FORTY world champion pipers and drummers led by senior world champion drum major Brian Wilson took to the streets of Belfast last Friday for the Children In Need appeal.
After the very popular television programme which featured the European Pipe Band Championships from Lisburn, the BBC invited the Northern Ireland Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's presenter Mervyn Herron to plan some way the public could further enjoy the music of the pipes and drums.
And what better way than to do so - and also make a contribution to the very worthwhile Children In Need event - than to invite the six world champion bands and drum majors to take part.
August 2004 was the first time in the 74-year history of the world championships that all six senior grades were won by the same branch of the association, and that honour was achieved by Northern Ireland.
Field Marshal Montgomery, Ballinderry Bridge, Annsborough, Seven Towers and McNeillstown all were able to take part on the night but regrettably
Finvoy were not able to make it to Belfast. They had a prior engagement, also for Children In Need, in Ballymoney.
The massed bands under the leadership of Pipe Major Mark Faloon paraded down Great Victoria Street and round to the BBC television marquee where they made their television appearance. Chairman of the Northern Ireland branch George Ussher and treasurer Kenny Crothers presented a cheque for £1,000 to George Jones on behalf of the pipe band association.
It was indeed a great honour for our pipe bands to be allowed to take part in this venture and thanks must go to every one of them for enduring the long cold evening in order that Northern Ireland viewers could be treated to the privilege of hearing the best pipers and drummers in the world.
Jonathan Greenlees is a young man who is enjoying a great deal of solo piping success lately. When he competed at two solo events recently he picked up a prize at both.
At the Scottish Society of London competition, he took part in the section of the Strachan Cup for march strathspey and reel and was successful in winning fourth place.
At the invitational solo piping held in Dungannon he won 1st place in the MSR section. An excellent result by one of our top solo pipers. Gordon McCready was runner up and Andrew Carlisle was third.
Andrew also finished in second place in the hornpipe and jig - a result that earned him overall winner of the contest.
Andrew is a piper with the world Grade 1 champions - Field Marshal Montgomery - and has a great future ahead of him in the solo field.
Connor McCallion from Ballinderry Bridge won the hornpipe and jig section with Alen Tully taking third placing.
This competition was judged by Fred Morrison and the compere was Ronnie Crawford, President of the Northern Ireland Branch.
Also in the prizes at the Scottish Society of London event was Robert Watt from Maghera who was third in the Beaton cup for hornpipe and jig.
Representing Northern Ireland at the Pipe Major Willie Ferguson solo piping competition, which will take place on Saturday 27th November at the Robert Gordon College Aberdeen, will be Connor McCallion and Mark Ferguson.
Both these young lads are starting to make a name for themselves on the solo scene and we wish them every success.
The last meeting this year of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA will take place on Saturday 27th November in the Bridge Community Centre. Lisburn starting at 2pm.