Pipe Major William 'Billy' Maxwell - 21st November 2013
Billy Maxwell, President of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and the band's founding Pipe Major, died on 21st November 2013.
Billy was a giant of a character in piping in Northern Ireland and had a major influence on the development of the pipe band community across the island of Ireland over a number of decades.
Billy, along with a group of friends, helped establish FMM back in 1945. He was part of the group of lads who wrote to Bernard Law Montgomery after the war to seek permission to use his name for a new pipe band they wished to start in the light of their new found leisure time!
Billy did everything he could to build up the band and to support it through challenging times - he even mortgaged his house to help buy the first set of uniforms!
I first met Billy around 1970 and received lessons from him for a number of years. Nat Russell was also a pupil of Billy's as were a great many other excellent pipers across Northern Ireland. He was a fantastic tutor with a real talent for teaching music in a positive and constructive way.
Billy had a warm, friendly and big personality that matched his stature as a man. He took the time to welcome every new member to FMM personally and had a keen interest in the development of the band’s younger players. His famous mantra - "keep your bag tight and mind your parts!" – is ingrained in every FMM piper past and present.
Since retiring from playing Billy remained a tireless supporter of FMM and pipe bands generally in Northern Ireland. He had an enormous influence on me providing guidance and advice from the moment I took over as Pipe Major right-up to the present day.
Seeing how proud he was to carry the Argyll Shield through the streets of Dunoon in 1990 following the band’s first major championship win and his delight when the band won the Worlds – something he remarked was "not bad for a wee band from the country” – are memories that I will cherish.
Billy was part of FMM from the very beginning. He never left. As long as there is a FMM his influence and legacy will remain.
FMM and the piping community across Northern Ireland and beyond would like to extend our sincere condolences to Heather, Dorine, Neil and Ian along with Billy’s wider family and friends at this time.
PM Richard Parkes
FMM win 2013 Grand Slam!!
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band won the 2013 Cowal Pipe Band Championship on Saturday 31stAugust securing the band’s third Grand Slam of RSPBA Major Championships.
The band won the competition with firsts in piping, first in ensemble and second in drumming. Congratulations to Stephen McWhirter and the Inveraray Drum Corps on their first Major Championship title.
FMM Drum Major Samantha Gordon completed another highly successful year placing 3rd in the Adult Championship.
Saturday’s success also saw the band win the Champion of Champions title for the fifth year in a row with Keith and the drummers picking up the Champion of Champions Drum Corps title.
Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE said “Saturday marked the end of another fantastic year for the band. To win all Major Championships against such strong competition is a fantastic achievement. I am particularly delighted for Keith and his corps whose performances have taken FMM to an even higher level this season. ”
“Winning Cowal meant a lot to everyone in the band. The competition has a special place in the history of FMM as it was here in 1990 that we won our first ever Grade 1 Championship. We have enjoyed fantastic hospitality in Dunoon over the years and we wish everyone associated with the Gathering the very best for the future.”
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr added “I was delighted to secure the Champion of Champions title on Saturday and, in doing so, round off a hugely successful year for the corps. We have an unbelievably strong pool of talented drummers in the band now and I’m excited about our potential to build on this in the years ahead.”
On behalf of everyone in FMM we are extremely grateful for the support we have received once again this year. Thank you – and see you in 2014!
Brian Martin Celebrates Amazing 50th Championship Victory!
Not only did FMM’s victory at Cowal mark the band’s 3rd Grand Slam, it was also Brian Martin’s 50thRSPBA Championship win with the band.
Brian was a 13 year old member of FMM that won the Cowal Championship for the first time in 1990. Brian and Richard are the two remaining playing members from that first historic success - although Brian claims to have aged much better!
Brian says "Playing in FMM is a fantastic privilege and the success of the band since that first win in 1990 has been amazing. I’d like to thank my family for their support through the years and all the members of the band – past and present – who I have had the privilege of playing alongside.”
“I’d also like to thank two piping legends for their influence and support - Freddy Russell for his inspirational teaching and guidance and to Richard for showing belief in me all those years ago. Thanks to all for giving me some of the best moments in my life!”
August and September Solos Success for FMM Pipers & Drummers
FMM pipers were out in force at the major solo piping events of August and September. Congratulations to all who won prizes.
• Donald McPhee: 1stA Grade Piobaireachd, Cowal Highland Gathering
Congratulations also go to Gavin Noade who placed 3rd in the Senior Drumming and Aaron McLean who placed 1st in the Intermediate Drumming at the All Ireland Championships.
FMM Pipe Sergeant Alastair Dunn will be competing in the prestigious Glenfiddich Piping Championships at Blair Castle on 26th October.
FMM Celebrate Engagement!
FMM piper Ashley McMichael had even more reason to celebrate this month following his engagement to his long-term girlfriend Ashleigh. Both are highly valued members of the FMM family and everyone in the band is delighted at this fantastic news. We wish the future Mr and Mrs McMichael every happiness and the very best for the future.
FMM Win Ninth World Pipe Band Championship.
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band secured its ninth 'Worlds' title on Sunday at Glasgow Green.
The FMM drum corps also won the Best Drum Corps prize – the first time in the band’s 60+ year history.
It was also a hugely successful day for FMM’s Drum Major Samantha Gordon who was placed 4th in the World Senior Drum Major contest.
This year the ‘Worlds’ was contested over two days with all Grade 1 bands competing in a qualifying heat on Saturday with a final the following day.
Everyone in FMM was delighted with how the band played and the victory - as demonstrated by the unbridled joy and relief expressed by the band when FMM’s name was announced as World Champions!
The clear consensus is that the standard in Grade 1 continues to reach new heights, so to win the ‘Worlds’ for a third year in succession is a tremendous and humbling achievement.
The band is extremely grateful for the good wishes from our fellow competitors following Sunday’s result. In particular, the band would like to thank the trio of ScottishPower pipers (David Caldwell, Alasdair MacKenzie and Jason Briscoe) who welcomed the band off the bus at our hotel on Sunday night!!
Such camaraderie and sportsmanship is what makes the pipe band world great and the respect which everyone in FMM has for our fellow competitors makes winning the title all the more special.
Commenting on Sunday’s result, Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE said “I’m absolutely delighted to have retained the 'Worlds'. The quality of the competition was extremely high and we had to pull out all the stops to win against some very talented bands."
