Big thank you from

Special guests at Drum Majors' annual display 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE Belvoir Drum Majors will be presenting their annual Drum Majors Display and Presentation of Certificates on Friday 25th February in Belvoir Parish Church Hall at 8pm.

This event is supported by the Ulster Scots Agency and the guest of honour this year is The Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast Lady Carswell.

Other guests will include Lady Faulkner of Downpatrick, the Mayor and Mayoress of the City of Lisburn, Mr George Patton, Chief Executive of the Ulster Scots Agency and Councillor Seamus Close and his wife.

The class will be under the instruction of Drum Major Kathleen Smyth and the music will be provided by the Cleland Memorial Pipe band.

There will also be items from Laura Dobson, Michelle Johnston, Naomi Orr (Highland Dancing) and Neil Milligan and Jamie Walker (solo piping). The Inspecting Officer will be Mrs Olive Robson. The Frank Rainey Memorial with Pipe Major Francis Smyth will bring the whole evening to a close.

The first competition of the pipe band season will be the Seven Towers solo piping and drumming competition.

It will take place on Saturday 5th March in Ballee Community High School, Ballymena commencing at 12 o'clock.

There are sections for novice and advanced practise chanter and drum pad; juvenile piping and drumming for under 15 and for 15-17 years old; junior piping and drumming; intermediate and senior piping and drumming.

There is a great entry of competitors and piping adjudicators are Harry Stevenson and Jimmy Young with Barry Wilson and Neil Ussher for drumming. Tamlaght O'Crilly Pipe Band are making a comeback in the competition arena this coming season. The band will play in Grade 3A under Pipe Major Gary Dempsey

This band was one of the top Grade 2 bands a few years ago and ceased competing due to lack of personnel. They have now re-formed and will be challenging in a lower grade.

Their first outdoor competition will be the Malahide Festival of Piping, which takes place on 14th May. The Howard Memorial Pipe Band's 80th Anniversary Concert will take place on Saturday 26th March at 8pm in the Armagh City Hotel.

This event will feature the St.Laurence O'Toole Pipe band under Pipe Major Terry Tully. This band is renowned for its unique performances and is one of the top concert bands, much sought after all over the world. Tickets are selling fast and the number to contact for more information on ticket outlets is Pipe Major David Cross 077331 61369

The Saintfield Pipe Band will be holding their competition on 23rd April and this year they plan to hold a full bands event.
This format of full indoor bands competing has proved a runaway success for the Co. Down section who have been holding their event this way for some years now.

The competition will take place in Saintfield High School, which is a new venue. It used to be a mini bands event which was the longest running piping event in the British Isles, and it is hoped that now with this forward thinking idea of having full bands competing the Saintfield name will continue to live on.

Ballydonaghy Pipe band, who compete in Grade 3B, are looking for a new Leading Tip.

The band is under the direction of Pipe Major Stephen McCauley and have a full drum and pipe corps ready for the new season's competitions.

Anyone interested or would like more information please contact their secretary Patricia Pedlow on 9261 3092.

The last meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA before the start of the 2005 season will be held on 26th February in the Bridge Community Centre, Lisburn at 2pm.

A full report of the recent National Council meeting in Scotland will be given by Mervyn Herron and Kenny Crothers at this meeting.

Also on the agenda will be the final arrangements concerning the Annual General Meeting which takes place in Glasgow on 12th March.

Ulster Star