THE House of Edgar-Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band - world Grade 1 champions in both piping and drumming - were announced the Pipe Band of the Year 2005 at the Scot's Traditional Music Awards at Queen's Hall, Edinburgh recently. Some of Scotland's top musicians and groups were also honoured.
Pipe Major Robert Mathieson was there to accept the award on behalf of the band and he congratulated the other nominees whose bands represent the most established pipe band development organisations in the country.
This season Shotts came back from two major defeats (Field Marshal Montgomery won the Scottish and the European Grade 1 titles) to win the British, the Worlds and Cowal. They also celebrated the record 16th win of their Leading Tip - Jim Kilpatrick MBE who won the world solo drumming championships in October.
The full band will be bringing in 2006 in Edinburgh Castle playing on BBC Scotland's Hogmanay live television show.
Andante and the National Council of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band
Association have signed a new deal keeping the sponsorship of the World Solo Drumming for another five years.
The deal was announced just before the results ceremony of the World Solo Drumming.
It was also announced that a decision had been taken by the National Council to take the 2006 World Drumming Championships to Northern Ireland and a venue is currently being looked at.
This was seen as a way of thanking Andante for their continued support, without whom there would be no event, and of course the drummers and the pipers who play for them who travel across the water every year to take part.
Sam Hodgen was present at the announcement and was absolutely delighted with the news.
It has just been reported that the 2005 Grade 2 RSPBA Champions of Champions, Drambuie-Kirkliston Pipe Band has chosen to disband rather than continue to search for other funding after losing its sponsorship from the Drambuie Liqueur Company. The band had been set to start its first season in Grade 1 in 2006 after it was officially upgraded.
According to Pipe Major Ian Duncan it was decided at a meeting of its members due to the end of the Drambuie sponsorship and no other sponsorship forthcoming, to dissolve the band.
He went on to thank all the members for their commitment and in particular Pipe Sergeant Steven Small and Leading Tip Alex Dudgeon.
The Drambuie Company withdrew sponsorship of the band after experiencing financial challenges and redeveloping its marketing and sponsorship programmes.
The majority of the world's Grade 1 bands including Field Marshal Montgomery operate without significant sponsorship.
It is with sadness that we learn of the death of Gordon Duncan who died suddenly at his home in Pitlochry.
Gordon was the brother of Ian Duncan Pipe Major of the Drambuie-Kirkliston Pipe band. He was a gifted piper and a man of many talents and sympathy is extended to his family and friends.
More than 100 side, tenor and bass drummers attended the first Kincardine Drums workshop in Ontario Canada to get instruction from Jim Kilpatrick MBE, Leading Tip with world champions Shotts and Dykehead Pipe band, John Fisher, Craig Colquhoun and Tyler Fry.
The two-day workshop allowed students to receive instruction from teachers on the first day and on the second day to gain interactive experience listening to live performances and analysing performance from the top three prize winners at the world pipe band championships on DVD.
So successful was the event that plans are already under way to repeat the workshop next year.
The first of the 2006 Northern Ireland branch's meeting will take place on Saturday January 28 in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn.
A Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all pipers, drummers, drum majors and their supporters.