The annual Piper of the Year competition was held last Saturday in the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena with Kris Coyle taking the title.
This competition is promoted by the Northern Ireland Piping Society and is an invitation only event. Competitors are selected on merit determined by their competition results, in Ireland, during the current year.
Each player is required to compete in the MSR and Piobaireachd sections with the Piper of the Year trophy being awarded to the competitor with the highest aggregate placings in both events.
The standard of performance this year was very high and resulted in a tie for the title, with the trophy being awarded to Kris Coyle who placed highest in the Piobaireachd event.
Part of the attraction of this event is the recital at the close of the evening and this year, the adjudicator Pipe Major Gordon Walker gave an outstanding performance, which was greatly appreciated by the audience.
MSR: 1st, Ashley McMichael; 2nd, James Fraser; 3rd, Kris Coyle; 4th, Kevin Rodgers.
Piobaireachd: 1st, Kris Coyle (Lament for the Viscount of Dundee); 2nd, Ben Greeves (Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute); 3rd, Ashley McMichael (MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart).
Jig & H/Pipe: 1st, Kris Coyle; 2nd, James Fraser.
Best Junior Piper: Ross Hume.
Piper of the Year: Kris Coyle.
• A series of workshops on piping and drumming will be taking place over the coming week.
The workshops are intended for non-competing pipers and drummers, who don’t necessarily want to compete but want to improve their knowledge of how to make their instrument sound that bit better.
Simple advice and tips ill be available from Craig Munro, of Wallace bagpipes, one of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who will be facilitating the piping workshop.
The drum maintenance and uniform information will be taken by David Montgomery of Essey Musical, Belfast.
Dates for the workshops are as follows:
Tuesday 20th October - Enniskillen at 7.30pm TBC
Wednesday 21st October - Torrens Memorial Hall, Doagh at 7.30pm
Thursday 22nd October - Omagh Rugby Club at 7.30pm
Saturday 24th October - Rathfriland High School from 2pm to 4pm.
This a good opportunity for players of all standards to get advice on improving their playing. Admission is free.
• The annual section meeting covering County Down and Armagh will be held in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch, on Wednesday, October 21, at 8pm.
All section bands are encouraged to send along representatives.
Two existing officers are retiring and presentations will be made to them on the night in recognition of their service.
The usual AGM business will be covered with reports submitted from all officers. Refreshments will be provided.
• The next Blackthorn Piper’s Society Gathering will be held on Wednesday, October 21, at Thyme Square Bistro, Dromore.
The Blackthorn Piper for the evening will be Kris Coyle. Kris has had a good year in solo competition where he has picked up many prizes in Scotland. More recently he won the All Ireland solo piping competition in Dublin and just last weekend he added the Piper of the Year accolade to his achievements in this year.
• Surprise news this week with the departure of leading drummer Jim Kilpatrick from Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band.
Jim is the most successful pipe band drummer of all time having dominated the band and solo competition scene for many years.
Blair Brown, a member of the Shotts drum corps, has taken over as leading drummer.