“I am also thrilled for Keith Orr and his drum corps. Keith’s contribution to the band over the years cannot be underestimated and on a personal level it gives me great pleasure to see him secure a thoroughly deserved world drumming title.”
“Producing a performance capable of winning the Worlds against such strong competition is not just about the quality, professionalism and musicianship of the players in the band. It is also about our wider FMM network.”
“While there are far too many people who have helped us over the year to mention, I’d like to thank our sponsors RG Hardie & Co who continue to provide fantastic support to the band; Premier Percussion for supporting Keith and the corps; Frank Andrews, Scott Drummond and Lynsey McLaren who work magic on the drones, our chanter, pipe-bag and reed suppliers; the College of Piping for providing practice facilities for our Glasgow players; the FMM management team; and all our friends and families from across the world who continue to support, encourage and make sacrifices for the band and its players.”
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr added “As leader of FMM’s drum corps my primary focus is – and always will be – the overall ensemble of the band. However, I’m absolutely delighted to have secured the band’s first ever drum corps title. We have been close on a number of occasions so to win this year is hugely satisfying. This is the most talented corps we have ever had and the effort the team has put in over the past year has been unbelievable. I cannot thank them enough for their professionalism and dedication. The addition of Andrew Elliot and Kyle Heaney has been a hugely important factor as they have brought new dynamism to the band and greatly enhanced the ensemble contribution of the entire corps.”
More pictures of the band from the weekend will be added to our Facebook page in the coming days.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band’s final competition of the year will be the Cowal Championships on 31st August.
FMM Wins Twenty-Third Ulster Championship
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band won its twenty-third Ulster Pipe Band Championship in Newtownards on Saturday 10th August, 2013.
The band played both a MSR and Medley and secured the title by being placed first in both events. The competition is the final outing for the band prior to next week’s World Pipe Band Championships.
The band will be in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park on Thursday and Friday afternoon and everyone is welcome to attend our open practice. If the weather is poor we will move indoors, though we will endeavour to play outside whenever possible.
Updates will be provided on the band’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Best of luck to everyone who is competing next weekend!!
Fourteenth Scottish Title for FMM
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band won their 14th Scottish Pipe Band Championship title on Saturday at Dumbarton.
The band played its Number 2 MSR – Balmoral Highlanders, John Roy Stewart and Charlie’s Welcome – and won the competition with firsts in piping and ensemble, and a second in drumming.
Speaking after the band’s third major of the year, Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE said “I was delighted with how we played yesterday and the excellent contribution from all sections of the band. We have worked hard to deliver high performance levels on a consistent basis and it’s pleasing when this all comes together on the day of a competition. Both the pipe and drum corps are playing very well and the combined effect is enhancing the band's overall performance. The next month is a demanding period of competition and preparation, but I’m excited about our potential - and determination - to build on our recent performances”.
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr added “I’d like to congratulate Gordon and his Boghall and Bathgate corps on winning the competition on Saturday. From our perspective, I was once again very pleased with how we played and delighted to maintain the high level of consistency we have displayed this year. Our performances at the first three championships of 2013, as well as the All Irelands, provide an excellent base for us as we move into August”.
The band’s next outing is the Ulster Championships on the 10th August. We will shortly be announcing the band’s plans for practice during the Worlds week on our Facebook page and our new Twitter page.
FMM Congratulates Pipe Major Ian McLellan
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band warmly congratulates Pipe Major Ian McLellan BEM on his appointment as Honorary President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
As pipe major of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Ian won 12 World Pipe Band Championships, including an unprecedented six successive World titles.
Ian McLellan is a legendary figure in the piping world and has been – and continues to be – a major influence on FMM pipers, none more so than Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE. Richard continues to cite the Strathclyde band of the 1980s as the benchmark to which he aspires.
Such an award could not be made to a more deserving recipient. Ian – on behalf of everyone in FMM – congratulations!
FMM Wins Record 21st All-Ireland Championship Title
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band retained the All-Ireland Championship on Saturday 6 July at Derry-Londonderry.
FMM secured the title by winning both the MSR and Medley events along with the Best Drum Corps and Best Bass Section awards.
Speaking after his 21st ‘All Irelands’ victory as Pipe Major of FMM, Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE said “I was pleased once again with the performance of all sections of the band on Saturday. The level of consistency we have achieved this year has been outstanding. However, now the hard work only intensifies as we look toward the 2nd half of the season.”
Reflecting on his drum corps win, Drum Sergeant Keith Orr added “The All Ireland’s are a demanding competition so to win both the MSR and Medley events against such a strong field is an excellent achievement. I am particularly pleased with the development of our bass and tenor section this year which is boosting the entire corps.”
After winning the Best Bass Award, Andrew Elliot said “While undoubtedly our most important objective is to enhance the overall ensemble of the band, I was delighted for the team that we also won Best Bass Section. The level of support both Kyle Heaney and I have had since joined FMM has been fantastic and I am pleased with the progress we have made”.
As the band’s preparations for the remaining championships of the season continue the pipe corps has been lifted by the arrival of our three top-class Australian based pipers – Robert Crozier, Ian Lyons and Scott Wallace – who will remain with FMM until the end of August.
FMM now start on a demanding programme of practice in advance of the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton on the 27th July.
FMM: 2 for 2 in 2013
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band made it 2 for 2 on Saturday after winning the European Pipe Band Championships at Forres in Moray.
The event was a huge success with one of the largest crowds at a Major Championship in years. The organisers and local community are to be congratulated on hosting such a great competition.
The band drew their new Number 1 ‘George Allan’ Medley and had an excellent run winning Grade 1 with 2 firsts in piping and a first in drumming.
By winning both the band and drumming awards for the second Major running, Saturday’s success marks the strongest ever start to a season for FMM. It is also the band’s 11th European title.
Speaking after Saturday’s victory, Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE said “I was delighted with the way we played and even more pleased to win on a day when a number of other bands put in excellent performances. I was also delighted with yet another major success for Keith and his drum corps and particularly the sound and dynamics of our new bass section which is bringing a fresh and exciting edge to our performances.”
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr added “I was very satisfied with how the corps played on Saturday and delighted to win for the second Major in a row. The corps is playing as well as it ever has in my time as leading drummer and I’m excited about the rest of the season as we look to build on our excellent start to the year.”
The band’s schedule continues apace with the All Ireland Championships this coming Saturday.
