Congratulations to Branch Honorary Life Member Tommy Millar who has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's 2013 New Year Honours list for services to pipe band music in Northern Ireland.
Tommy from Ballymena, joined his first pipe band in 1947 and has long served the pipe band community through performing, organising events, newspaper columns and on his long standing BBC Radio Ulster pipe band programme where he is affectionately known as 'The Kilted Runner.' It is a befitting and well deserved award for Tommy who has given so much service to the local pipe band community down through the years.
On Monday the 10th of December, Cullybackey Pipe Band, a Branch member band of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch, appeared onstage with the world famous Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra at the Odyssey Arena in front of an audience of 8000.
The Johann Strauss Orchestra celebrated their 25th birthday on the 10th and led by Andre put on their usual marvellous show for a captive Belfast audience. Artificial snow cascaded from the ceiling onto some of the seat rows during the Orchestra’s rendition of ‘White Christmas’, fans waltzed in the aisles to ‘the Blue Danube’ these, along with a mesmeric rendition of ‘Bolero, being just a few of the many concert highlights.
The finale saw Cullybackey march through the balloon filled aisles playing ‘Scotland the Brave’ to a standing ovation as they made their way onto the stage. They then combined with Andre and his Orchestra to play ‘Amazing Grace’ with the audience still on their feet singing along.
Cullybackey combined their grade 1 and grade 4 band for the concert. Pipe Major Robert Cupples said ‘it was an honour and privilege to be invited to play with a superstar and his orchestra and it was a fantastic opportunity for the kids and adults in the band to experience such an electric filled concert and to combine with another musical genre. The night will live long in our memories’
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch would like to thank the Andre Rieu Group for inviting a member band to perform and Cullybackey Pipe Band for their excellent performance on the night.
Please see attachments for more photos.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in the Pipe band Community and our supporters a very merry, peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year.
At this time of year it is also good to take stock; 2012 has been a great year for our Bands and Drum Majors who once again achieved huge success in all of the Major Championships, the Ulster Solo competition attracted a record number of entries and as I write our School has achieved record enrolment numbers. All of the Branch Officers and Committee would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication shown by individuals, groups and bands right across the province that goes into achieving such successful outcomes.
The Branch Executive, Committees and Volunteers have been working extremely hard over the past year, in what are challenging economic conditions, to enable the contests, school, website, social media, marketing and public relations, financial and administrative arrangements etc. to function efficiently and largely unseen. I would like to acknowledge the tireless work that all these people put in on behalf of the bands, it is appreciated.
I would like also to pay tribute to George Ussher who led us as Chairman so ably for the past ten years and has decided to take a more background role in our Branch. We are indeed fortunate that he is continuing in his role as President of RSPBA.
I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.
We are pleased to announce a short series of the popular 'Up to the Line' internet radio programmes for the worldwide piping and drumming enthusiast.
A full schedule will be posted shortly and will only be accessible at the following link www.fuseonthehill.com
Please inform all of your friends of this short term venture as there may well be other short programmes available online over the Christmas & New Year holidays.
RSPBANI Branch School is delighted to announce record enrolment numbers of 241 for 2012/13.
This follows on from 2011/12 with the following having been achieved.
Regional Centres - Ballymena, Banbridge, Cookstown, Enniskillen and Londonderry were the five centres which operated each Saturday from October up to the end of March 2011
Piping, Drumming, Qualifications Board Certificates;
182 students in total took up the courses on offer
Piping – 85% ‘A’ Grade success, 97% Pass.
Drumming - 65% ‘A’ Grade success, 94% Pass
Piping – 100% Pass
Drum Majors – 89% Pass: Enniskillen Centre
The Foundation Syllabus was developed for the benefit and encouragement of beginners. Instructors deemed it necessary to provide the young students with a
stepping- stone toward PDQB Level 1
Three workshops were held for the Grade 4 Bands in Garvagh, Fivemiletown and Gilnahirk respectively.
The theme for each was “Setting the Foundation for Tonal Balance,” which attracted representatives from over thirty bands; some attending more than once.
6 Piobaireachd seminars were held between October and March with 14 pipers enrolled. The impact of these sessions were easily measured with 13 out of the 14 competing in the Ulster Solo Piping Championships.
Due to the provision of quality instruction, served up by PM Chris Armstrong plus back – up from the School Centre instructors , the application of dedicated students and appropriate planning we can confidently expect the mini – revolution in this discipline to gain momentum in the future.
Ulster Scots Agency & RSPBA NI Branch Collaboration
Three significant developments:
1)Stormont Launch of the foundation Certificate
2)The first Residential Summer Adventure Programme was held in August at the NEELB’s Bushmills Education Outdoor Centre. A sincere thanks is due to PM Andy McGregor, and his team, who ensured this was an outstanding success. 2013’s is in the pipeline.
3)The success of the Ulster-Scots Agency Day School programme in raising the profile of piping, drumming and related activities within the formal education structure.
The Cleland Memorial currently have a leading drummer position available with the band. The drum corps consists of 6 players at various levels but all capable of playing in the set grade (4A). Scores for the incoming year have been made & taught to all players but we are open to learning new material. The applicant must also be willing to teach learners as we run a piping & drumming school on band nights. Please contact any band member for further info or call Gary on 07752365211 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Regradings as of Music Board Meeting on 17th November 2012 , Subject to approval by Board of Directors.
All by request.
McNeillstown P.B. Grade 4B to Grade 4A
Ballydonaghy P.B. Grade 4A to Grade 4B
Derryclavin P.B. Grade 4A to Grade 4B
Scottish Power Pipe Band will be appearing at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on Sat 27 April 2013 in a concert promoted by Aughintober Pipe Band & Wonderland Productions.
Scottish Power Pipe Band under Pipe Major Chris Armstrong & Drum Sergeant Barry Wilson will be showcasing their musical talent just weeks before the start of the 2013 competition season. This event builds on the band's ‘Energised’ concert and they will be accompanied by a number of top musicians from Northern Ireland during the evening so there will be a great mix of music to satisfy all tastes.
Tickets are available from the Waterfront Hall online at www.waterfront.co.uk (search by date) or by calling T: 028 9033 4455
It will be a great night of music and a couple of tickets would make a nice stocking filler!
Aughintober Pipe Band