THE North Down Pipe Band Championships took place last Saturday at Bangor Castle. This competition, which is in its 53rd year, kicked off the second half of the pipe band calendar, and brought to the town a colourful and family fun day for all the holidaymakers, competitors and supporters alike.
All Ireland champions Ravara were in top form winning 1st overall place in Grade 2 and tying with Cullybackey in piping plus winning best drums, best bass and marching and deportment. In 3A Annsborough secured the title and won best drums and best bass section.
In 3B Drumlough, who have been unbeaten this year, made it 11 wins in succession under Pipe Major Ian Burrows. An amazing feat for this talented outfit.
Other winners on the day were Cullybackey who played up in Grade 1 and took first place, and Cullenfad and Bready Ulster Scots who won the titles in 4A and in 4B.
Next week's competition will be the European Championships in Inverness when a few bands from Northern Ireland will travel over to compete at the event.
Moira Demesne is the venue for this year's Ulster Championships on August 4. The Hamilton Police Pipe Band from Ontario Canada, as well as the College of Piping Pipe Band from Prince Edward Island in Canada will be competing on the day.
Both these bands, along with special guest solo piper Ryan Canning, will be appearing at a special concert in Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Knockmore Road, Lisburn on Friday August 3. Tickets from the RSPBA Office on 9267 0445.
Also on the Saturday evening (August 4), the Tannahill Weavers will be making a guest appearance at the Ulster Pipe Band Festival in Moira commencing at 7pm with free admission to the Festival Marquee.
Grade 1 - 1st. Cullybackey (also best drums). 2nd. Killeen. (Also best bass)
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara (also tie for best pipes, best drums best bass and M&D). 2nd. Cullybackey. (tie for best pipes) 3rd. Killeen. 4th. Seven Towers.
Grade 3A -1st. Annsborough. (Also best drums and best bass) 2nd. Cottown. Both bands tied for best pipes.
Grade 3B - 1st. Drumlough. 2nd. Ballydonaghy. 3rd. Raffrey. (Also best drums and best bass).
Grade 4A - 1st. Cullenfad. (Also best bass) 2nd. Gransha. (Also best drums) 3rd. Cullybackey. 4th.Colmcille.
Grade 4B - 1st. Bready Ulster Scots. (Also best drums and best bass). 2nd. Cleland Memorial. 3rd. Dr. Wright Mein. 4th. Clontibret.
Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Elizabeth Morrow. 2nd. Emma Barr. 3rd. Rachel Caldwell. 4th. Laura Abraham. 5th. Bethan Martin.
Junior - 1st. Gary Scanlon. 2nd. Dale Fisher. 3rd. Lauren Hanna. 4th. Stephen Gilchrist. 5th. Emma Nixon.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Samantha Gordon. 3rd. Emma Chambers. 4th. Gemma McKinney. 5th.Heather Bell.
Senior - 1st. David Brownlee. 2nd. Ian Young. 3rd. Brian Wilson. 4th. Paula Braiden. 5th. Victoria Singer.
The Competing Soloists' Organisation's promotion of solo piping and drumming at Glenarm Castle Highland Games on July 13 and July 14 did take place in spite of the inclement weather. Adjudicators Winston Pollock, Kenneth Stewart, Gary Watterson and Mark Wilson remarked that they were pleased to see a good turnout of soloists taking part and all were unanimous in their praise of the good playing standards of the competitors.
Chieftain of the Games, the Earl of Antrim, was also very complimentary about the day's activities and the splendid organisation of the CSO, and presented the young players with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
Mrs Heather McFadyen, a visitor from Campbeltown handed over the prizes to the winners on July 14 when the venue was switched to Larne because of the weather conditions.
This year an added attraction at the Games was the appearance of a group of pipers and drummers from Kintyre Schools Pipe Bands from the Campbeltown area of Argyll in Scotland. Because of the prevailing weather conditions the band was limited in their appearances but did manage to perform for the gathering crowds and also to lead the Earl of Antrim and the participants into the sports arena. These extremely talented young players provided a sight and sound very much acclaimed by the Games organisers as well as the visiting public.
Councillor Mark Dunn, Mayor of Larne Borough Council invited the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band -'Scottish Pipe Band of the Year' - to attend an informal reception at Larne Borough Council Offices. Here the band gave a 30 minute performance in the car park before going on for refreshments.
The CSO would like to record their sincere thanks to the Management team at Glenarm Castle and all who contributed to make the weekend such a resounding success.
Under 12 - Piping - 1st. Robert Green. 2nd. Campbell McFadyen. Drumming - 1st. Campbell McFadyen
Over 12 and Under 15 - Piping - 1st. Ross Hume. 2nd. Jamie Walker. 3rd. Stephanie Brodie.
Open Jig under 15 - Piping - 1st. Ross Ferguson. 2nd. Stephanie Brodie. 3rd. Robert Green. 4th. Jamie Walker. Drumming - 1st. Fiona McKerral. 2nd. Murray Shaw.
Over 15 and under 18 - Piping - 1st. Fiona Mitchell. 2nd. Keith Cowie. 3rd. Alan MacPherson. Drumming - 1st. Stephen Paynter. 2nd. Ewan Millar. 3rd. Christopher Thomson.
Junior - Piping - 1st. Fiona Mitchell. 2nd. Rachel Corr. 3rd. Jonathan Lamberton.
Junior - Drumming - 1st. Stephen Paynter. 2nd. Geoffrey Presho. 3rd. Ewan Millar.
Intermediate - Piping - 1st. Kris Coyle. 2nd. Conor McCallion. 3rd. Rachel Corr.
Intermediate - Drumming - 1st. Geoffrey Presho. 2nd. Stephen Paynter. 3rd. Ewan Millar.
Open Jig - Piping - Over 15 - 1st. Conor McCallion. 2nd. Fiona Mitchell. 3rd. Kris Coyle.
Open Hornpipe and Jig - Drumming - Over 15 1st. Geoffrey Presho. 2nd. Stephen Paynter. 3rd. Christopher Thomson.