"IT just gets bigger and better" was the comment of all last Saturday when the Co. Down section of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA, in conjunction with Banbridge District Council, held their annual indoor championships in Banbridge High School.
The 2004 competition was dedicated to the memory of the late Pipe Major Charlie Dodds, and a special trophy was presented by his wife Beth.
Indeed so big have these championships become that everyone couldn't get into the hall to hear the bands. But the overflow added to those watching the thirty or so drum majors as they held their contest outside.
This refresher event was a new venture to the Indoor championships this year and has proved once again a winner for Mervyn Herron, secretary of the Co. Down section, and his hard working team.
The prizes were presented by Mrs Cassie McDermott Chairman of Banbridge District Council and the adjudicators were Trevor Dear and Jennifer Hutcheson for piping, Jim Baxter for ensemble and Leslie Geddis for drumming.
Grade 4B. 1st Letterkenny & District. 2nd McNeillstown. 3rd Antrim. 4th Cleland Memorial plus best drums.
Grade 4A. 1st Annsborough also best drums. 2nd Gortaclare. 3rd Aughintober. 4th Battlehill.
Grade 3B. 1st Marlacoo. 2nd Seven Towers. 3rd Altnaveigh Memorial plus best drums.
Grade 3A. 1st Banbridge. 2nd Arklow. 3rd North Belfast, plus best drums. 4th Black Raven.
Grade 2. 1st Ballinderry Bridge. 2nd Killadeas. 3rd Cullybackey, plus best drums. 4th Upper Crossgare.
One of the world's premier pipe bands - St. Laurence O'Toole - will provide a unique musical feast when it presents its first ever full-scale concert in Northern Ireland on Saturday 6 May in the Shimna Suite at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, Co. Down.
The concert, entitled 'Dawning of the Day' - is promoted by Banbridge Pipe band, and tickets can be purchased from Gary McDonald 4062 6543, Keith Gourley 4062 3222 or any member of the band.
The Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA has once again produced a visitors' information leaflet. It is a guide to pipe band contests and family entertainment for 2004 and gives all the dates and venues commencing in May through until the finale of the Cowal Highland Games in Dunoon in August.
As well as massed bands there will be highland dancing, stalls, dancing displays, drum majors and other attractions on the clay.
The leaflets are free and can be obtained from Lorraine McVeigh, branch secretary, telephone 97521657, or Mervyn Herron contest administrator telephone 4062 4849.
The Eighth annual Ulster Festival of Piping and Drumming took place recently at Monkstown Community School.
The winner of the overall senior piping was Alen Tully with Stephen Creighton winning the senior drumming trophy. Both are members of St.Laurence O'Toole Pipe band from Dublin.
Open Piobaireachd. 1st A. Carlisle. 2nd Alen Tully. 3rd S. MacLeod.
Juvenile Piping. Section one. 1st E. Conway. 2nd J. Lamberton. 3rd M. Culleton.
Juvenile piping section two. 1st J. Simpson. 2nd C. McCallion. 3rd M. Ferguson.
Junior Piping. 1st A. Shilliday. 2nd L. McNicholl. 3rd S. MacLeod.
Intermediate Piping. 1st R. McFarland. 2nd G. Stirling. 3rd K. Rodgers.
Intermediate Piping 'A' 1st A. Carlisle. 2nd C. McFarland. 3rd R. Canning.
Senior Piping. 1st A. Tully. 2nd A. Hall. 3rd A. Gilmore.
Juvenile Drumming. Section one. 1st G. McLees. 2nd C. Finlay. 3rd S. Paynter.
Juvenile drumming section two. 1st J. Hoy. 2nd C. McNicholl. 3rd M. Featherstone
Junior. 1st Jason Hoy. 2nd W. Glenholmes. 3rd S. Skinner.
Intermediate drumming. 1st S. McWhirter. 2nd J. Henderson. 3rd N. Pinkerton.
Senior drumming. 1st S. Creighton. 2nd L. Lawson. 3rd G. Noade.