Big thank you from

Nat Russell honoured by Australia  

NAT Russell originally from Northern Ireland and ex Pipe Major of the Pipes and Drums of the RUC was recently honoured as part of the Australia Day celebrations.

Nat immigrated to Australia in the early 1990's and became Pipe Major of the 1998 World Grade 1 championship band - the Victoria Police.

The band later lost their sponsorship money, which enabled them to travel to Glasgow for the world-piping event, and was never able to defend their world title.

As part of the Australia celebrations Nat was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to pipe band music as a Pipe Major, teacher and adjudicator.

The award is regarded as the Australia equivalent of the United Kingdom's member of the British Empire (MBE) medal.

Richard Parkes Pipe Major of the reigning world Grade 1 championship band - the Field Marshal Montgomery Pine Band - was also awarded the MBE for service to pipe band music in June 2004.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band have confirmed they will perform at the annual pre-world's concert at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall on Wednesday August 8.

The annual concert has been organised and promoted by the Phoenix Honda-Glasgow Skye Pipe Band since the early 1990's and has always featured a prominent Grade 1 band.

The last time that the Field Marshal Montgomery performed at the concert before the Worlds was in 2002 when the band performed its 'Unplugged' show, which was later recorded.

Last year the Vale of Atholl was the guest band at the 2006 pre-World's concert and they too later released a DVD of the event.

It was a very successful evening of entertainment last Friday when the Grade 1 Ballycoan Pipe Band took to the stage at the Lagan Valley Island Centre as part of the Robert Burns celebration night.

The band performed along with the Aisling School of Dance; Robert Rea; the Ellis School of Highland Dancers; Sandy McGhee; Terry Blackburn and Beyond the Pale; and Alistair Murray.

Compere for the evening was the former President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (Northern Ireland Branch) Councillor Ronnie Crawford.

A very special drumming exhibition in aid of the Kilronan Special School in Magherafelt will take place on Saturday February 24 in the Royal Hotel Cookstown from 6pm until 9pm. With the line up of drummers prepared to take part in this event, it promises to be a feast of drumming never heard before in Northern Ireland.

Those taking part in this very worth-while event will be the new world solo drumming champion, Stephen McWhirter (Simon Fraser University Canada); Jim Kilpatrick (16 times winner of the worlds solo drumming - the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band); Gordon Brown (two times world champion - Boghall & Bathgate); Barry Wilson (World Finalist -Scottish Power); Stephen Creighton (World Finalist -St. Laurence O Toole); Philip Bell (World Finalist -Field Marshal Montgomery); Brendan Megoran (World Finalist-Ballycoan); Chris McNicholl (Juvenile Section Three world solo champion -Strathclyde Police); and Gareth McLees (Juvenile section two world solo champion Ravara).

This surely has to be an event any drummer or indeed anyone interested in drumming would not dare miss. Admission is £10 and all proceeds will go to Kilronan Special School. If anyone wishes to contribute to this charity event please contact Gary Smyth on 0781 444 6179.

Ulster Star