FMM Win at Lurgan
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band competed at the Craigavon and District Pipe Band Championships in Lurgan on Saturday 15th June, 2013.
Despite heavy rain throughout the early part of the day, the weather remained dry for the band's two performances - a welcome relief after the wash-out at Enniskillen earlier in the season.
The event provided an opportunity to play our new MSR and Medley for the 2013 season.
The band was pleased with both runs, winning the competition with 8 first places.
Next week the band competes at the European Championships in Forres.
Five in a Row for FMM
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band won their 5th British Championship in a row at Bathgate on Saturday 25 May, 2013.
The band secured victory with two firsts in piping and first in drumming.
In a contrast to recent years, the first championship of the season was blessed with wall-to-wall sunshine which attracted a large, knowledgeable and appreciative crowd.
The band drew its number 2 set - Balmoral Highlanders, John Roy Stewart and Charlie’s Welcome. Despite the challenging weather conditions - pipes like sun as much as they like rain! - FMM had one of its strongest performances in recent years with an excellent run from all sections of the band.
It was an especially pleasing win for the FMM drummers who have put in an extraordinary effort over the winter to prepare for the new season. It was also the first competition for new tenor drummers Andrew Elliot and Kyle Heaney who have taken the bass and tenor section, and the overall ensemble of the band, to a new level.
The band looks forward to its next outing at the Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships on 15 June.
No Go at Enniskillen
FMM’s first competitive performance of the new season was cancelled at Enniskillen on Saturday following torrential rain and freezing cold temperatures.
After an initial dry start to the day the weather deteriorated quickly making any competition impossible.
This was disappointing for the band as well as the branch organisers and local community who had clearly put in a great effort to hosting the event. Sadly our treasured gazebos which had kept the band dry over many years lost their own battle with the elements in comical fashion. Thanks to our friends in Cullen Pipe Band for providing emergency shelter!
The band have since dried-off – purchased new gazebos – and are looking forward to the first championship of the season next weekend at Bathgate.
FMM 2013 Schedule Announced & Roster Updates
Field Marshal Montgomery’s schedule for the 2013 season is now available. The band begins the season on the 18th May at the County Fermanagh Championships in Enniskillen before the first Major Championship of the season – the British – at Bathgate a week later.
The 2013 season promises to be an exciting one for the band as we look to build on our record of 51 Major Championship wins to date. After a demanding off-season of practice and preparation the band are raring to go.
We are fortunate to have a number of talented new members join FMM this year strengthening both the pipe section and drum corps – profiles will be updated on the roster page over the next couple of weeks.
Best of luck to all for the new season!
FMM Welcomes a New Fan to the World
Long-term FMM piper Brian Martin – a member for 25 years – has become a dad for the second time. Lottie Anne Martin was both on 12th March 2013, weighing 8lb 4 oz. Both mum (Laura) and Lottie are doing well. Brian says "Lottie has already developed a fantastic set of lungs, so she will be well suited to following daddy playing the pipes!" Big brother Jack is doing a tremendous job looking after his little sister and can’t wait to show off Lottie to the pipe band world at our first competition this weekend.
Farewell to Friends and Welcome to New Arrivals
As most people in the pipe band world know, Ryan Canning is the new Pipe Major of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. Ryan will be joined at Shotts by his wife Megan. Both Ryan and Megan have made a fantastic contribution to FMM over the years, and the band wish them every success in their new adventure.
The Band is delighted to welcome Andrew Elliott as lead tenor for the 2013 season. Andrew has had considerable success in both solo and band competitions, having won the Canadian, United States and North American championships in both categories on several occasions.
Joining Andrew will be tenor drummer and close friend Kyle Heaney. Kyle was the 2011 Winter Storm Gold Medal tenor drumming champion, and in 2007, won the Best Bass and Drum Corps titles at the World Pipe Band Championships with the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band.
A full update to the band’s roster will be published in the new year.
While FMM soloists will continue to participate in competitions through the autumn, the band will be taking a well deserved break following a highly successful summer.
We look forward to seeing everyone in 2013 in what promises to be another hugely significant year for FMM.
Success at World Solo Drumming Championships
FMM drummers had a highly successful day at the World Solo Drumming Championships in Glasgow on 20th October, 2012.
Gavin Noade and Aaron McLean both made it to the final of the competition of the senior event - putting them in the elite group of 12 drummers who qualified from over 60+ competitors.
While Gavin is a regular competitor in the final, this was Aaron's first appearance in the event - a fantastic achievement at only 22 and in only his 3rd year in the adult grade. After playing both a MSR and H&J, Gavin was placed 10th and Aaron 11th.
On the same day, FMM tenor drummer Jordan Bailie placed 2nd in the Juvenile International Solo Tenor competition.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe
Band is selling their current
set of Premier drums. Only eight
months old, the drums have been
played only eleven times in
public during the 2012 season,
including the band's World
Championship winning performance
drums are in pristine condition
and are all premium finished in
Sapphire Sparkle Fade Lacquer.
The package consists of the
14 x Premier HTS 800 Snare
Drums (Diamond Chrome)
1 x Premier Professional
Series 28" x 16" Bass Drum
8 x Premier Professional
Series Tenor Drums (Various
Although the pipe band season
has ended for 2012, the solo
season has continued with
members of the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band
experiencing much solo success
during the month of September,
and into early October. Some of
the solo prizes for band members
Michael Fitzhenry was second
in the Silver Medal at the
Northern Meeting in Inveness,
Andrew Carlisle was fifth in
the Hornpipe & Jig. Piper
Donald MacPhee was fourth in
the Open March at the Braemar
Gathering, and fifth in the Open
Strathspey and Reel. Piper
Ashley McMichael was 2nd in
the Open Piobaireachd and 2nd in
the Senior Piping at the
All-Ireland Championships, where
Aaron McLean was 2nd in the
Intermediate Drumming. Emmett
Conway was first in the
Young Musician of the Year
section at the Gig n’ the Bann
Scott Wallace finished
third. Although slipping just
into October, soloists also did
well at the Northern Ireland
Piper of the Year event on 6
October, where piper
Kris Coyle won the overall
award after winning the MSR,
Hornpipe & Jig, and finishing
third in the Piobaireachd.
