Ashley crowned `piper of the year' 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE invitational 'Piper of the Year' solo contest was held on Saturday October 7 in the Adair Arms Hotel Ballymena.

This year the competition was won by junior solo piper Ashley McMichael of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Not only did he win the coveted and prestigious title of overall Piper of the Year but he also took first prize in the juniors. Congratulations and well done Ashley.

Results were as follows: Piper of the Year -1st. Ashley McMichael, 2nd. Ryan McFarland, 3rd. Amos Gilmore.

Hornpipe and Jig - 1st. Ryan Canning, 2nd. Andrew Hall. Best Junior Piper - Ashley McMichael. Piobaireachd - lst.Charles Noin (France), 2nd. Jonathan Greenlees, 3rd. Andrew Hall.

Charles Noin, the winner of the Piobaireachd and gave a recital and after the presentations of awards, Niall Matheson who adjudicated at the event also give a recital.

For all those interested in give and tenor drumming don't forget there is a seminar in the Royal Hotel Cookstown on Saturday October 21 from 10 am to 4pm. All aspects will be covered including flourishing, different tones and writing tenor scores. Admission is £10, which includes light lunch. Contact Gary Smyth on 7 964 5799 or on 07814 446179.

Band representatives please note that the meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA has been changed to Saturday October 21 at 2pm in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn. This is in order not to coincide with the world solo drumming championships, which will take place on Saturday October 28 in Monkstown Community School Newtownabbey.

McNeillstown Pipe Band will be celebrating their 60th anniversary dinner on Saturday October 28 in Gardeners Restaurant Magherafelt. All past and present members are warmly invited. For details of tickets please contact Freda on 2582 1339 or Shirley on 2582 2666.

The thirteenth William Kennedy Piping Festival will be held from November 15 to November 19 in Armagh City.

The first Piping Festival in honour of William Kennedy was held in 1994 exactly 160 years after his death at the age of 66 in 1834. From that beginning as a one-off event within the framework of the Armagh Together Festival, the William Kennedy Piping Festival has grown into an internationally renowned even. The programme each year has always highlighted the diversity of the pipes, hosting pipers from the cold northern climates of Western Europe to the southern shores of the Mediterranean and from deep in the Sahara Desert.

There will be a special night of highland piping in Armagh City Hotel on Thursday November 16. The concert will feature Armagh's finest – The Killeen Pipe Band under the leadership of Pipe Major Philip Boyce and Pipe Sergeant Derek Boyce. Alongside them will be the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and soloists Dougie Pincock and Anna Murray. Killeen who com- pete in Grade 2 are the current All Ireland Champions.

The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland has gone from strength to strength since its formation and is now regarded as one of the most sought after concert bands on the circuit. They first appeared at the Festival in 2004 and were acclaimed as one of the highlights of the week. The two soloists for this concert will be former Battlehill member Dougie Pincock, who is currently Director of the National Centre of Musical Excellence in Traditional Music in the West Highlands and renowned piper and Gaelic singer Anna Murray from the Isle of Lewis.

Further information is available from the Festival website or telephone 3751 1248.

Ulster Star