Big thank you from

The end for some championships? 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

A MEETING of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association was held last Saturday in the Bridge Centre Lisburn.

This was an important meeting as rule changes and recommendations were put forward to be discussed at the Annual General Meeting to take place on Saturday November 12. Chairman George Ussher welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance.

To date everything is on track with all the Councils to host a competition in their town next season except for Newcastle and Bangor. At the moment there are grave doubts if a competition will go ahead in these two towns but negotiations are continuing to find a solution to the problems.

Hopefully these talks will reach an agreeable completion quickly, otherwise it could be the end, after many years, of hosting successful pipe band championships in Newcastle and Bangor. The Northern Ireland Branch will be inviting all bands and drum majors who won world titles last season to a celebration evening in the Comfort Hotel, Antrim.

This will take place on Friday November 25 with the Ulster Youth Ensemble providing the entertainment.

The Ensemble has performed at many prestigious events throughout Ireland and further afield.

There will be new faces at next season's events when Rasharkin Pipe Band will enter the competition arena for the first time in Grade 4B.

Mountjoy Pipe Band from Tyrone, who have been out of the competitions for some time, is another band that will make their debut next year.

At the 2005 world solo drumming championships, which were held at Bathgate Academy, last Saturday, Jim Kilpatrick won the adult title for an incredible 16th time.

Jim is the Leading Tip with the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band and had led their drum corps in winning the world title for an amazing fourteen times.

To date he is the most successful drummer in the world and after his outstanding victory last Saturday, it doesn't look as if he has any intention of retiring.

His record is one which is the envy of all drummers and which will take some effort to equal -never mind surpass.

Drummers from Ulster to feature in the winners prize list were Clarke Campbell (Bready Ulster Scots) who was 6th in the Juvenile section One; Gareth McLees (North Belfast Pipe Band) 2nd; Jonathon Hoy (Cullybackey) 3rd; and Aaron McLean (Bleary) 4th all in the Juvenile section Two. Christopher McNicholl (Bleary) 2nd ; Jason Hoy (Cullybackey) 4th and Jonathon Colville (Cullybackey) 6th - all in the Juvenile section 3.

Sam Hodgen from Andante Percussion Rathfriland Co. Down who has just signed a new contact to sponsor this event for another 5 years sponsored the Drumming Championships.

It is hoped that the world drumming championships will be held in Northern Ireland in 2006.

Mervyn Herron will once again be producing the popular pipe band calendar, which will feature dates and events taking place within the pipe band fraternity. It is hoped these will be avail-able very soon but Mervyn will take orders now. Call him on 4062 4849.

On Friday October 21 the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association received great news from BBC Scotland. The BBC will be present at the 2006 Worlds Championships to record for broadcast sections of the championships.

Champagne corks were popping all over the country and according to Marketing and Media Convener Mervyn Herron this was the best news possible for all our Pipe bands and Drum Majors.

Ian Embelton, together with Mervyn Herron and Tommy Millar, had a meeting in August with the Commissioning Editor Television Euan Angus about the BBC becoming involved with Pipe Band events.

The meeting was most useful and he agreed to send two staff members to the worlds on a fact-finding mission. This proved to be beneficial for the BBC and resulted in their decision to join forces with the RSPBA. Thanks are also due to Rab Wallace who also lobbied the BBC on piping pro-grammes. Overall it was very successful and all bands should be pleased with the outcome to date.

Ulster Star