next major solo event will be
the World Solo Drumming
Championships, held on Saturday
20 October, at which many of the
band’s members will be
The Field Marshal Montgomery
Pipe Band was runner-up at the
Cowal Gathering on Saturday 25
August, in Dunoon, Scotland. The
final competition of the year
was a Medley competition, and
the band played its number one
Medley in front of an
appreciative crowd. The result
secured the band’s position as
winner of the RSPBA Champion of
Champions title, and marked the
end of what has been another
fantastic year for FMMPB. It’s
the 11th time in the band’s
history to be named Champion of
Champions, and the fourth year
in a row the band has claimed
this honour. 2012 will go down
in the band’s history as another
great year, winning three major
championships including the
band’s eighth World Championship
title. It was also a special
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr in
his tenth season with FMM to be
runner-up in the Champion of
Champions table for drumming.
band would like to thank all of
its friends, family, and
supporters for all their help
and support throughout the 2012
season. You can listen to the
recording of the band’s medley
at Cowal below:
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
won the World Pipe Band
Championships for the eighth time on
Saturday, 11 August, 2012. For the
first time in almost ten years, the
Worlds enjoyed dry and sunny weather
after nearly wall-to-wall sunshine
in the week leading up to the
event. The conditions made for a
strong competition, and thousands of
spectators descended upon Glasgow
Green to watch 235 bands compete,
comprising over 8000 pipers and
drummers on the day. For the Field
Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band,
competition was fierce, and the band
finished by winning both the March,
Strathspey & Reel and the Medley
event to win the overall award by a
strong margin of six points.
Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE
says of the performance, “I am
absolutely thrilled to have retained
the Worlds on Saturday. We had two
strong runs in both the MSR and the
Medley. It was important that we
played well particularly as we had
an early chanter at the start of the
MSR. While I’m always looking for a
perfect performance, these things
can happen from time to time, and I
was therefore pleased with the way
the band responded and went on to
produce such an excellent overall
performance. 2012 is proving to be
another fantastic year for FMM and
I’m delighted that all sections of
the band continue to go from
strength to strength.”
victory is special for FMM not only
because the band retained its World
title, but also because it cements
Pipe Major Richard Parkes’ place in
the history books as the second most
successful Pipe Major in terms of
World Championship titles. The
record is held by the great Pipe
Major Ian McLellan BEM and his
phenomenal achievement of twelve
World Championships as Pipe Major of
the Strathclyde Police Pipe
Band. Richard has now overtaken Pipe
Major John MacDonald - of the
Glasgow Police - whose seven World
titles were won just before and
after WWII. The win is also special
Drum Sergeant Keith Orr who in
2012 celebrates his tenth season
with the band, and in that time can
be proud to have helped the band to
win five Worlds and 29 major
would like to thank all its
supporters, friends and family for
their continued support throughout
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
has one more competition before the
end of the 2012 competition season,
at the Cowal Championship in Dunoon
on Saturday 25 August.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
will travel to Glasgow on Wednesday
8 August, to perform in Thursday's
Pipes of Peace concert, and prepare
for the World Pipe Band
Championships. However members of
the band will also be participating
in Piping Live!, a week long
festival of all things piping taking
place in Glasgow in the build up to
the Worlds. There are lots of
opportunities to hear
representatives of the band, and
here are some of them:
Monday 6 August: FMM
Donald MacPhee performs in a
recital entitled "A Drop of the Gold
Stuff"- a recital series with a
number of gold medallists, for which
Donald qualifies after winning at
the Northern Meeting in
2005. Donald's recital begins at
1.45pm at George Square, and tickets
costs £6 or £4 concession. FMM piper
Graham Drummond plays later in
the day, competing in the first heat
of Fred Morrison Reel Pipes Pipe
Idol, an informal crowd pleasing
competition between four
pipers. Pipe Idol begins at 3pm, and
is free to the public at the Street
Cafe outside the National Piping
Wednesday 8 August: FMM
Aaron McLean defends his total
as 2011 winner of Innovation
Drumming for Drinks, the crowd
vote free style entertaining
percussionists. Drumming for drinks
begins at 1pm and is held at the
Todd Barr at Strathclyde University,
and tickets are £11.
Thursday 9 August: FMM
Scott Wallace will perform as
one of the guest musicians in
"Wallace Bagpipes Presents," a
recital by the Glasgow based bagpipe
manufacturer. The event starts a 2pm
at the National Piping Centre, and
admission is free. For members of
the Field Marshal Mongtomery Pipe
Band, Thursday's big event will be
the Pipes of Peace concert, held at
the SECC at 19.15. The concert
showcases FMM along with Dowco
Triumph Street, as well as a
performance from Florida's City
of Dunedin Pipe Band. Tickets are
and cost £18.50.
Friday 10 August: The
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
will be holding a public band
practice at Kelvingrove Park at
2pm. The band will practice in the
usual spot, just below Glasgow
University halfway along Kelvin
Way. If the weather is raining, the
band will be sourcing an alternative
Saturday 11 August: WORLD
PIPE BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS! Come and
support the band at Glasgow Green.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
won its 22nd Ulster Pipe Band
Championship in Dungannon, County
Tyrone, on Saturday 4 August. The
band played both a March, Strathspey
& Reel and Medley event in weather
which was changeable, moving from
cloud cover and light showers to hot
direct sunlight. The band drew the
Highland Wedding, Blair Drummond &
Pretty Marion set and selected its
number one Medley, and finished the
competition with eight firsts from
the judges. Special mention goes to
one of FMM's snare drummers who had
the difficult job of playing bass
drum in the absence of FMM's
resident bass drummer
Chris Pollock who was busy at a
family wedding. The competition
marked the final outing for the band
before the World Pipe Band
Championships in Glasgow next
weekend, and was a great opportunity
to get a final competitive run
before the biggest day on the pipe
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
will now travel to Glasgow for a
week of performance, practice, and
competition. Don't forget to listen
to the band at the SECC in Glasgow
at the Pipes of Peace concert this
Thursday night at 7.15pm!
