LAST week it was reported that the popular Malahide Festival of Piping and Drumming had been cancelled owing to the ill health of its secretary Tony Markey.
The good news this week is that Mervyn Herron and the Co. Down section of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA has, with the full backing of the Executive and the branch, decided to run this event in Banbridge on May 17.
This will be a full hand outdoor event giving all the bands the opportunity to have a trial run out in preparation for the first of this year's five major championships. The Scottish Championships will take place on Saturday May 24 in Dumbarton Scotland. Feed back from all the Grade 1 bands has been positive and it is hoped that every grade will support this event.
The outdoor contest will be held in Banbridge but the venue has still to be decided. At the moment it is not known whether there will be a drum majors competition.
Mervyn has already secured prize money and using some of the reserves of the Co. Down section it is hoped that over £1100 will be made available to distribute among all the winning bands.
Adjudicators for the outdoor Banbridge competition will be Trevor Dear. Winston Pollock, Gordon Parkes and John Wilson. Thanks must go to Mervyn Herron and the Co. Down section for their foresight in seizing this opportunity and organising the first outdoor event of the new season here in Banbridge.
The indoor competition originally to be held in Banbridge on May 3 will now not take place.
Please note that all bands and drum majors should return their clean trophies to the branch or promoters as soon as possible. Anyone not doing so shall be liable to a fine and suspended until the fine has been paid and the trophy returned. Anyone returning a damaged trophy will be asked to pay for the repairs. Contact Roy McCullough on 028 9147 2753 for more information.
The Charity Night organised by Gary Smyth in aid of the Fort Riding Centre for Disabled children in Maghera was a great success and raised £1535.
The evening attracted many of the best drummers and pipers in the world including the 2008 world drumming champion Barry Wilson. For piping Stuart Liddell and Andrew Carlisle were among those who gave of their time and talent for such a worthy cause.
Thanks also go to Andante Percussion for providing a drum and McCallum Pipes for a Blackwood Chanter as prizes in the raffle. The recent drumming seminar held in Cookstown, before the charity event. was also well supported. The next seminar will on Saturday April 5 in the Royal Hotel and it is hoped that more will be able to attend this event.
Cullybackey Pipe Band will hold their 21st annual piping and drumming solos in Cullybackey High School on Saturday April 12. The day will start at 10.30am with the practise chanter under 14 and drum pad under 14.
This will be followed by the practise chanter and drum pad under 16-juvenile under 14; juvenile under 16; under 18 piping and drumming; junior; intermediate A and intermediate B and finishing with the senior.
Entries must be in before Saturday April 5 and no late entries will be accepted. Entry forms should be forwarded to Mr. J. Gribben, 52 Elmwood, Cullybackey, Ballymena BT43 5PY telephone number 028 25 881901
The closing date for entries for the Ulster Piping and Drumming solos is now Saturday April 5.
The event will take place in Monkstown High School on Saturday April 19 commencing at 9.30am.
Adjudicators will be William Morrison, Neill Mulvie, James Banks, Barry Wilson, Toni Johnston and Mark Faloon.