the format for the 2004 Grade 1 World Championships will again require qualification for a Final with a maximum of 14 competing bands. Six bands will pre-qualify for the Grade 1 from the Major championships in 2004 prior to the world

Pre-qualification depend on competing in all major championships prior to the world, championships.

Up to six bands will pre-qualify from a Grade 1 competition (consisting of all entered Grade 1 bands which have not prequalified) held on the morning of the event prior to the Final. Any non-RSPBA registered band, which achieved a top six prize list placing at the 2003 world championships final will pre-qualify for the 2004 final. Banbridge senior and junior pipe bands will be on stage on Saturday, March 27 at 2.00pm when their annual Saturday afternoon concert will take place.

This has always been an excellent afternoon of piping and this year's event should prove to be one as well.

The bands are under the direction of Pipe Major Alan Gourley and Leading Tip Keith Gourley, both with the senior outfit. Banbridge Junior is under the leadership of Will Lyons and Andrea Boyd along with Leading Tip Thomas Carey. Special guest will be Dunloy Accordion Band, and the venue is the Football Club Castlewellan Road Banbridge.

The Seven Towers Pipe Band are presenting a Night of Music on Saturday, April 3 in St. Patrick's Church Hall Broughshane commencing at 8.00pm.

The Cullybackey solos are scheduled for the same day (April 3) and a good number of entries have been received for the event.

The next meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA will take place on Saturday, March 27 in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn, with a 2.00pm start.

It is good news that Pipe Major Richard Parkes is back home and making really good progress. According to a close friend, Richard got out of hospital last Friday, and will be resting at home for several weeks. He plans to take his place again as Pipe major of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in the very near future.

Ulster Star