UK honours on the line as bands travel to Stormont

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band pictured during a final practice prior to competing at the Ards and North Down Pipe Band Championships at Castle Grounds, Bangor on Saturday 14th May.

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band pictured during a final practice prior to competing at the Ards and North Down Pipe Band Championships at Castle Grounds, Bangor on Saturday 14th May.

More than 100 bands and 40 drum majors will be at Stormont today for the UK Pipe Band Championships.

The Civil Service sports grounds provides a fantastic venue for this, the second major in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s championship series.

A host of local bands will be joined by competitors from Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and one visiting band from Canada - Dowco Triumph Street.

Dowco Triumph Street have been competing in grade one over recent years, making steady improvement and regularly reaching the garde one final at the World Pipe Band Championships. Their appearance at Stormont today is instead of their usual trip to Glasgow and it will be interesting to see if they can crack the top six.

Inveraray & District lifted the first major of the 2016 season winning the British title at Paisley. Field Marshal were second on that occasion with St Laurence O’Toole, Scottish Power, Spirit of Scotland and Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia completing the top six.

Also in action in grade one will be local bands Bleary & District and Ravara.

Looking outside the top grade and there are lots of local bands in with a chance of silverware. Two bands to look out for are the PSNI, who have enjoyed a good start to their season, lifting the grade 2 British title, and Aughintober the grade 3a British champions. Of course there are many others who will feature in the prizes.

There is a full day of entertainment ahead with the first bands on the line in the grade 4b qualifiers and the grade 4a final at 10am.

Good luck to all bands and drum majors competing at Stormont.

Today’s competition, along with the upcoming European Championships at Forres, have been selected to trial a new adjudication consultation process. The main difference in format being that the adjudicators will be allowed the “option” to confer between performances during each contest. Any conferring will be minimal and will allow each adjudicator the option to clarify any pertinent issues that may crop up during the contest.

RSPBA is at pains to point out that any conferring that takes place will be focused on the detail of the performance, or any potential anomalies without specific reference to adjudicators individual placings. After the last band has played the adjudicators will fill in their individual placings within the normal time span and hand over their result.

The four individual results will be collected by the Director in charge of the arena as usual and sent for processing by the results compilers on duty. No results will be changed at any point.

The consultation process will not affect the result already submitted. Immediately after the contest is finished the four adjudicators will leave the arena.

A group consultative session (as per 2015 pilot scheme) will take place after each adjudicator has completed and handed over his or her final placings summary document. The RSPBA Director on duty shall chair the consultation procedure and have complete authority over the proceedings.

The RSPBA website explains: “The main objective of this process is educational. It facilitates each individual adjudicator with an insight into each others opinions and findings.”

Cairncastle Ulster Scots will be holding a Bluegrass Musical Evening on Friday, June 17 in Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally, at 8pm, featuring Roni Stoneman, from Nashville Tennessee, a member of the legendary ‘Stoneman Family’, and Harpers Hollow Bluegrass band from Belfast.

Admission is £10 which is payable at the door and includes tea and biscuits.

For more information phone 07810 294 638, email cairncastle.ulsterscots@hotmail.com, visit the Tourism NI website or the hotel’s Facebook page.