It’s back to the classroom today for the pupils attending the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association NI Branch School.
The centres at Edenderry PS, Banbridge; Cookstown PS; Erne Integrated, Enniskillen; and Lisneal College, Londonderry, open their doors at 9.30am.
News has reached me that there has been a new addition to the teaching staff, specifically joining the specialist Piobaireachd Tutor Team.
Callum Beaumont, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, will be working along with Norman Dodds, Glenn Brown and Ken Stewart. Saturday, January 24, will be his first Seminar at Randalstown.
Callum has played with the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, Simon Fraser University and Inveraray and District Pipe Band. His pipe band prizes include winning the World Pipe Band Championships three times, twice with Simon Fraser University and once with Shotts and Dykehead.
He has also enjoyed major success in solo competitions around the world.
Getting Callum to join the team of tutors at the NI Branch School is a great achievement and I’m sure he will prove to be a valuable addition
The 2015 Winter Storm solo competitions in Kansas USA went off with a bang, attracting record entries for the event.
As ever there were a few familiar names creeping up in the prize lists both in piping, drumming and tenor drumming.
Andrew Carlisle, originally from Ballygowan but now firmly established in his role as the Director of Piping at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, took third place in the Gold Medal Piobaireachd.
He was also runner-up in the professional light music March, Strathspey and Reel section which was won by his former Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band colleague Alex Gandy, from Canada.
Another piper in the prizes was Jack Williamson, from Topeka, Kansas, who took first place in the Amateur Grade 1.
Jack has spent the last two summers as a member of the successful Bleary & District Pipe Band where he has made a big impression.
I understand Jack will be returning to the Province this summer, no doubt hoping to play his part in the band’s push towards grade one.
In the drumming section Michael McKenna, from Dublin, was runner-up in the Professional Gold Medal MSR event which was won by Blair Brown.
John Scullion was part of the judging panel for the MSR section while St Laurence O’Toole leading drummer Stephen Creighton judged the amateur sections.
Kyle Heaney, from Toronto, who is a member of Field Marshal Montgomery, was third in the Gold Medal tenor drumming and second in the Gold Medal Bass.
I was interested to learn this week that there will be a new name among the bands competing in grade 3a this season – the grandly titled City of Discovery Pipe Band, from Dundee.
The band has come from the successful 6th/8th Boys Brigade Pipe Band, however in a bid to continue their success the BB band will return to Novice status with the City of Discovery joining 3a and now able to attract players from outside the organisation.
Tamlaght O’Crilly Pipe Band is looking for experienced pipers, drummers and tenor drummers to join the band for the 2015 season.
They are also are looking for recruits to join their beginner/learner classes.
If you are interested you can contact Pipe Major Mark Adair on 07546042429, leading drummer John Beverland, 07739902757; or Lee Elliott, 07563003564.
Any band looking to recruit players or learner members is encouraged to send information to Tartan Talk for inclusion in the column.
Cairncastle Ulster Scots will celebrate the memory of Scottish poet and lyricist Robbie Burns on Saturday, January 24 at 8pm in the Larne Rangers Club.
Music will be provided by the well-known folk group the Grousebeaters, piper for the evening will be Trevor Hassin and the haggis will be addressed by Jimmy McKeegan.
Admission is £10 which includes supper. For further information contact 07774 401 935.