Big thank you from

Encouraging start for new soloists' organisation 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE first venture of the new Competing Soloists Organisation took place recently at Monkstown Community School. It was a two-day event and over 150 entries were received.

It was an encouraging start for the new promotion and augurs well for soloists in the future.

To maintain the standard demanded by the solo pipers and drummers, the CSO committee engaged the services of experienced adjudicators, many of whom were previous gold medal winners and former world champions.

Among the prizes given out were a set of McCallum Bagpipes, Kilmarnock - a week-long residential course donated by the National Piping Centre Glasgow - practice chanters from the Pipers Cave Cookstown - practice pads and sticks presented by Andante Percussion Rathfriland, together with CDs, tapes, books and accessories.

New trophies were also presented by Robert Brannigan, Fred Russell and the Sefton Family.

The committee also awards the Silver Quaich to people who have been recognised for their meritorious services to solo pipers and drummers. This year it was given to William Maxwell, a highly regarded piper and piping instructor, who has provided encouragement and inspiration to many pipers and who was a founder member of Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band.

The overall championship winner for piping was Andrew Carlisle and the overall drumming championship winner was Philip Bell.

This competition had to be a good platform for all soloists hoping to compete in the major Ulster Solos, which will take place on 16th April and organised by the Northern Ireland Branch.

At the moment there are over. 170 entries but this total is sure to go up before the competition. Mervyn Herron, contest organiser, is the man to contact for entries and he can be reached on 40624849 or mobile 077 0268 1189.

The adjudicators will be for piping: - Stuart Sheddon, Chris Armstrong, Donald McPhee and for drumming Gordon Brown, John Scullion and Eric Ward.

The starting time is 10am for pipers and I lam for drummers. Competitors need to sign in at 9.30am and the venue will take place at Monkstown School.

Also please note that all trophy holders for the Ulster Championships need to return their trophies as soon as possible to either Roy McCullough or Mervyn Herron.

Mervyn would also be very interested to hear from anyone who would have copies of any old programmes and old photographs dating back to when the Association was formed. These are required for an anniversary edition of the Pipe Band Magazine. Phone him on the above telephone number.

The Seven Towers Pipe Band will be in concert in Ballee High School on Saturday, 16th April commencing at 8pm.

Supporting artists will include Kellswater Flute Band, Kellie and Edith with compere Robert Agnew. Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased from Colin on 25882079 or any band member.

Two weddings took place last weekend. The first was held on Friday 1st April when Neil Ussher, son of Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA George Ussher and his wife Elyse, married Claire Compston. Neil is a drummer with Ravara Pipe band.

Then on Saturday 2nd April Elaine married Noel Mullan, Pipe Major of newly promoted Grade 1 Ballinderry Bridge Pipe Band.
Many band members were at the weddings to wish every happiness to both these young couples.

Results of Solo Competition.
Novice Piobaireachd. 1st Andrea Cooney. 2nd Jamie Walker. 3rd Glen Ferry.
Open Piobaireachd. 1st Andrew Hall. 2nd Andrew Carlisle. 3rd Jonathan Greenlees.
Novice Chanter. 1st Robert Green. 2nd Emille Cromie. 3rd Dale Fisher.
Advanced Chanter. 1st Bradley Parker.
Juvenile section one piping. 1st Jamie Walker. 2nd. Emmett Conway 3rd Neil Milliken (Adj Pref.)
Juvenile section two piping. 1st Jemma Redmond. 2nd Jonathan Lamberton. 3rd Junior Duke.
Junior Piping. 1st Ashley McMichael. 2nd Michelle Redmond. 3rd Kristopher Coyle (Adj. Pref.)
Intermediate B piping. 1st Graeme Bryce. 2nd Graham Stirling. 3rd Alan Ferguson.
Inter. A. Piping. 1st Ryan McFarland. 2nd Andrew Shilliday. 3rd Francis Smyth.
Senior Piping MSR 1st Gordon McCready. 2nd Andrew Carlisle. 3rd Andrew Hall.
Senior piping H&Jig. 1st Andrew Carlisle. 2nd Gordon McCready. 3rd Andrew Hall.
Senior overall piping champion. 1st Andrew Carlisle. 2nd Gordon McCready. 3rd Andrew Hall.
Novice Drum Pad. 1st Kyle Black. 2nd Neil Sharp. 3rd Stephen Bolton.
Advanced Drum Pad. 1st David Johnston. 2nd Dean Smyth. 3rd Adam McClenaghan.
Juvenile Drumming. Section One. 1st Stephen Paynter. 2nd Clarke Campbell. 3rd Conor Cooney.
Juvenile section two. 1st Lee Reynolds.2nd Mark Featherstone. 3rd Aaron McLean.
Junior Drumming. 1st John Murphy. 2nd Jonathan Irvine. 3rd Nigel Anderson.
Intermediate Drumming. 1st John Henderson. 2nd Mark McFetridge. 3rd Neil Pinkerton.
Senior Drumming. 1st MSR. 1st Philip Bell. 2nd Gavin Noade. 3rd Lee Lawson.
Senior Drumming H. & Jig. 1st Gavin Noade. 2nd Philip Bell. 3rd Lee Lawson.
Senior overall champion. 1st Philip Bell. 2nd Gavin Noade. 3rd Lee Lawson.
Busy year ahead for Magheragall Pipe Band

LESS than two years ago a newly formed pipe band was constituted and since that time it has gone from strength to strength.

Currently it has 25 active members, most of whom had no musical experience prior to joining.

The Band recently held their Annual General Meeting and the officers for 2005/2006 are as follows: Chairperson - William A. Leathern, Vice Chairperson - Rosemary Wills, Hon Secretary - Helen Tolerton, Hon Treasurer - John Crockard, Uniform Officer - Ian Tolerton, Pipe Major - Billy Jackson, Pipe Sergeant - Valerie Jackson, Drum Sergeant - John Crockard

The new Chairperson William Leathern thanked his predecessor Robert Moore and conveyed the best thanks of the Band members to the three tutors who give up their Wednesday nights to teach the trainees the pipes and drums. The two other main item of business for the forthcoming year were the Dedication of uniforms and instruments on Saturday April 23 2005 at 6.30pm in Magheragall Parish Church Hall.

Following the Dedication there will be a short programme of Ulster Scots entertainment incorporating local Bands, Scottish Dancers and Clatter o' Fowk (part of the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra).

After the concert the Band will lead a parade from Magheragall Parish Church Hall to Lowquarter Orange Hall where there will be a family barbeque followed by entertainment provided by Gareth Fulton.

"There has been a lot of work in the planning and organising of this event as we want to make it a memorable occasion for the Band, their families and the local community" said Mr Leathern.

"We also want to build on the rapidly developing interest in Ulster Scots music and traditions and associated culture. "We hope there will be a large turnout for the event and everyone will be assured of a warm welcome."

He also said they were indebted to the community and local businesses for their support in the establishment of the Band and they looked forward to being able to serve the community in various ways.

And he confirmed they have already accepted various engagements for the forthcoming year including the Mayors Parade on May 14 and the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.

Ulster Star