There’s just one week
to go until the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band perform at the
Pipes of Peace concert, held at
Glasgow’s SECC on 7.15pm on Thursday
9 August. The concert is one of many
pipe band events happening during
the Piping Live! festival, however
it is hoped to be one of the
highlights of week, with a
performance from the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band, as well as
Dowco Triumph Street and the City of
Dunedin Pipe Band.
addition to looking forward to the
music, concert goers can also look
forward to their chance to win
raffle prize of a set of Peter
Henderson PH02A bagpipes, with
Antique Thistle and Kingwood mounts
Tickets cost £18.50
and can be purchased online at
www.ticketsoup.com, or at the
SECC box office by phoning 0844 395
who is attending the Ulster
Championships in Dungannon this
Saturday might be interested to know
about this year’s International
Piping in the Park which will take
place at 7.30pm in the Dungannon
Rugby Club. Hosted by the
Aughintober Pipe Band, the event
aims to draw on the success of last
year’s event, which pits five pipers
against each other who represent
their country, and aim to please the
crowd with a twenty minute spot
which must include a March,
Strathspey & Reel, but beyond that
knows no bounds! Entertainment is
the focus, and the crowd vote
rules. Four of the five pipers in
this year’s line up are from the
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band,
with Scott Wallace representing
Northern Ireland, Kyle Warren
representing Scotland, Michael
Fitzhenry representing Canada, and
Ian Lyons representing
Australia. St. Laurence O’ Toole
Pipe Band’s Kevin Rogers is also
competing, representing the Republic
of Ireland. Tickets cost £7.50, and
you can order yours by contacting
Gail Graham on 07738 787043 or
emailing her at
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
were runners-up at the European Pipe
Band Championships in Belfast on
Saturday, 28 July. The third major
championship of the year took place
at Stormont Estate in Northern
Ireland’s capital, and despite some
showers throughout the day, the
Grade 1 competition remained dry for
the majority of bands.
second place finish meant that the
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band’s
one and a half year winning streak
was broken, after 14 wins in a row
including 7 major championships
since the start of May,
Despite taking the runner-up
spot, the band was very happy with a
solid performance of The Highland
Wedding, Blair Drummond & Pretty
Marion, the band’s fourth MSR
competition this year. The prize
marks the band’s 110th consecutive
top six finish at a major
championship over a span of 24
years, and continues the band’s
recent record for never having been
out of the top two in the prize list
at any competition since 2008!
band was also very pleased for our
Drum Major Samantha Gordon, who
was named European Champion in the
adult drum major grade; a fantastic
victory after also finishing second
All-Ireland Championship a few weeks
You can watch the band's European
Championship performance at Stormont
below in the embedded YouTube video.
As ever, our thanks go to
'Dronechorus' for making such
fantastic quality footage available.
band’s next competition is this
coming weekend at the Ulster Pipe
Band Championships in Dungannon,
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
enjoyed a long weekend in France as
participants in the Festival Celtique
Vendée Nations, a new Celtic music
festival which took place for the first
time in Luçon, in the Vendée region of
France, from 13-15 July.
in particular the Brittany region in the
north, is well known around the world as
a stronghold of Celtic music and
culture. However not all of France is
as familiar with all things Celtic as in
Brittany, and as such the Festival
Celtique Vendée Nations was a great
opportunity to bring pipe band music to
a part of France which traditionally
might not have been exposed to pipe
bands to the same degree as their
northern neighbours. The festival ran
over three days, and included
performances from many Celtic music
groups who performed in an open air
setting. A big worry of the weekend was
the weather, as heavy rain led to the
cancelation of some of Friday’s outdoor
events and threatened the success of
Saturday and Sunday’s plans. Luckily the
rain held off for the rest of the
weekend so that the festival could
Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band’s first
performance was on the Saturday evening,
in an informal setting on an outdoor
concert stage as people were arriving
and starting to fill the venue. The
band filled a two hour time slot with
solo, duet, quartet, and mini-band
performances from all members of the
band, including two sets with the whole
band playing together, and a display
from our Drum Major Samantha Gordon.
Entitled “Musical Games,” it was a fun
opportunity to hear some of the talent
within FMM, and for band members to
appreciate their fellow bandsmen and
Sunday, the Field Marshal Montgomery
Pipe Band was treated to a morning tour
Château de Rosnay winery,
hosted by the Jard family, and were
given a sample of some of the beautiful
wines produced there as well as being
given a tour of the cellar. As a thank
you for the hospitality, pipers Emmett
Conway and Graham Drummond performed at
the front door of the winery for the
band and hosts to enjoy.
tour led to the afternoon, where FMM
participated in a parade through the
town of Luçon in hot and sunny weather,
along with other pipe bands, bagads, and
musical groups. The final destination
of the parade was the concert venue, and
the people of Luçon followed the bands
to where they would perform later that
night. FMM then began preparing for the
evening concert, again in an outdoor
setting but this time on the main
covered concert stage. The band shared
the stage with many other Celtic groups,
including playing a set with one of
France’s top bagads. The band performed
to an appreciative crowd, many of whom
had never spent much time listening to
pure pipe band music before, while
others had travelled a great distance to
hear the band and other performing
members, a highlight of the night was
the final speeches and celebrations
between the organisers and performers
after the concert had ended. Members of
the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
were shocked when Canadian piper Michael
Fitzhenry read a thank you speech to
organisers on behalf of FMM, in fluent
French! The weekend closed with
celebratory drinks where FMM was able to
meet many of the other performers, and
the band returned home the following
day. On behalf of the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band, thank you to the
organisers and hosts who made the
To see more
pictures from the France trip, please
join the band’s
Facebook page and have a look at our
album dedicated to this weekend. All
photography is courtesy of Amanda
Pollock, the band’s official
photographer for the weekend.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band will
travel to France this weekend to
participate in the Festival Celtique
Vendée Nations, a Celtic music festival
taking place in Luçon, France. The
festival will take place from Friday to
Sunday, the 13 to 15 July, and will
feature a number of bands and artists in
addition to the Field Marshal Montgomery
Pipe Band. Band members will be
participating in a number of events,
including a two hour period of informal
performances from band members on
Saturday night, a parade on Sunday
afternoon, and the highlight of the
weekend being a full concert on the
Just one week
after the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
reached a major milestone by winning its
50th RSPBA Major Championship, the band
secured another landmark by winning its 20th
All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships, on
Saturday 7 July, in Ballina, County Mayo.
All-Ireland Championship benefited from cool
but dry weather, and the contest took the
usual format of both a March, Strathspey &
Reel event as well as a Medley
selection. The band drew its number two MSR
(Balmoral Highlanders, John Roy Stewart &
Charlie’s Welcome) and selected its number
one Medley. The band finished on the day
with six out of eight first place marks to
win the overall title.
