THE first of the 2008 meetings of the Northern Ireland branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association took place last Saturday at Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Knockmore Road Lisburn.
These premises were booked on a temporary basis as renovations were carried out at the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn. But the church hall proved to be so convenient for parking etc that it was decided by a vote of the representatives present, to continue using it on a permanent basis. So all branch meetings will in the future take place there.
This year one of the five major championships will be held in Lisburn on July 26. After discussions with the BBC it has now been confirmed that a recording of the whole event will be made for television to be showed later in the year.
And the good news for bands people here in Northern Ireland is that another major championship has been booked for 2009 and this event will take place in Banbridge. This venue has been used for a major championship before on several occasions and has proved a resounding success for supporters, bands men and women and the local traders in Banbridge.
And there is more good news for bands enthusiasts with the confirmation of five bands returning to the competition arena.
Tamlaght O'Crilly from Co. Londonderry under Pipe Major Gary Dempsey will compete in 4A along with Tullintrain in 4B. Marlacoo, who have been missing for a few season now, will compete in 3A along with Southern band St.Finbar's.
The Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band, who also regrouped last year, will be out competing-probably in Grade 4- this season. The band is under the direction of Pipe Major Ian Young and Leading drummer Blair Higgins and practise in Ballyclare Linfield Football club every Tuesday. At present the band have 4 drummers and 9 pipers. John Fittis who has been the moving force behind the band for many years, is delighted that at last the Sinclair, which is one of the oldest pipe bands in the association, will be out competing this season. John would be delighted for any pipers or drummers-especially learners-interested in joining them to get in contact with him on 02893 369017 for further information. Also discussed at the branch meeting was the proposal from the Music Board to be put to the National Council to increase the number of judges to 2 piping, 2 ensemble and 2 drumming for all major championships.
The Co. Antrim section will be holding their competition on Saturday June 7 at Sandy Bay, Larne where the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band under their new pipe major David Barnes and Leading drummer Arthur Cook will be competing in Grade 1.
And the band will also make a guest appearance at a concert organised by the Co. Antrim section in Larne Leisure Centre on the Friday June 6.
For further information on both these events please contact the Co. Antrim secretary Lorraine McVeigh on 028 91466028 or mobile 07870 389874.
The Officials and Programme of events for the 2008 booklet is now available and can be obtained by contacting Walter McKibben on telephone 02892688007 or 07795561135
This is a must have for all pipe band followers, giving not only the dates and venues of all the competitions for the incoming year, but lots of other interesting information as well.
There is also a new novel idea entitled 'Tartan Competition' which invites all under 16 to guess the name of the tartan on the page. All correct entries will then go into a draw to take place at the first branch competition in Larne on June 7. A good prize is promised for the first entry to be drawn from the hat.