THERE was a special celebration held at the Park Plaza Hotel Aldergrove last Friday to honour all the pipe bands, drum corps and drum majors who succeeded in winning world titles at the 2005 World Pipe Band Championships held at Glasgow Green Scotland in August.
This event was organised by the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA and Chairman George Ussher welcomed everyone and congratulated all those who had done Ulster so proud at the championships.
Bands receiving this honour were Seven Towers, Annsborough, Castlerock, Drumlough and the drum corps of Ravara, Marlacoo and Sgt Walker.
Donna Gillespie, the only world champion drum major, was also honoured for her outstanding achievement and received a gift to mark the occasion.
Presentations of a Galway cut glass bowl engraved with the name of the winning band was presented to each of the band's representatives by National Council members Kenny Crothers and Mervyn Herron and Vice-President Eddie Montgomery.
Sam Bailie and his Ulster Youth Ensemble provided the entertainment.
This group, which was formed just under one year ago, put on an excellent show, with a good mix of music and dance.
It was good seeing these young people, who are between the ages of 10 and 17 years old, using their talents in piping, drumming and dancing.
There was also a drum majors display led by senior drum major Paula Braiden.
The 2006 Pipe Band calendars are now on sale. They are in lovely colour and feature not only the dates for many of the events for next year but a picture gallery of some of the highlights of last season's events.
Bands featured each month include Raffrey, Killadeas Cullybackey, Annsborough, Castlerock, Ballycoan, Banbridge Junior, Seven Towers, Ballinderry Bridge, Drumlough and Armagh Breague.
Calendars can be purchased from Mervyn Herron by telephoning 4062 4849.
Just recently we reported of the changing scene among leading drummers especially in Grade 1 bands. Glasgow Pipes and Drums, Vale of Atholl, Prince Charles, Los Angeles Scots and the City of Washington have all appointed new leading drummers.
The latest change is now closer to home with the news that Andrew Scullion has returned to the Grade 1 pipe band scene having joined Ballinderry Bridge Pipe Band as their new Leading Tip.
He was the former leading drummer with Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band but left in 2002 and was replaced by Keith Orr.
Andrew has been undoubtedly the top solo drummer ever in Northern Ireland having won three world titles and 15 All Ireland and 15 Ulster titles.
He was the first man to ever win champion of champions in Scotland when it was introduced some years ago.
An interesting event happened some months ago when Derek Boyce and Jimmy Boyle from Killeen Pipe Band played at the wedding of a couple from Hull but who wanted to be married on top of Slieve Donard near Newcastle Co. Down.
According to Derek, and as far as he could find out, this was the first time that pipers ever played on the top of Slieve Donard Mountain.
It must have been a hard climb but they managed to reach the top and still have enough puff left to play 'Scotland the Brave' as the happy couple were married.
The climb certainly worked wonders for them for in spite of having stiff legs, the next day, they and their band entered the competition arena and won first prize in Grade 2.