Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

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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.

PM Maxwell with the worlds trophy

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.

Richard and Billy reading the sheets

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 - 2013 Cowal Pipe Band Champions

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.”

FMM - 2013 Cowal Pipe Band Champions

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!

Brian with his first Cowal Shield Brian and Richard with the Cowal Shield in 2013

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.

Jonathan Greenlees with the Braemar Gold Medal

Key successes included –

Scott Barr 1stJunior, All Ireland Championships

Andrew Carlisle 1st MacCrimmon Trophy, Lorient

Kris Coyle 1stSenior Piobaireachd, All Ireland Championships

Graham Drummond: 1st B-Grade MSR, Northern Meeting

Alastair Dunn: 3rd Senior Piobaireachd, Argyllshire Gathering & 1st A-Grade MSR Northern Meeting

Mike Fitzhenry: 5th Open Jig, Argyllshire Gathering

Jonathan Greenlees: Gold Medal, Braemar Highland Gathering

Ashley McMichael: 1st Senior Light Music, All Ireland Championships

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!

Ashley and Ashlei

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.

FMM - 2013 World Pipe Band Champions

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.

FMM's world champion drum corps

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.

FMM in competition while being filmed by the BBC

The band’s performances in the final can be viewed on the BBC ‘Worlds’ page -

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!

FMM's championship winning leadership team

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.

Parkes and Orr on top of the world ScottishPower pipers guard of honour to welcome FMM at the Thistle Hotel

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.

FMM prepare for competition at Newtonards

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.

Competing under blue skies at the 2013 Ulster 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

FMM's Scottish Championship winning leadership

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.

FMM enter the circle at Dumbarton

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”.

The FMM drum corps at the Scottish Pipe Band Championships

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

Pipe Major Ian McLellan BEMField 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

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE leads the FMM pipe corps at the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships

FMM pipers warm up in Derry-LondonderryField 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.

Some of FMM's newest members at their first All-Ireland Championships with the band FMM bass drummer Chris Pollock

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 at the 2013 European Pipe Band Championships in Forres

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and Drum Sergeant Keith Orr bring home the silverware for FMMField 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.”

Double celebrations for FMM as a band and a drum corps

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

FMM leaving the field at Bathgate

FMM drummers Aaron McLean and Gavin NoadeThe 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

Brian Martin and family with new baby Lottie

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.

A full breakdown of the results is available at

October was also a successful month for FMM piper Jonathan Greenlees who secured 1st place at the 2012 Royal National Mod in Dunoon.

World Championship Winning Premier Drums For Sale

FMM's Premier drums for sale

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 in August.

FMM's Premier HTS 800 Snare Drums Premier's Sapphire Sparkle Fade Lacquer premium shell finish

The drums are in pristine condition and are all premium finished in Sapphire Sparkle Fade Lacquer. The package consists of the following instruments:

  • 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 Sizes)

If your band is interested in purchasing this full set of drums, please contact Drum Sergeant Keith Orr at

FMM September Solo Success

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 include piper Michael Fitzhenry was second in the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in Inveness, and piper 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 drummer 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 festival, and 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.

The 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 competing.

FMM Complete 2012 Season with Champion of Champions Win

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 honour for Drum Sergeant Keith Orr in his tenth season with FMM to be runner-up in the Champion of Champions table for drumming.   
The 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:

FMM Win 8th World Pipe Band Championship

FMM on their way to Worlds win number eight

The 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.”

The 2012 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 for 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 championships.

FMM would like to thank all its supporters, friends and family for their continued support throughout the year.

The 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.

FMM at Piping Live!

The 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 piper 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 Centre.

Wednesday 8 August: FMM drummer Aaron McLean defends his total as 2011 winner of Innovation Drumming for Drinks, the crowd vote free style entertaining competition for 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 piper 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 available at 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 destination.

Saturday 11 AugustWORLD PIPE BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS! Come and support the band at Glasgow Green.

FMM Win Ulster Championships

FMM at Dungannon

The 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 Aaron McLean, 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 band calendar.

Final tuning at Dungannon FMM pipers with Pipe Major Richard Parkes

The 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!