Photographs courtesy of
The band won its
first ever All-Ireland Championship in 1989,
four years after being promoted to Grade 1
for the 1986 pipe band season, and eight
Richard Parkes took over FMM as Pipe
Major in 1981. Up until that point, the
All-Ireland Championship had been dominated
by some of the big bands of the time: Fintan
Lalor throughout the 1940s and 1960s winning
9 titles, Ballycoan in the 1950s winning 7
titles, the Robert Armstrong Memorial
throughout the 1970s with 9 titles, and
bands like Cullybackey (5 titles),
McNeilstown (4 titles), and the Graham
Memorial and RUC (1 title each) dominating
the 1980s. For the Field Marshal Montgomery
Pipe Band at that time, winning an
All-Ireland Championship against
considerable local competition was an
enormous feat, and the 1989 victory was the
band’s most significant achievement since
its founding in 1945. Of course what came
next was an unprecedented string of success
internationally; however it’s important to
note the significance of the All-Ireland
Championship on home ground. Since that
first win in 1989, the band has won the
All-Ireland Championship 20 times in the
last 24 years: not only showing the
significance of Richard Parkes’ influence in
keeping the band consistently at the top for
over two decades, but also setting the
record for the highest number of All-Ireland
Championship wins from any grade one band,
ever. (To read more about the history of the
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, don’t
forget to browse our detailed history
page and multimedia gallery
of our website).
FMM in 1989,
with the All-Ireland Championship trophy
centre, Pipe Major Richard Parkes on the far
left, and 14 year old Brian Martin in the
front row fourth from the left. Both men
were there for the first All-Ireland in
1989, and still there for the 20th in 2012!
The band’s next
public engagement will be a concert and live
performances at the Festival Celtique Vendée
Nations in France, this coming weekend.
It was a happy
Alisdair McLaren and Lynsey McNicholl
when they wed on Saturday 9 June, 2012, at
St Salvator’s Chapel in St. Andrews,
been a member of the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band since 2009, travelling
from Scotland to play with the band, however
hailing originally from Perth,
Australia. Although now a member of the
Cullen Pipe Band, Lynsey too is significant
to the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band,
as she was a piper with the band from
2004-2009, winning all five major
championships during her tenure with FMM,
and she still helps the band tune drones
when she can. The couple met through the
pipe band fraternity in 2006 and six years
later celebrated their wedding together with
family and friends in St Andrews last month.
connection was strongly felt throughout the
wedding, with many guests and indeed members
of the wedding party involved in pipe bands,
and people travelling from Scotland,
Northern Ireland, and as far as Australia to
be there on the day. Alisdair’s groomsmen
Canning as Best Man, Strathclyde Police
Pipe Band’s Chris McNicholl as groomsman and
his brother Iain McLaren, who himself is a
retired bandsman from Australia. Lynsey’s
bridesmaids included FMM’s
Canning as Maid of Honour, Ravara Pipe
Band’s Elizabeth Sloan as bridesmaid, and
friends Anna Gourley and Claire Halliday as
bridesmaids who have certainly been
converted to appreciating the instrument, if
they didn’t before! Alisdair and Lynsey’s
page boy was young Callum Dunn, eldest son
Alastair Dunn and Margaret Dunn, who
themselves are famous pipers. The official
wedding piper on the day was Connor
Sinclair, a member of the Cullen Pipe Band
as well as the National Youth Pipe Band of
Scotland for which Alisdair works as the
Director. Connor is also personal piper to
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond as
well as Sir Sean Connery, so the newlywed
McLarens were in good company! The piping
highlight of the day was a surprise
performance from the National Youth Pipe
Band of Scotland, where young members of the
band played, as guests gathered on the lawn
outside the chapel immediately following the
ceremony. The inclusion of the NYPBoS had
been organised by Lynsey as a surprise to
Alisdair and he even enjoyed a tune with the
band as they finished their performance.
Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band would like to
extend hearty congratulations to both
Alisdair and Lynsey, and would like to wish
them all the happiness in the world in their
future lives together. Congratulations to
the new Mr and Mrs McLaren!
the day was by the very talented Niels and
Alie Calvert of Blue Sky Photography, and
for a limited time, more pictures of
Alisdair and Lynsey’s wedding can be viewed
on their photo
Blue Sky Photography
Saturday was a
historic day for the Field Marshal
Montgomery Pipe Band, when the band won its
major championship in Annan, Scotland. The
win was the band’s 7th major title in a row
on the back of 2011’s undefeated Grand Slam
season, and it was the 4th British Championship win for
FMM in as many years. However the big
celebration was hitting the number 50; a
number significant to the band as a whole as
a record of its consistency over the last
two decades, but especially significant to
Pipe Major Richard Parkes
who is now one of the most decorated pipe
majors of all time. 50 major championship
wins over 23 years is a testament to Richard
and all the band members were pleased to be
able to celebrate that historic figure with
him on Saturday.
The contest was a
March, Strathspey & Reel event, and the band
drew its number one set, The Highland
Wedding, Blair Drummond and Pretty Marion. After initial gloomy weather warnings, the
day turned out to be dry, although quite
windy with changeable cloud cover. The band
put in a solid performance to win the
contest with 6 points, gaining two firsts
and two seconds from the four judges. Thank
you once again to Drone Chorus for the video
The band’s next
performance will be this weekend at the
All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships in
Ballina, County Mayo.
we press into the pipe band season, many
members of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe
Band have also continued to do well in their
various solo endeavors in May and June. Jonathan Greenlees
has had a particularly fruitful spring,
gaining 5th in
the Open Piobaireachd, 5th in the
Strathspey & Reel, and 4th in the
Jig at the Aberdeen Highland Games on 17
June. He also finished 3rd in
the Open Piobaireachd, 4th in the March, and
5th in the Strathspey & Reel at Strathmore
on 9 June, and 2nd
on the Open Piobaireachd in Markinch on 3
June. Matt Wilson
has also featured in the solo prize lists,
gaining 4th in
the Open March Strathspey & Reel event in
Markinch on 3rd June, and 2nd
in the Open March Strathspey & Reel at Blair
Atholl on 27 May. James Gore also did well
at Blair Atholl, gaining 2nd in
the 'C' Grade Piobaireachd, and
won 5th in the Open Hornpipe &
Drummond was 3rd in
the Open Strathspey & Reel in Bathgate on 26
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band won their
third competition of the year at the Heart
of Down Championships in Newcastle, County
Down, on Saturday, 23 July. The competition
was the first March Strathspey & Reel event
of the year and the weather was a dominant
feature of the day with very heavy downpours
throughout the morning. However for the
bands competing in the afternoon, the
weather remained dry enough to provide for
reasonable tuning conditions which were of
benefit to the competition as a whole.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band drew its
number two set, Balmoral Highlanders, John
Roy Stewart and Charlie’s Welcome. The band
had a good first run out, winning the event
with five points.
band’s next competition will be at the
British Championships in Annan, Scotland.
Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band retained its
title as Scottish Champions for the fourth
year running at Levengrove Park in
Dumbarton, Scotland, on Saturday 19 May. The
first major championship of the 2012 season
was held in cool but dry conditions; a
welcome change to the now infamous rain at
the same competition the year previous. The
contest had an entry of 134 bands, with 16
bands competing in Grade 1. The Field
Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band was the third
last competitor in the grade, and drew its
number one medley selection. The band
concluded a solid performance, and finished
as winners with two firsts in piping, a
first in ensemble, and a second in drumming
to win the contest with just 5 points. The
win is the band’s 14th Scottish Championship
title, and 49th major championship win. You
can listen to the band’s winning performance
on YouTube - thanks to DroneChorus for the
The band’s next
competition will be in Newcastle, County Down,
on Saturday 23 June.
year the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band celebrated
30 years at helm for
Pipe Major Richard Parkes, and this year the band is
delighted to celebrate the first major milestone with
Sergeant Keith Orr, as he begins his tenth season
this time a decade ago that Keith was preparing to lead
the drum corps in his first major championship, in May
2003. Keith’s first season was a critical time in the
band’s history. In 2002, the band had an extremely
successful year; winning back the World Championship
title for the first time in eight years, gaining four
out of the five major championship titles, and
performing live at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and
producing its third live album, Unplugged. Leading
Drummer Andy Scullion was a huge part of these
achievements, but chose to retire from the band at the
end of the season. His retirement meant that the band
had to defend its World title and follow-up the success
of 2002 with a new leading drummer in 2003, and that
leader would be Keith Orr.
the time of Keith’s selection, he was already a veteran
competitor on the Northern Ireland pipe band scene. He
had played with the Royal Ulster Constabulary Pipes &
Drums under the late Bobby Rea, before taking over as
leading drummer of the Graham Memorial for eight years,
and then taking over as leading drummer of McNeillstown
for a further eight years. His time at the helm of these
bands saw him lead very successful drum corps; winning
the drumming in the MSR at the World Championships, as
well as the European Championships. Looking back at that
time, Pipe Major Richard Parkes reflects: “It was
imperative that the new lead drummer was able to
maintain continuity within the corps and maintain the
success we had achieved in 2002. Keith knew the
challenges that lay ahead at took to the task with
enthusiasm and excitement. It was also important to
create stability, at this transitional time for the
band. The results over the last ten years speak for
themselves and there is no doubt that this could not
have been accomplished without a major contribution from
Keith. I have always found Keith easy to work with and
our musical ideas compliment each other, leading to the
ensemble sound that we have produced together. I would
like to congratulate Keith on his first ten years in FMM
and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the
choice proved to be a good one, and Keith began the 2003
season by winning the drumming at the Scottish
Championships, and helped trigger the most successful
period in FMM’s history to date. Since Keith took over,
the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band has won a
staggering 27 major championships, including four more
World Championship titles, seven RSPBA Champion of
Champions awards, an RSPBA Drum Corp Champion of
Champion’s award, and a Grand Slam. In addition,
the FMM drum corps under Keith has won three European
Championships, the British Championships, the Scottish
Championships and been runner-up at the World
Championships on three occasions. This extraordinary
period of success has meant that over half of every
major championship title won by FMM, has been won under
Keith in the last decade alone. There is no question
that Keith’s commitment to the FMM team has shaped the
band’s history indefinitely.
says of his time in the band, “it has been the most
fantastic ten years since I took the reigns at FMM. The
two objectives for me before taking the job were to be
successful, and to enjoy the experience. Ten years on,
and I don't think anyone could have predicted the
outstanding success the band and corps have achieved. It
has been a wonderful experience to be part of it all.”
behalf of everyone at FMM, thank you Keith for your
first ten seasons of commitment, and we look forward to
the next decade.
The Field Marshal Montgomery
Pipe Band competed in its first competition of the
season on Saturday, 12 May, in Newtownards, County
Down. The Borough of Ards Championship was the first
outdoor competition on the Northern Irish pipe band
calendar, and was well attended by both bands and
crowds. The Grade 1 competition featured four bands from
the RSPBA Northern Ireland branch and luckily the
sunshine was a feature of the grade one competition in
the afternoon. The band selected its number one medley
for competition and finished up as winners of the
contest to create a good start to the season. The band
travels to Scotland to compete at the Scottish
Championships next weekend, on Saturday 19 May. Watch
the band's performance here:
of May means that the birth of another pipe band season is
just on the horizon, and the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe
Band has lots of spring news to announce to supporters and
has been very busy preparing for the start of another year,
and has now announced its 2012 performance
schedule. The band will
participate in 11 public performances this year, which
include nine competitions and two concerts. The competitions
will be split between the five major championships, and four
local contests on home ground. The concerts include
participation in the Pipes of Peace concert held in Glasgow
in August, and the Festival Celtique Vendée Nations, held in
France in July. The band’s first public outing is this
weekend, in Newtonards, Northern Ireland.
