Big thank you from

Fermanagh host first band contest

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE first of the 2006 season of pipe band competitions took place last Saturday with the Co. Fermanagh Championships.

Ballycoan with Pipe Major Alfie Rea took the title in Grade 1 winning best pipes and best drums. Drumlough newly promoted this season to Grade 4A had a good victory winning their grade. They compete under the leadership of Pipe Major Ian Burrows.

Other title winners were Raskarkin in Grade 4B; Gortaclare in 3B; Battlehill in 3A and Killeen in Grade 2.

This event has been organised for over twenty-five years by secretary Ken Booth and his wife Betty. This year will be their last one and the responsibility will now be taken over by Ian Marshall.

The President of the Co. Fermanagh section Mr Jim Henderson paid tribute to their dedication and devotion over the years and presented the couple with a gift at the dinner held after the competition.

The Co. Antrim Festival will be held in Ballymena Showground's on Saturday June 3, commencing at 12 noon.

Forty pipe bands and 39 drum majors are entered for the Festival, which will include a solo under 17 piping competition judged by Glenn Cupples. Three bands have entered for Grade 1-Ballinderry Bridge, Ballycoan and Bleary as well as a good entry of 6 bands in Grade 2.

For the entertainment of the spectators there is also hoped to have a parachute jump by Eugene Dixon before the finale takes place.

Adjudicators for Ballymena will be J. Campbell, J. Moles, H. Stevenson and J. Simpson for piping, S. Steele and M. Wilson for drumming and A. Aitken and M. Mackenzie for ensemble.

Cookstown is the venue for the Mid Ulster Championships, which will take place on Saturday 10th June.

On Saturday June 17 the contest will be in Banbridge with the Co. Down Piping Festival again starting at 12noon.

Fifty bands will be competing for the championship titles including Field Marshal Montgomery, St. Laurence O'Toole, Ballinderry Bridge, Bleary and Ballycoan.

The second of this year's major championship events will be the British Championships taking place at Pitlochry Scotland on June 24.

This is one of the most beautiful settings for a competition in Scotland and there will be several local bands travelling over to compete.

Pipe Major Bill Livingstone has announced that Stuart Cassells of Falkirk Scotland will be joining the 78th Fraser Highlanders from Toronto Canada for the 2006 pipe band season.

Stuart gained international recognition last year when he became the BBC Radio Scotland's Young Traditional Musician of the year 2005.

He has played with Scottish Power and the Vale of Atholl and featured on a soundtrack of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film.

His first solo recording 'Blown Away' with his folk band 'Cassells' was released in April.

The Pipe Band world is saddened to learn of the news of the sudden death of Jonathan Campbell Pipe Major of Cullybackey and PSNI Pipe Bands. Deepest and sincere sympathy is extended to his family and friends.


Grade 4B

1st. Rasharkin also best drums. 2nd. Killadeas, also best bass section. 3rd. Saintfield. 4th. Bready Ulster Scots.

Grade 4A

1st. Drumlough. 2nd. Dromara. 3rd. McNeillstown. 4th. Manorcunningham. Best drums Cullenfad. Best Bass Gransha.

Grade 3B

1st. Gortaclare also best drums and best bass. 2nd. Killen. 3rd. Aughintober. 4th. Ballydonaghy.

Grade 3A

1st. Battlehill also best pipes best drums best bass M&D. 2nd. Banbridge. 3rd. Tamlaghy O'Crilly.

Grade 2

1st. Killeen also best pipes, best drums best bass. 2nd. Seven Towers. 3rd. Marlacoo. Grade 1 - 1st. Ballycoan also best pipes, best drums best bass and M&D. 2nd. Killeen. 3rd. Seven Towers.

Novice Drum Majors.

1st. Laura Abraham. 2nd. Lauren Hanna. 3rd. Lauren McKeown. 4th. Bethan Martin. 5th. Dione Woods.


1st. Kiera Wilson. 2nd. Linzi Hamilton. 3rd. Samantha Gordon. 4th. Lorna Robinson. 5th. Gary Scanlon.


1st. Donna Gillespie. 2nd. Ryan Ferry. 3rd. Emma Chambers. 4th. Caroline Clydesdale. 5th. Jemma Clydesdale.


1st. David Brownlee. 2nd. Kathy Megarry. 3rd. Paula Braiden. 4th. Andrea McKeown. 5th. Alicia Dickson.



Ulster Star