THE Annual Veterans' solo drumming, organised by Upper Crossgare Pipe band, has had to once again cancel their competition.
It is now planned to hold the event on Saturday 10 April in the Abbey Lodge Hotel Downpatrick. The reason for the cancellation is that guest Jim Kilpatrick, Leading Tip of the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead, and also winner of the world solo drumming championships 14 times, is unavailable because he has started up a new business.
He resigned from Premier Percussion in January to start Jim Kilpatrick Percussion Ltd. He hopes the new company will offer a range of new percussion accessories for the pipe band market, but stresses that, at this point, they will not be involved in the manufacture of drums.
Jim worked with Premier for 25 years starting at the age of 16 and has developed every band snare drum since the Royal Scot, including the HTS200 and HTS 700 models.
His work with Premier has also included accessories, including the development of the original Tendura pipe band head, Jim Kilpatrick drumsticks and the band snare drum carrier, first introduced in the mid 1980s.
He wishes Premier every success in the future and , intimated that he is still willing to play Premier drums.
The Seven Towers annual solo piping competition scheduled to be held on Saturday 6 March has been cancelled, mainly due to lack of interest, especially from senior pipers.
The solos are one of the longest running events in the pipe band calendar starting when the senior championship was won by Harold Hook from Dromara.
In the past these solos were dominated by names such as Norman Dodds, who claimed the title five times, and Richard Parkes a record of six times.
It is a sad day for solo piping as one by one these once popular events fail to attract players.
There are only now four solo events taking place: Cullybackey 3rd April; Ulster Festival of Piping and Drumming 16th and 17th April; and the All Ireland Solos 18th September. The fourth is the Piper of the Year invitational solo competition which takes place in Ballymena and is organised by the Northern Ireland Piping Society which is independent of the Pipe Band Association.
There are several concerts in the pipeline over the next few months. Bleary and District Pipe Band from Co. Armagh will be promoting their annual Evening of Gospel Music in Lurgan Town Hall on Friday 20 February at 8pm.
Taking part will be Joe Peden, Calvary Quartette, Christie Trio from Scotland, who will feature music from their new CD, and other supporting artistes. Admission is £5 and payable at door.
The Seven Towers (reigning Ulster and British champions) will be one of the guest bands appearing at the recently formed Warren Cultural and Education Society in Ballymena.
The concert will take place at Cambridge House Grammar School on Saturday 21 February.
This will be an Ulster-Scots heritage night featuring the Pride of Ballinran Flute Band from Kilkeel, the Fifes and Drums group, gospel singers the Rev. William McCrea and Paul Berry and Dunloy Accordion Band.
Compere will be Robert Agnew and tickets can be obtained by telephoning 2564 2587.
Leapoughs Pipe band are organising their concert on Saturday 6 March in Dromore High School starting at 8pm.
A reminder also of the Seven Towers annual concert, which is taking place this year on Saturday 3 April in St. Patrick's Church Hall, Broughshane.
All these events are well worth planning to attend. Banbridge Pipe Band will be holding a buffet and dance evening in Banbridge Hockey Club on Friday 30 January starting at 8pm.
The music will be provided by Heartbeat and tickets are available from band members or pay at door.