Big thank you from

Dromara Band makes comeback 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

DROMARA Pipe Band, which has not competed since 1985, are staging a come back to the competition arena this season.

Playing under Pipe Major Rickie Newell and Leading Tip Thomas Carey the band will compete in Grade 4B.

The band was formed in 1920 when 11 young men of the district met in the home of Samuel McManus and decided to start a pipe band.

Their first pipe major was Samuel McManus, who was a pipe and drum instructor - a feat very rare amongst pipe bands of our day.

He was succeeded by Joe McDowell and then James Campbell, who led the band to their most successful victory when they won the World Grade 3 drumming championships at Balmoral in 1956.

A young piper in the band who was finding fame as a solo player was then elected to the task of now leading Dromara Pipe Band.

Pipe Major Harold Hook's successful solo wins included the Ulster Solo Championships,

which he won five times — three in succession, several All Irelands as well as winning the Piper of the Year award.

The band now has 11 pipers who will be under the experienced tutoring of Rickie Newell.

Rickie is no stranger to the pipe band scene having been instructor of several pipe bands. His most treasured victory was when he was Pipe Major of the then Grade 3 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band when they won the world championships.

So paving the way for a young Richard Parkes who continues to lead this elite Grade 1 world-class band to the present day.

The six drummers are under the instruction of Thomas Carey who until recently was the Leading Tip of Banbridge Junior Pipe band and before that of the senior band.

Thomas had many successes with Banbridge and he brings a wealth of experience and commitment now to Dromara.

If you are interested in joining Dromara band, as an experienced or learner piper or drummer, then Pipe Major Rickie Newell will be happy to let you have further information of practices times etc. Contact him on 02892 638442.

Ballinderry Bridge Pipe Band will be the guests on Tommy Miller's 'Touch of Tartan" radio show this Sunday January 29. The Grade 1 band is under the direction of Pipe Major Noel Mullen.


Ravara were the guests last week and they now have a learner's night for anyone interested in piping or drumming. These classes will be held every Monday at their band hall. Contact Pipe Major Sammy Connolly on 9751 9284 for further information.

Some months ago it was learnt that Switzerland's pipe band community is now affiliated with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

In a letter from their spokesperson Peter Mueller he said that this was clearly a big step for-ward for a rather small and 'isolated' country.

After months of preparation and with much appreciated support from Gordon Lawrie of Balloch, the Pipe Band Association of Switzerland (PBAS) was officially founded in Switzerland's capital city of Berne last Spring.

The aim of the association is to improve the standard of piping and drumming in the country, to increase publicity and, last but not least, to move closer to the pipe band community in Scotland and the rest of the world.

They had their first solo and pipe band championships last August in which adjudicators Malcolm MacKenzie (Piping) and Jim Hutton (drumming) from Scotland officiated.

The well-attended event attracted 2500 enthusiastic spectators and also featured the highland games competition as well as the piping events. They have a website for anyone seeking further information, and it is

The first of this year's meeting of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA will take place at the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn on Saturday January 28 commencing at 2pm.

There is much to report on the news and views of the Association and a good attendance is requested by band representatives.

Ulster Star