Big thank you from

First of percussion at Millbrook Lodge Hotel 

THE Percussive Arts Society (UK Chapter) will present their first Day of Percussion in Northern Ireland on April 6 at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel Ballynahinch.

The hotel is set in mature grounds with ample parking. Lunch and all other refreshments will be available throughout the afternoon.

The event, hosted by local PAS member Dave English, Head of Percussion South Eastern Education and Library Board, is scheduled to begin at 1.00pm to enable those who have to travel a distance to arrive in plenty of time and perhaps have lunch before the programme starts.

The programme will include the Just Drummers' percussion ensemble. Instruments in use will include side drums, bass drums and cymbals, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, drum kit, pedal timpani, car brake drums, tambourine, triangle, a keyboard and afuche cabassa.

Jim Kilpatrick, multi times world drumming champion and Michael Skinner, who retired a few years ago from the Principal Percussionist position with the Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden, will both be giving recitals and encouraging everyone to come and learn and have some fun. You would need to be prepared for this session by bringing a practise pad and sticks.

Also in attendance will be PAS officials who are also professional players. They will be available throughout the day to answer any questions on percussion.

Two trade stands from local suppliers - Matchetts and Belfast Music Supplies - have shown an interest in being there as well as Sabian Cymbals and Yamaha.

The afternoon is scheduled to end at 5.00pm

This type of event, on a larger scale, takes place on the mainland throughout the year, and if this event in Ballynahinch is successful then it is hoped to bring more of the same for locals to attend. The web site for PAS is if you want to check it out.

Young Emmet Conway, who pipes with Grade 1 Ballinderry Bridge, has been having a very successful solo piping season lately.

Playing in the under 18 section at the Scottish Piping Society of London competition held in Kensington Conference Centre London he was successful in claiming runner up place in the Gaelic Air and Jig section.

He also won second place in the Piobaireachd section of the London Highland Club Challenge cup.

Emmett is tutored by Jonathan Greenlees who himself is a well know solo performer and has many successes to his credit. His most recent success was the Pat Faloon Invitational solo piping competition, which was held in the Fort Bar Dungannon. He won the March Strathspey and Reel section with Andrew Carlisle in second and S. Hamon in third place. The Hornpipe and Jig was won by Andrew Carlisle followed by R. Grossart and R. Stewart.

Given a great reception at the close of the competition for his recital, was guest adjudicator Fred Morrison.

Last week the dates of the 2008 major championships were published. Now the dates and venues of all the local competition are announced. They are as follows: May 31st - Co. Fermanagh Championships in Enniskillen. June 7th - Co. Antrim Championships in Larne. June 14th - Mid Ulster Championships in Cookstown. June 21st - Co. Down Championships in Banbridge. July 5th - All Ireland Championships in Ennis, Co. Clare. July 26th - European Championships in Lisburn. August 2nd - East Antrim Championships in Ballyclare. August 9th - Ulster Championships in Bangor. August 23rd - North West Championships in Portrush. Banbridge will host the British Championships in 2009- date still to be agreed.

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will be held on Saturday March 8 at the Quality Central Hotel 99 Gordon Street Glasgow.

Any representatives interested in going to this meeting should contact Mervyn Herron 9 Ballydown Meadows, Castlewellan Road, Banbridge BT32 4QX telephone number 0284062 4849.

Ulster Star