Pipes of Peace in One Week - Bagpipes To Be Won

Pipes of Peace 2012

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.

Peter Henderson PH02A bagpipes to be wonIn 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 worth £1500!

Tickets cost £18.50 and can be purchased online at, or at the SECC box office by phoning 0844 395 4000.

The band is looking forward to entertaining you!

International Piping in the Park

Anyone 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

FMM Runners-up at the European Championships

FMM at Stormont Estate, Belfast

The 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.

Chanter practice under shelter FMM drummers practice in Stormont

European champion Drum Major Samantha GordonSaturday’s 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, 2011.

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!

The 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 at the All-Ireland Championship a few weeks before.

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.

The band’s next competition is this coming weekend at the Ulster Pipe Band Championships in Dungannon, County Tyrone.

FMM Perform in Luçon, France

Vendee NationsThe 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. 

France, and 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 continue unafflicted. 

Musical Games

The Field 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 women!

On the Sunday, the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band was treated to a morning tour of the 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.

FMM on Parade

The wine 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 acts. 

FMM in concert

FMM drum corps in full flight

For band 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 weekend memorable. 

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. 

FMM to Perform in France This Weekend

Vendee NationsThe 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 Sunday evening.

For ticket information and a full programme of events, you can visit the festival’s official website, or join their Facebook page ( to learn more. 
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is really looking forward to our journey to France and to performing in this new festival!

FMM Win 20th All-Ireland Championship

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. 

Saturday’s 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.

FMM pipers marching into the circle at Ballina

FMM's trophy haul from the All-Ireland Championships
Photographs courtesy of Amanda Pollock

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 years after 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, results page and multimedia gallery of our website).

The FMM All-Ireland winners of 1989
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.

Wedding Bells for Alisdair and Lynsey McLaren

It was a happy day for Alisdair McLaren and Lynsey McNicholl when they wed on Saturday 9 June, 2012, at St Salvator’s Chapel in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Alisdair has 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.

The newly wed Mr & Mrs Alisdair McLaren

The piping 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 included FMM’s Ryan 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 Megan 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 of 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.

The McLarens with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland

The Field 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!

(Photography on 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 blog).

FMM Wins Its 50th Major Championship

FMM at the British Pipe Band Championships in Annan

Saturday was a historic day for the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, when the band won its 50th 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 recording.

The band’s next performance will be this weekend at the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships in Ballina, County Mayo.

May/June Solo Results for FMM Pipers

As 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 Michael Fitzhenry won 5th in the Open Hornpipe & Jig. Graham Drummond was 3rd in the Open Strathspey & Reel in Bathgate on 26 May.

FMM Win at Newcastle

FMM at the Heart of Down Championships, Newcastle

The 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.

FMM's snare line at the Heart of Down Championships

The 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.

The band’s next competition will be at the British Championships in Annan, Scotland.

FMM Win Scottish Championships

FMM competing at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton

The Field 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 recording.

The band’s next competition will be in Newcastle, County Down, on Saturday 23 June.

Keith Orr Celebrates 10 Seasons With FMM

Drum Sergeant Keith Orr with his FMM drum corps

Last 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 Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, as he begins his tenth season with FMM. 

It was 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.

Drum Sergeant Keith OrrAt 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 seasons ahead.”

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.

Keith 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.”

On behalf of everyone at FMM, thank you Keith for your first ten seasons of commitment, and we look forward to the next decade.

FMM Begin 2012 With a Win

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:


Spring News for FMM

The start 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 friends. 

The band 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. 

Norman MacLeodWith 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 Slam. Leading 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!

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 Graham Drummond 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 Ashley McMichael 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 Donald MacPhee 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 preference. Drummer Brendan Megoran finished 3rd in the Senior MSR and Hornpipe/Jig, to finish 3rd overall the Ulster Solos.

Titanic Drums

Many band 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 included Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, Gavin Noade, Terry Smyth, Aaron McCarten, Sarah 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 is, 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 Alastair 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!

The last 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 experience.

Lastly, the 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.

The band’s first competition is this Saturday, on 12 May in Newtownards, Northern Ireland.

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