The band is
also pleased to announce its new roster for 2012, and to
welcome to the band Scott
Wallace to the pipe corps, and
Brendan Megoran to
the drum corps. Both Scott and Brendan are well known on the
pipe band scene in Northern Ireland, and the band is pleased
to welcome them both to this year’s roster.
good news of new players coming in, we also have the sad
news to say goodbye to Norman 'Haggis' MacLeod, after six
years of service to the band. Norman is arguably one of the
most important figures to shape the development of tenor
drumming in pipe bands over the last two decades, and some
of the leading tenor drummers in the world today have been
taught by Norman. The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band was
lucky to benefit from his service. During his six years with
the band, Norman won 20 major championship titles, including
3 World Championship wins. He also won five RSPBA Champion
of Champions awards, 6 Ulster Championships, 3 All-Ireland
Championships and was part of the team to win the 2011 Grand
Drummer Keith Orr says of Norman, “Since Norman
joined in 2006, he has played a major part in improving the
tenor section, and in particular the visual aspect. He
played a very important role in a period of great success
for the band over the last years and we would like to thank
him for his hard work and dedication to the band.”Pipe
Major Richard Parkes says of Norman, “There is no
doubt that Norman has contributed greatly to the mid-section
of FMM, which helped the band towards the good ensemble
results we’ve experienced, and ultimately to the Grand
Slam.” After a long and successful pipe band career,
Norman is now taking a break from competing, but will
continue teaching and judging, which he is of course well
known for. On behalf of everyone at FMM, thank you Norman
for your service to the band!
members have had a busy spring competing in various solo
competitions both in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and further
afield. It is a testament to FMM’s roster that so many of
its pipers and drummers are succeeding in their various solo
ventures! In no particular order: piper
Matt Wilson finished
3rd in the 'C' Grade MSR at the Duncan Johnstone Memorial,
and 1st in the Open MSR and 2nd in the Open Hornpipe/Jig at
the Kingdom Thistle. Piper
finished 2nd in the 'B' Grade Piobaireachd at the Duncan
Johnstone Memorial. Piper
Glenn Ross finished 4th overall in the Open Piping at
the Kingdom Thistle, 5th in the 'C' Grade MSR at the Duncan
Johnstone Memorial, and gained two firsts at the Arbroath
Music Festival. Piper
Emmett Conway finished 4th in the 'C' Grade Piobaireachd
at the Duncan Johnstone Memorial, 2nd in the Open MSR and
1st in the Open Hornpipe/Jig at the Kingdom Thistle to win
the overall award, and 3rd in the Senior MSR and 1st in the
Hornpipe/Jig at the Ulster Solos to finish 2nd overall in
the senior grade. Piper
finished 1st in the Senior MSR at the Cullybackey Solos, and
2nd in the Senior MSR and 3rd in the Senior Hornpipe/Jig at
the Ulster Solos. He also won the Open Piobaireachd at the
Ulster Solos. Piper Kris
Coyle finished 3rd in the Senior MSR at the Cullybackey
Solos. Piper James Gore
finished 2nd in the 'C' Grade Piobaireachd at the Duncan
Johnstone Memorial, and 2nd in the Open Piobaireachd at the
Ulster Solos. Piper Scott
Wallace finished 3rd in the Intermediate MSR at the
Ulster Solos. Piper
Jonathan Greenlees finished 2nd in the Former Winners
MSR at the Scottish Piper’s Association. Pipe
Sergeant Alastair Dunn won both the Former Winners
Piobaireachd and MSR at the Irish Piobaireachd Society’s
annual competition. Piper
Andrew Carlisle won
the Gold Medal MSR/Hornpipe/Jig at Kansas City. Piper
finished 4th at the Uist and Barra. Drummer
Aaron MacLean finished
1st in the Open Drumming at the Kingdom Thistle, and 2nd in
the Intermediate Drumming at the Ulster Solos. Drummer
Gareth McLees was 1st
in the Open MSR at the Kingdom Thistle, and finished 2nd
overall in the Open Drumming. He was also joint 1st in the
Senior MSR and Hornpipe/Jig to finish 2nd overall in the
Senior Drumming at the Ulster Solos, having been tied in
points for first place and just losing out on adjudicator’s
Brendan Megoran finished 3rd in the Senior MSR and
Hornpipe/Jig, to finish 3rd overall the Ulster Solos.
members have also been busy performing, and have
participated in a musical piece called 'Titanic Drums',
which was part of the BBC production of 'Titanic - A
Commemoration in Music and Film.' The performance was part
of the centenary commemoration of the Titanic, which was of
course built in Belfast, and the particular Titanic Drums
piece was composed by John Anderson with the help from
drummer Mark Wilson. The performance featured a wide array
of drummers from across Northern Ireland’s pipe band scene,
and participants from the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
Sergeant Keith Orr,
Gavin Noade, Terry
McCullough and Jordan
Bailie. Other famous performers outside the pipe band
genre included Bryan Ferry, Alfie Boe, Misha Pars, Joss
Stone, Katie Meluia, and presenter John Humphries. In Peter McCaughan’s
review of the performance he writes, “The stand-out
performance of the evening comes in the form of the Titanic
Drums, in which 100 drummers with instruments of various
types take to the stage, there to invoke the historic
shipyard's ear-splitting cacophony of sound at it's busiest.
Joined by the massed choirs of Grosvenor and Omagh Youth
Community and the Ulster Orchestra, under the baton of
composer and director John Anderson, this piece is met by
thunderous applause from the audience." Anyone
interested can watch the entire performance on Youtube (link
http://youtu.be/4pY3ubDOnrI), and can join the group’s
Facebook page (link is
It has also
been a period of happy baby news for FMM band members
David Middleton and
Dunn. David and wife Valerie welcomed the birth of baby
Andrew David Middleton on 22 March. Baby Andrew is the
younger brother to Ralph. Just one day later, Alastair and
wife Margaret welcomed the birth of baby Rory Timothy Dunn
on 23 March, the younger brother to Callum. Both Andrew and
Rory join the growing family of FMM babies born in recent
years - congratulations on behalf of the band!
bit of personal news is from piper
Donald MacPhee. Donald
has been a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
since 2006, and is a well known face on both the solo and
pipe band scene. He is winner of the coveted Gold Medal for
Piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting, a successful bagpipe
reedmaker by trade, a former Pipe Major himself, and with
FMM has won 20 major championships, including three world
titles. Donald recently passed his final qualifications to
become an RSPBA adjudicator. Although his present commitment
to FMM prevent him from judging a major championship any
time soon, this is a great achievement for Donald, and we
are glad the pipe band world will get to benefit from his
band has also made some changes to its website, including
updating the history table on its
history page. Watch out for pictures from 2011 coming
soon to the band’s
photo gallery. The band’s new
merchandise section, launched in July 2011, has proven
very popular over the winter and continues to attract lots
of online sales. If you haven’t already had a look at our
band merchandise, consider making a purchase! All money goes
to support the band.
first competition is this Saturday, on 12 May in Newtownards,