Big thank you from

Field Marshall Montgomery take centre stage 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE organisers of the 43rd Belfast festival at Queen's have secured a total of almost 20 Ireland, UK, European and world premieres for this year's festival programme. From October 21 to November 6, artists and events from countries including Spain, Lithuania, Australia, United States Denmark Japan, England, Ireland, Scotland, India and Poland will flock to Belfast to entertain audiences in
venues right across the city.

Speaking at the launch, Stella Hall, Festival Director said: "Over the years the Belfast festival at Queen's has grown from a small campus based event in the early 60s to what it is today, the biggest international arts festival in Ireland.

"Each year the festival has endeavoured to bring a rich and diverse selection of artists and event to Northern Ireland to create a vibrant festival programme that appeals to everyone and this year's theme of 'Families and Communities' has enabled us to continue that fine tradition."

As part of this festival the 2004 World Pipe Band Champions and the current Scottish and European Champions - Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, under the direction of Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Keith Orr, will be appearing at the Whitla Hall on October 28 commencing at 8.30pm.

They will perform along with Galician piper Carlos Nunez and his band.

Also appearing at the Whitla Hall on Friday October 28 will be the Tulla Ceili band sup-ported by the Ulster Youth Ensemble under the leadership of Sam Bailie.

The Ensemble is a cross-cultural, cross-community group incorporating piping, drumming drum majors and Highland Irish and Scottish Country dancing.

The programme provided is intended to depart from the usual production of pipe band performances and will include a section on classical and piobaireachd music and dance alongside Irish and Scottish music and dance. There will be a free Scottish Country and Irish ceili dance workshop on November 1.

Tickets for Belfast Festival at Queen's events are now on sale at the Festival Box Office on 9097 1197 open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.

The 'Piper of the Year' invitational competition was held recently in the Adair Arms Hotel Ballymena where seventeen of the cream of Ireland's top pipers competed for this prestigious award.

Claiming the title was Andrew Hall who is the Pipe Major of the West Midlands Police pipe band. He was second in the Hornpipe and jig and winner of the Piobaireachd section. Runner up was Ryan Canning who was the winner of the Hornpipe and Jig section, and Andrew Carlisle and Gary Watterson completed the prize list.

Jonathan Greenlees and Andrew Carlisle were second and third in the Piobaireachd section and Ryan McFarland was named the 'Young Piper of the Year'.

Pipe Major Brian Donaldson and Pipe Major Chris Armstrong, who are themselves top soloists, were the adjudicators, with both giving recitals after the competitions.

Castlerock Pipe Band, who have been upgraded to Grade 3B, are looking for a new Pipe Major to lead the band next year.

Last season the band under the leadership of Pipe Major Jonathan Campbell had many successes claiming the ultimate victory of winning the world championships in August. Anyone interested please contact any member of the band.

The Robert Wiseman Dairies Vale of Atholl Pipe Band have confirmed that Ulster man Paul Turner has taken over again as leading Tip with the band.

He replaces Ian Tobin who has been in charge of the drum corps since 2002.

Paul had been with the Vale of Atholl in the 1980's playing under the then Pipe Major Ian Duncan. He left them in the 1990's to drum with the Victoria Police drummers in Australia and then with the Grampian Police and Dysart & Dundonald before leaving in 2004.

Bass drummer John Mack has also left the Vale of Atholl to go to university and he will be replaced by Jamie Lindsay, a former member of the band.

In a press release Vale of Atholl said that they are delighted that Paul has decided to rejoin the band and they are firmly focused on progressing with a view to success at the various major pipe band championships that lie ahead.

Ulster Star