FOR the last nine years Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band have dominated the Grade 1 competition at the Malahide Festival of Piping. But last Saturday St. Laurence O'Toole from Dublin, with a brilliant display of piping and drumming, succeeded in taking that crown from them, to claim the overall first place prize at the championships.
St. Laurence O'Toole, who are the reigning world drum corps champions, also won the Grade 1 best drum corps trophy under Leading Tip Stephen Creighton.
And to complete the celebrations their Pipe Major Terry Tully was also awarded the prestigious President's award for 2007. This had to be the best accolade for a man who undoubtedly has boosted the interest of piping in the South of Ireland more than any other person.
Grade 2 was won by Cullybackey with Ravara taking the drumming. Annsborough won Grade 3A;
Drumlough 3B; St.Laurence Howth Grade 4A and Dr.Wright Memorial the final Grade 4B.
Drum Major winners were Laura Abraham (Novice), Lorna Robinson (Junior), Ryan Ferry (Juvenile) and Brian Wilson (Senior).
On May 19 the action will transfer to Scotland with the Scottish Championships taking place in Dumbarton.
Nineteen bands will travel over to compete in this the first of the major competitions to take place this season.
The first of the local outdoor competitions will be the Co. Fermanagh Championships taking place on Saturday May 26 at the new venue of the Broad Meadows Enniskillen and staring at 1pm.
The Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School has just held its 27th Annual Presentation of Certificates in Laurelhill Community College, Lisburn and Magee Campus, University of Ulster.
The Certificates were presented at Lisburn by the Stormont Assembly Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots, whilst the ceremony in The Great Hall at Magee College was performed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Allen.
Over one hundred students gained certificates with Bill Garrett receiving Grade 8 certificates in both Theory of Music and Practical Piping. The School Director, Sam Bailie, paid tribute to the staff at both colleges for their help and support and presentations were made to Professor Allen, Dr Billy Kelly and Sinead Grant from The Institute of Ulster Scots Studies, University of Ulster.
In his address, the Director praised all the students and tutors in both centres for their hard work and dedication over the year. He announced that Four students, Raymond Campbell, Alan Ferguson, Bill Garrett and Russell Tinney had also been successful in gaining the RSPBA Advanced Certificate. This would be the last time such examinations would be held as the Advanced Certificate was being replaced by a new SQA qualification. In was stated that the school continued to supply tutors and performers for school workshops, community centres, events and celebrations.
A recent development was the interest in third level institutions in accrediting the school syllabus and negotiations are in progress. The Director made reference to the fact that education was a constitutional imperative of the RSPBA but was all too often neglected in favour of an over emphasis on competition. Education was prolonged hard work with no public acclaim and in its 27 years the school had managed to attract a total of over 2,500 students.
It was also reported that a pilot project in Enniskillen had reaped full rewards and that another 60 students would be receiving their certificates soon. A permanent centre in Enniskillen would be in place from September 2007.
Both presentations were followed by light supper and musical performances by students of the school. The new term will commence in September in Lisburn, Magee College and Enniskillen. Anyone interested should contact the school office in Lisburn on 9262 8591.
Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Laura Abraham. 2nd. Rachael Caldwell. 3rd. Emma Barr. 4th. Matthew McKinney. 5th. Elizabeth Morrow.
Junior - 1st. Lorna Robinson. 2nd. Craig Clydesdale. 3rd. Gary Scanlon. 4th. Lauren Muldrew. 5th. Dale Fisher.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Linzi Hamilton. 3rd. Samantha Gordon. 4th. Caroline Clydesdale. 5th.Gemma McKinney.
Senior - 1st. Brian Wilson. 2nd. Paula Braiden. 3rd. Alicia Dickson. 4th. Vikki Singer. 5th. Andrea McKeown.
Grade 4B - 1st. Dr.Wright Memorial. 2nd. Upper Crossgare. 3rd. Clontibret. Best Drums Bellaghy.
Grade 4A - 1st. St.Laurence Howth. 2nd. Killadeas. 3rd. Cullybackey. Best Drums Rasharkin.
Grade 3B - 1st. Drumlough. 2nd. Raffrey(also best drums). 3rd. Killen.
Grade 3A - 1st. Annsborough. 2nd. Cottown. 3rd. Arklow. Best Drums New Ross & District.
Grade 2 - 1st. Cullybackey. 2nd. Ravara (also best drums). 3rd. Seven Towers.
Grade 1 - 1st. St. Laurence O'Toole (also best drums). 2nd. Field Marshal Montgomery. 3rd. Scottish Power.