Big thank you from

New pipe major for Ballycoan 

GLEN Cupples has been appointed the new Pipe Major of the Grade 1 Ballycoan Pipe Band.

A civil servant from Belfast, Glen has been a piper with Woodgrange, Cullybackey, Leapoughs, McNeillstown and the Pipes and Drums of the RUC before joining Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in 2001. He piped with them during four of their world championships victories, and will bring to Ballycoan a wealth of knowledge.

With his appointment as Pipe Major of a Grade 1 band, it has now set up an interesting poser, for as far as this writer knows, this will be first time two brothers will meet head to head in the Grade 1 championships, as Glen's brother Robert is the Pipe Major of the newly promoted Grade 1 Cullybackey Pipe Band. Both these men are strong competitors and we all will await the 2008 season with interest to see who will come out the stronger.

Alfie Rea, who has been the Pipe Major of Ballycoan for 10 years and has seen the band progress up the grades to the top, will still be staying on as a piper in the band.

Ballycoan's most successful season was in 2002 when, under Alfie's leadership, they won all the five major championships - the Scottish, European, British, the Worlds and Cowal - to gain promotion to Grade 1.

Pipe Sergeant will be Simon Quee with Barney Megoran as Leading Drummer.

The 57th Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch, will take place at Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Knockmore Road, Lisburn, on Saturday November 10 at 10.30am for an 11am start.

The following Notices of Motion are to be discussed: The MAP format will be removed from the Ulster Championships and the competition will revert to a pre-MAP format. All competition prize money will be pooled into the Dividend fund and, at the end of the 2008 season, it will be divided in a manner decided by the guidelines of the Dividend fund.

Members of the RSPBA NI Branch bands may only compete in competitive piping and drumming events in Northern Ireland approved by the Northern Ireland Branch.

(These are all Recommendations from the RSPBA NI Branch Executive).

At RSPBA NI Branch competitions, the use of four judges in each ring will be optional and not a requirement. Notice of Motion proposed by the RSPBA NI Branch Executive.

There were also several alternations of RSPBA rules proposed by the County Antrim Section.

Also under discussion will be the proposal of putting a limit on the number of pipers and drummers able to compete in a band at a competition event.

Election of Officers for the 2008 year will take place at the end of the President's address and Chairman's remarks.

All bands are urged to be represented at this important meeting. Each band may send two representatives who will be entitled to speak at the meeting if their band is in compliance i.e. a paid up member for 2007. The voting power of any band is one band one vote.

Ulster Star