Local pipers prepare for annual contest  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE annual Pipe Major Willie Ferguson trophy contest will take place at Headquarters 45 Washington Street Glasgow on Saturday November 25.

Ten pipers including nine men and one lady will compete to win this prestigious honour.

These pipers are nominated to represent each of the branches within the RSPBA. Adjudicators will be Gordon Lawrie and Jennifer Hutcheon.

The Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 2 Pipe Band from Vancouver, who were officially promoted to Grade 1 after their successful 2006 season, have requested to be allowed to remain in Grade 2.

Pipe Major David Hilder acknowledges that to be upgraded is the ultimate compliment but with several of his players joining the top Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, which is the mother band in the SFU organisation, it is a decision which could cause the band to fold.

Both Toronto Police and Boghall & Bathgate decided to fold their too-successful Grade 2 operations rather than face having to compete against each other in the same grade.

Spokesperson for the SFU, Jack Lee, has said: "We are extremely proud of the Robert Malcolm Memorial and wish it continued success on a longterm basis.

"We believe that they are a strong Grade 2 band but not a viable sustainable Grade 1 band. Since the world championships they have lost quite a number of players to the Simon University hand and to retirement etc. The decision to promote did not adequately consider the current and future roaster of the band or its ability to survive and flourish in Grade 1.'`

It is not yet known whether the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association or the British Columbia Pipers Association will honour the band's request to be down graded.

The Mayor of North Down recently honoured Cottown Pipe Band and its Pipe Major John Griffiths when he hosted a civic reception in the Bangor Castle.

The band was honoured after their successful 2006 season and were promoted to Grade 3A.

The Carryduff and District Drum Majors School will commence their classes on Saturday 25 from 2pm to 4 pm.

The classes will be held in Carryduff Church of Ireland Hall every Saturday under the instructions of Drum Major Alicia Dickson. Old and new members will be made most welcome and further information can be obtained from Mrs J. Barr on 9752 1287.

Meanwhile the Belvoir Drum Majors classes are continuing each Saturday until December 9 in the Belvoir Parish Church Hall also from 2pm to 4 pm.

Polkemmet Pipe Band held their Annual General Meeting last Saturday in the hope to secure the band's future.

Their Pipe Major David Barnes resigned his position after leading the band for three years and the band took the unique decision to advertise for a new Pipe Major through the Internet.

Ulster Star