CHIEFTAIN of the Day Sam Hodgen welcomed everyone to the 2006 County Down Pipe Band Festival in the grounds of Banbridge Academy last Saturday.
It was one of the biggest competitions so far this season with 55 pipe bands and drum majors competing.
Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery carried off almost all the first place prizes - winning the medley, MSR which gave them first overall placing as well as the best drum corps, and Marching and Deportment.
St. Laurence O'Toole, who were runners up, won the best bass. Ballycoan and Ballinderry Bridge were the other winners in this grade.
Ravara with Pipe Major Sammy Connolly had a successful day when they took the top placing in Grade 2. They, along with Field Marshal Montgomery, Ballycoan and Seven Towers, will be travelling to Pitlochry next week to compete in the British Championships.
The other winners of their grades were Battlehill in Grade 3A; Aughintober in 3B; St. Laurence Howth in 4A and Killadeas in 4B.
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland branch are presenting an evening with The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra at the Ulster Hall Belfast on September 23. Tickets are available from the RSPBA NI Branch Office at 32a Bachelors Walk Lisburn 9267 0445.
The last of the first half of this season's competitions will be the All Ireland Championships and this year it will be held at Letterkenny on Saturday July 1 starting of l lam.
There will then be a two-week break for the bands before the second half of the season begins with the North Down Championships in Bangor on Saturday July 22.
Entries for the solo piping and drumming competitions organised by the Competing Soloists Organisation at the Glenarm Castle Highland Games will close on Monday July 3.
There will be juvenile under 12 and over 12 and under 15 years and over 15 and under 18 years as well as junior and intermediate grades.
This spectacular event on Thursday July 13 and Friday July 14 will take place in the beautiful grounds of Glenarm Castle and is always a popular day out for the whole family.
Entry forms can be obtained from Samuel Lawson, 8 Annaghanoon Road, Waringstown, Craigavon BT66 7RZ or phone 3882 0374.
Grade 4B - 1st. Killadeas (also best drums). 2nd. Derryclavin (also M&D). 3rd. Saintfield. 4th. Bready. Best Bass Rasharkin.
Grade 4A - 1st. St. Laurence Howth (also best drums and best bass section). 2nd. Dromara. 3rd. Raffrey. 4th. Cullenfad.
Grade 3B - 1st. Aughintober. 2nd. Gortaclare (also best drums). 3rd. Cottown (also best bass section). 4th. Ballydonaghy (M&D).
Grade 3A - 1st. Battlehill (also best drums and M&D) 2nd. Arklow. 3rd. Annsborough. 4th. Banbridge. Best Bass section Altnaveigh.
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara (also M&D) 2nd. Cullybackey (also best drums) 3rd. Ens. pref. Killeen. 4th. Seven Towers (also best bass section).
Grade 1 - 1st. MSR 1st Med. 1st overall. Field Marshal Montgomery (also best drums). 2nd. St. Laurence O'Toole. (best bass section). 3rd. Ballycoan. 4th. Ballinderry Bridge.
Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Lauren Hanna. 2nd. Lauren Abraham. 3rd. Bethan Martin. 4th. Rachael Caldwell. 5th. Dionne Woods
Junior - 1st. Lorna Robinson. 2nd. Linzi Hamilton. 3rd. Samantha Gordon. 4th. Kiera Wilson. 5th. Craig Clydesdale.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Emma Chambers. 3rd. Jemma Clydesdale. 4th. Donna Gillespie. 5th. Gemma McKinney.
Senior - 1st. David Brownlee. 2nd. Andrea McKeown. 3rd. Kathy Megarry. 4th. Brian Wilson. 5th. Paula Braiden.