Big thank you from

Bands to help with Children in Need 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

AFTER the very successful television presentation of the European Pipe Band Championships from Lisburn recently, Mervyn Herron, who hosted the two programmes, is in negotiations with the producers to stage an exciting event for the worthwhile `Children In Need' charity gala, which will be taking place in November.

Mervyn has written to the six world champion pipe bands and the two world champion drum majors to see if they would be interested in taking part in this fund raising event which will be televised all over the British Isles.

While everything is still in the planning stage it is hoped that the bands will do a short parade to the marquee at Blackstaff Studies with a possible spot of playing with Ronan Keating singing `Amazing Grace'.

This would be a terrific thing for the pipe band movement to be involved in and it is hoped that everyone will be encouraged to support this venture.

There will also be an opportunity for every band in the Northern Ireland branch to contribute to this worthy cause and Mervyn will be writing to them to ask for .their backing and support as he seeks to put this exciting programme together.

This year's world solo drumming championships take place on Saturday 30th October in Bathgate Academy and will be sponsored by Sam Hodgen and Andante Percussion from Rathfriland.

There are 150 drummers entered for this prestigious competition and many will be travelling from Ireland to compete.

Co. Antrim held their section meeting recently and it was announced by George Ussher, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA, that it is hoped to hold a major pipe band championship in Ballymena in 2007.

This is exciting news for Northern Ireland and Ballymena Council is delighted to be in the running for such an event.

After a successful competition held in Broughshane in June, the committee are eager to stage the 2005 event in the village, and plans are already underway for this.

Also, the Seven Towers Pipe band, in conjunction with the Co. Antrim section, is going to reinstate their Solo competition on Saturday 5th March 2005.

The committee are hoping to bring across from Scotland top adjudicators, and they are asking all solo competitors to support them in this event. With so many up and coming solo players it was felt there was a need to revive the solo scene in the Ballymena District, as there are only two solo competitions which are open for everyone to compete in.

They are the All Ireland and the Ulster championships, which are under the auspices of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA.

The Northern Ireland branch is inviting all six world champion pipe bands drum majors and drum corps to a Finger Buffet in the Island Centre, Lisburn on Tuesday 30th November. This is in recognition of the superb performances from the Ulster competitors at the World Championships in Glasgow in August this year.

The winners were Field Marshal Montgomery (Grade 1); Ballinderry Bridge (Grade 2); Finvoy (3A) Seven Towers (3B); Annsborough (4A) and McNeillstown (4B); Gortaclare drum corps (4A). Brian Wilson (senior drum major) and Elizabeth Sloan (junior drum major).

It is hoped that Minister Angela Smith will be the guest of honour.

The 11th William Kennedy Piping Festival was launched last Tuesday 26 October. There were guest performances from Tommy Sands, Richard Parkes and Tiarnan 0 Duinnchinn. Guest of honour was Councillor Eric Speers, Mayor of Armagh.

The Festival will run from the 16th to the 21st November in several venues around Armagh. Appearing on Wednesday 17th November will be the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.

This will tale place at the Market Place Theatre starting at 8 pm.

Ulster Star