ANDREW Carlisle was one of the major prizewinners at the annual Winter Storm competition held in Kansas City, Missouri.
Andrew, who is originally from Ballygowan, Co Down, is the director of piping at the Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh.
He claimed first place in both the March, Strathspey and Reel and Gold Medal Piobaireachd competitions.
For his efforts, Andrew and runner-up Derek Midgley gained invitations to the 2013 Metro Cup Competition in New Jersey, which entered into a reciprocal agreement with Winter Storm this year.
In the drumming competitions there was a big win for St Laurence O’Toole band member Michael McKenna.
n The Blackthorn Pipers’ Society is holding its first Burns/Recital Night at Dromore Rugby Football Club tonight, getting underway at 7.45pm.
The event also includes a Burns Supper, including the Traditional Address to the Haggis, and Highland Ceilidh Dancing.
Gold medal solo piper and pipe major of Scottish Power Pipe Band Chris Armstrong is the guest soloist and it should be well worth hearing.
Originally from Bathgate, Chris during the earlier years of his piping career was taught by PM John Matheson BEM.
On the solo circuit Chris’s past successes include winning the Bratach Gorm, JB Robertson Rose Bowl and the Overall Champion Piper at the Scottish Piping Society of London in 2007, 1st in the Former Winners MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering in 2001 then again in 2011.
He has also won the A grade MSR at the Northern Meeting. Chris has placed 1st in the PM Donald MacLeod Memorial MSR, runner-up at the Scottish Pipers Former Winners’ MSR and placed 2nd in the Former Winners’ MSR at the Northern Meeting twice. He has been the overall champion in 2002/03 at the Cowal Highland Gathering and in 2003 he won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting and was runner-up in the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 2010.
Chris was appointed Pipe Major of the ScottishPower Pipe Band in 2006 and has led them to regular placings in the top six at the major championships including second place at last year’s world championships.
n There are plenty of events being held to celebrate Burns Night and I have details of just a few for anyone interested in a night celebrating the life of the famous Scottish poet.
Garvetagh Pipe Band, near Castlederg in Co Tyrone, are again hosting their Burns Night on Wednesday, January 23 at 8pm in Garvetagh Orange Hall.
Admission by ticket only at £5 each and available from band Drum Major Alastair Patterson who can be contacted on 07771 808 407.
In addition to the Burns supper of neeps, tatties and haggis, the entertainment is being provided by the 1147ers – a musical group that focuses on a wide range of easy listening music.
This includes Ulster Scots, Gospel, Country and Irish music and the group often compose their own songs specifically for the occasion.
The group also introduce light-hearted sketches, poems and yarns to provide an all-round entertainment package.
The group, which was formed in 2009 from Bloomhill Olive Branch of Peace Royal Black Preceptory No 1147 and Bloomhill Accordion, are based between Cookstown and Dungannon.
n Church Street Community Association are holding a Burns Celebration on Thursday, January 24 at 8pm in Maghera Orange Hall.
Entertainment by Rae Shiels and Gary Dempsey plus Scottish Highland Dancing by Clare McKinney.
The Haggis will be addressed by Dr Rev Gareth Stewart (light supper served). Everyone Welcome. Admission only £3.
n There will be a series of Burns Night Suppers in Co Fermanagh.
On Saturday, January 26, Carrybridge Lakeside Lodge will host a traditional Burns Night Supper at 8pm. Cost is £5 which includes supper and entertainment.
All proceeds from this event are in aid of Enniskillen Pipe Band and Erne Highland Dancers.
For further details contact 02866 387 148.
n Also on Saturday, January 26, there will a Burns Night event in Enniskillen Rugby Club (8pm).
Cost is £5 which includes supper and entertainment.
Proceeds in aid of the development programme at Enniskillen Rugby Club.
For further details contact 02866 322 234/07707 650 690 or 078 553 42231. RSVP by Monday, January 21.
n Moybrone Pipe Band, Maguiresbridge Highland Dancers and the Fermanagh Section of RSPBA have organised a Burns Night Supper for Saturday, February 9 in the Westville Hotel, Enniskillen (7.30pm, meal at 8pm).
Cost this time is £20 again to include supper and entertainment.
For further details contact 07551 427 275.
n Looking further ahead, Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band is hosting its annual concert which will this year features the talents of Fred Morrison and Matheu Watson – Mesmerising pipes, whistles and guitar – on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8pm in Jacksons Hotel, Ballybofey, Co Donegal.
Compere for the evening is Robert Ramsay and also appearing will be Trevor Loughrey. Tickets for the event, including supper and draw, are priced e10/£8.
Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets or further information.
Thiepval will also be hosting a workshop with Fred Morrison on Saturday, February 23 and I will bring more details on this when they are available.
n Following discussions with Down District Council and Craigavon Borough Council the section have decided to accept a three-year deal with Craigavon council with the first event in 2013 at Lurgan Park on June 15.
This deal will be in preparation for the amalgamation of the Craigavon and Banbridge Councils in 2014.
Unfortunately this means that for the time being there will be no contests at two of the most popular venues on the contest circuit, Newcastle and Banbridge.