It has been a week of celebrations for the members, fiends and supports of Portavogie Pipe Band.
First up was a special dinner Portavogie Community Centre last Saturday to say a special thanks to the band’s sponsors and supporters.
During the evening cake specially made for the occasion was cut by Pipe Major Malcolm Wallace and Drum Sergeant Winston Murdock.
Portavogie Pipe Band was reformed some two and a half years ago by Sam Thompson and Andrew Drysdale after being absent from the competition scene for 50 years.
During the celebratory evening RSPBA official Kenny Crothers praised Pipe Major Wallace and the band members for their remarkable achievement. He gave special praise for their most successful 2015 season which seen them crowned Grade 4B Ulster Champions, All-Ireland Champions, World Champions and Champion of Champions.
During the evening the band members took time to proudly pose for a historic photograph with their array of trophies.
Guests included Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association officials including vice-chairman Arlene Graham and local councillors Nigel Edmund and Robert Adair.
The special guest was Strangford MP Jim Shannon who presented the band with a framed letter of congratulations signed by several local Members of Parliament.
During a great evening of fun, music and chat the band entertained their guests to a selection of tunes and a piping duet by brothers Jordan and Jonathan Gibson.
Retired fisherman Sam Warnock announced the results of a recent fundraising competition organised by some of the band sponsors which involved finding the names of local fishing boats. The winner was Josh Little.
The celebrations continued on Tuesday, September 29, when Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen hosted a reception for the band at Stormont.
And the fun doesn’t stop there for the band as a date is to be confirmed for a Civic Reception to hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council.
The 37th annual Piper of the Year competition, promoted by the Northern Ireland Piping Society, will be held in the Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena, on Saturday, October 10.
The event will be held in two parts with the Piobaireachd competition commmening at 12.30pm followed by the MSR and Jig and Hornpipe sections of the competition resuming at 7pm.
The adjudicator for the event will be Pipe Major Gordon Walker and he has consented to give a short recital at the end of the evening.
The Piper of the Year is an invitation only event and players who have competed in Northern Ireland during the current year are considered for invitation on merit of prizes won.
The event comprises three aspects of Highland Bagpipe music: March, Strathspey and Reel, Piobaireachd, and Jig and Hornpipe. Competitors are asked to submit their tunes for selection by the adjudicator, and the Piper of the Year is awarded to the player with the highest aggregate marks across the MSR and Piobaireachd competitions.
This type of competition is unique in Ireland in that both senior and junior pipers compete on an equal basis for the prestige award.
I have a few dates to be noted for the coming weeks.
A meeting of the RSPBA NI Branch will be held on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 2pm. The NI Branch AGM will be held on Saturday, November 28, at 11 am. Both meetings will be held in Trinity Methodist Halls, Lisburn.
Nominations for election of officers and notices of motion for the AGM must be received from band secretaries by the branch secretary three weeks prior to the meeting.
Email contact for the branch secretary is firstname.lastname@example.org