IN the list of bands upgraded for the new 2009 season, one band in particular deserves special mention.
Inveraray & District ,who won the world juvenile championship in 2008, have been given a massive leap to Grade 2, bypassing grades 4 A&B and 3 A&B. Never has a band jumped up the grades so far and it's because of their successes in the season past.
Led by Pipe Major Stuart Liddell, this band was destined for great things from the start. And now they have added even more strength to the band with the appointment of Ulsterman Steven McWhirter as Leading Drummer Pipe Major Stuart Liddell has won every major solo prize at top level and is much in demand for concerts and solo recitals. He has now released a new CD entitled "INVERORAN" which is available in all music shops.
Steven McWhirter, from Ahoghill, was a member of the 2008 Grade 1 world champions Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver Canada. He retired from that band to join forces with Stuart Liddell as Leading Drummer with Inveraray band.
Steven won the 2006 senior world solo drumming championships on only his third time in the final. He became the first non-lead drurnrner to win the title in 30 years. The prize was the pinnacle of a year of major awards, including the All Ireland senior championships and the North American gold medal in side drumming.
All eyes will be on this band when they compete in the piping arena next season.
* The 2009 calendar for the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA is now available priced £4. This calendar gives valuable dates and venues of all the local competitions, plus the majors, and photographs of competing bands and drum majors. These calendars are always very popular and sell out quickly. Mervyn can be contacted by telephone 02840624849.
* Although Christmas is fast approaching there is still time to purchase a special gift for the piping enthusiast. Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band have put on a special Christmas offer of their RE-CHARGED CD and their REWIND- REPLAY DVD together as a set for £25, inclusive of postage and packing. Log on to their web page at www.fmmpb.com for further information.
* The decision taken by the Music Board not to award bass section prizes at the five major charnpionships caused major disappointment. Recently after hearing an appeal from the Strathclyde Police Pipe band to reinstate the Best Bass section, the National Council upheld the decision by the Music Board and affirmed that there would be no awards, in spite of having secured over 700 signatures on an online petition from pipers and drummers world wide. No doubt this dispute is far from over. * There will be an extra ordinary business meeting of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA on the 31st January 2009. It will be held in the Methodist Church Hall Knock more Road Lisburn at 2.00pm. As well as other branch business, the main discussion will centre of what the Grade 4A and 4B bands will need to play at competitions next season. At the moment they are compelled to play 2/4 marches and not allowed to play their own selection of tunes.
All band representatives, especially grades 4 A and B, are urged to attend this meeting and have their say in these discussions.