Big thank you from

Special guest at Co Down Festival of Piping 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE Co. Down Festival of Piping will be held this year on Saturday 18th June in the beautiul setting of Castle Ward.

Mervyn Herron, the contest organiser, is delighted that he has been able to secure the guest appearance of the Edinburgh Tattoo Highland Dancers at this event.

This group of ladies have performed many times at the Tattoo in Scotland and are in great demand all over the country.

The Edinburgh Tattoo first took place in 1950 and since then more than 11 million people have attended with around 100 million watching the event on television.

The first lone piper was Pipe Major George Stoddart, who played in every performance for the first eleven years, before passing over to his son Gavin.

The Tattoo is set up to run for charitable purposes and over the years has gifted some £5m to service and civilian organisations.

The Edinburgh Highland dance group have already made a special appearance in Northern Ireland in 2003, also at the Co. Down Championships, where they were a huge success with the supporters.

The Co. Down section of the RSPBA will be holding their meeting on Wednesday 9th February in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel and a good attendance from members is requested.

The Extraordinary meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA took place last Saturday in Lisburn and was chaired by Chairman George Ussher. George welcomed the representatives from new band Lisnamulligan from outside Rathfriland to their first meeting of the Association as well as other representatives from the Branch.

The meeting was well attended and all outstanding business matters were completed.

It has been announced that one of the oldest competitions in the British Isles - The Mini bands which is usually held in Ballygowan - is moving to a new home in Saintfield School. They will also be changing from a mini bands competition to a full bands and the new venue should provide the extra space needed. All bands are urged to support this new venture.

The World Pipe Band Championships will be held for the next five years at the usual venue in Glasgow as Headquarters has signed a new agreement with Glasgow City Council.

It has also been announced that Barbara Crothers, daughter of National Council Representative Kenny Crothers, will be taking on the position of Assistant secretary for the Northern Ireland Branch. She will assist the new Branch secretary Margaret Montgomery.

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will take place from the 11th to the 13th March in the Watermill Hotel, Paisley. Names are to be given to Margaret Montgomery as soon as possible. She can be contacted on 92 621621.

Ryan Canning, who pipes with the 2004 world champions Field Marshal Montgomery, has compiled his first collection of bagpipe music times entitled 'The Full Monty'.

Ryan is a prolific composer whose tunes are noted for their musical innovation. A total of 51 tunes are in the book, which includes contributions from well-known pipers such as Fred Morrison, Willie McCallum, Craig Turnbull, Don Bradford, Megan Harrington and Colin Edgar.

This collection promises to be one of the most exciting in recent years to showcase the works of composers.

Ryan can be contacted by telephoning 01563 527002.

Ulster Star