Gilnahirk Pipe Band

Formed 1919

North Down Pipe Band Championships, Bangor 2012

The Band took to the Grass on Saturday 21 July for the second time this season under blue skies in Bangor for the North Down Championships.

The weather was kind - the judges, less so.

Due to a couple of missing players, we took to the arena with seven pipers and four side drummers, along with one tenor drummer and, of course, the bass drummer.

However, for the first time in Gilnahirk's long history, we had a female bass player! Leanne joined the band this year and her first ever contest was in Newcastle just a few weeks ago. She is a tenor drummer but showed that she can turn her hand to the bass with considerable skill. Her panache in all aspects of the bass section should be no surprise to those in the know - her husband is none other than Greg, the All-Ireland Championship winning bass drummer from Quinn Memorial Pipe Band!

David Scott, the RSPBA Announcer, made special mention of Greg and Leanne, as the two bands paraded onto the arena together for the Finale.

In terms of the competition itself, the performance was one of two halves. A few jangling nerves meant that the first two tunes were a little unsettled, but once into our stride, the potential in the Band was plain to see - sadly, the judges simply refused to only take into account our second half efforts!

It's fair to say that the high point of the judging sheets was to be found on the Marching and Deportment report which confirmed our cleanliness as top class! They say it's next to Godliness...

Nevertheless, some wise heads in the watching crowd were impressed by the improvements in the Band and the first ever performance of one of our younger members, James Cartledge was another milestone for a Band looking to rebuild and improve with new players.

Next up will be the European Championships at Stormont in one week - plenty of practice between now and then!