Big thank you from

Former FM piper coming back from LA to Scotland  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

AS of 1 April 2004, Andy Ross will take full control of Megarity-Ross, the well-known reed making company based in Long Beach, California.

His partner Stephen Megarity, originally from Armagh, has returned to make his home permanently in Scotland, and will establish his own reed making business in Kilmarnock.

Stephen has lived in the Los Angeles area for several years and returned to Scotland last year. He now pipes with Grade 1 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe band, but originally played with Field Marshal Montgomery and his local band, Killeen from Co. Armagh.

Stephen was a solo piper of distinction having claimed many titles while living in Northern Ireland. He played with the Field Marshal Montgomery Band in their most famous year when they won every major title and were crowned Scottish, British, European Cowal and World champions. He will no doubt prove a valuable asset to Boghall & Bathgate as they challenge for top honours this incoming season.

Leapoughs Pipe band will be holding their annual concert on Saturday 6 March commencing at 8pm in Dromore High School.

This is always a very popular event organised by the ever-youthful Hubert Greer, and a top line of artists have been secured for the evening.

They include John Trotter multi instrumentalist, a country and western group called Delux, Jim McKillop fiddler who will be accompanied by John Cunningham on guitar, singer Mary Mark, and the Upper Crossgare Pipe band - the Grade 2 Ulster Champions.

The host band will open the show and tickets cost £5 or you can pay at the door.

There is an appeal from Lorraine McVeigh, secretary of the Northern Ireland Branch, for bands to please nominate a member to attend this year's Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday 13 March in Glasgow.

The travel arrangements are as follows: 12 March - leaving Belfast on the HSS sailing at 17.10hrs; 14 March - Returning to Belfast on the HSS sailing at 14.45 his.

It is vitally important that as many band representatives as possible attend this annual meeting where there are many items of important business to be discussed.

Ken Stewart has taken over the reins as Pipe Major of Grade 4A Castlerock Pipe Band. Along with Ken, the addition of Billy Weir as Pipe Sergeant and Willie Wray from Drumahoe as Leading Tip, will make this outfit a formidable team this incoming season.

Ken Stewart has a wealth of piping knowledge and has a corps of 16 pipers.

Willie Wray Leading Tip has 11 sides, 6 tenors and 1 bass drummer from which to form his drum corps. Willie has the unique distinction of having won the world championship title in drumming five times - in 1986, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 covering Grades two three and four. He is an outstanding tutor and as well as leading drummer of Castlerock has a young up and coming class of learner drummers.

The drum corps of Castlerock Pipe Band will be holding a ten hour sponsored drumming marathon on Saturday 28 February in Castlerock.

This event has been planned to raise money for new drums and kilts for the band.

The William Kerr Memorial Pipe Band will be presenting an afternoon workshop on piping, drumming and marching and dress on Saturday 28 February from 4 to 7 pm in St. James Parish Hall, the Square, Moy.

Those taking part will include well-known piper and top solo player Robert Watt and Alastair Patterson, champion drum major.

This is open to all pipe band members at all levels, and is an opportunity to learn something new or to share their expertise with others.

From 7.30pm there will be a number of recitals from those taking part and everyone is welcome. For further details please contact Brian McLean on 87784361.

Ulster Star