Drummers gather for world championships  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE World Solo Drumming Championships will take place on Saturday October 28 in Monkstown Community School Newtownabbey.

There is a total of 141 drummers entered for this event with 40 of them from Northern Ireland.

There will be three grades for juvenile players in age groups, plus several heats in the senior section. Jim Kilpatrick (Shotts & Dykehead) world solo winner on 16 occasions, Gordon Brown (Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia), J.Reid Maxwell (Simon Fraser from Canada) and Eric Ward (Strathclyde Police) are among the top men favoured to win the title.

At the recent competing Soloists Organisation the overall winners of the competition were 1st. Gavin Noade, 2nd. Brendan Megonan and 3rd. Lee Lawson. Jonathan Irvine won the junior section with Gareth McLees taking runner up place.

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 DVD of the 2006 world pipe band championships are now available from Headquarters. All pre-ordered copies were received on October 19 from the supplier and are in the process of been shipped out.

To order a copy of the DVD please contact Ian Embelton, 45 Washington Street, Glasgow, G3 8AZ or telephone 0141 2215414.

The 13th William Kennedy Piping Festival will be held from November 15 to 19 in Armagh City.

As part of the Festival there will be a special night of highland piping in Armagh City Hotel on Thursday November 16. This Highland Piping concert is now the most eagerly awaited event of the season with tickets usually selling out.

This year's concert brings together two great bands. Armagh's finest - The Killeen Pipe Band under the leadership of Pipe Major Philip Boyce and Pipe Sergeant Derek Boyce and the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland along with soloists Dougie Pincock and Anna Murray.

Killeen who compete in Grade 2 are the current All Ireland Champions.

Further information is available from the Festival website - www.wkpf.org or by phone 3751 1248.

As promised the RSPBA is reviewing the Musical Appreciation and Presentation (MAP) system that they introduced to Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile bands at the major championships in 2006.

The organisation distributed a survey to competitors, judges and administrators in September with the objective of receiving feedback on the success or failure of the programme.

The RSPBA will then gather responses, and all information will be given to the Music Board's sub-committee responsible for competition format, which will then work with the Adjudicators Panel to analyse the findings.

The MAP programme will continue in 2007 but the survey will determine whether changes are to be made.

Supporters of the MAP feel that it allows bands to play better together, and some feel that the system puts bands on a more level competition field.

Critics say it was developed mainly as a means to reduce the number of judges needed for the lower grades and to expedite the competitions.

Many also suggested that the MAP 'set tunes' limited a band's creativity and stifled variety.

So if your band was involved in the MAP programme last year please make your views known to Headquarters or your local National Council members.

It is important to communicate this in writing, as it will determine what changes, if any, will be made to the programme.

Ulster Star