Championship pipe bands head to the Belfast Tattoo

Pipe Major Alyson McKnight and some members of Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band pictured at the Belfast Tattoo 2015.
Pipe Major Alyson McKnight and some members of Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band pictured at the Belfast Tattoo 2015.

Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band has continued its winning streak, this time at the County Fermanagh Championships, where they competed last weekend.

The Championships took place at Broadmeadow at Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen and the members of Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band were placed first in the Grade 2 section.

Belfast Tattoo Photo: Cliff Mason

Belfast Tattoo Photo: Cliff Mason

Meanwhile, Marlacoo and District Pipe Band, took first place in the Grade 3B section, which they were promoted to at the end of the 2015 Pipe Band Championship Season.

Both Pipe Bands will be performing in this year’s Belfast Tattoo at The SSE Arena, on Thursday, September 1 and the following evening, Friday, September 3, tickets for which are now on sale.

Thiepval Memorial Pipe Band, from Donegal, was formed in 1905, and formerly known as Convoy Pipe Band. The name was changed in 1919 to commemorate the many young men who died in the Theipval area of the Somme in 1916.

The band has a long history of competing, with their first record in 1938. The present Pipe Major is Alyson McKnight and Drum Sergeant is Clarke Campbell.

The band competes at Grade 3B and its most successful year to date was 2009 when they swept the boards at Grade 4B winning Scottish, British, All-Ireland, European and World Titles as well as Champion Of Champions and Supreme Champion Of Champions. The band was upgraded to 4A in 2010, and further to a successful season in 2011, was upgraded to Grade 3B.

Marlacoo and District Pipe Band was founded in 1949. It is located in rural Co. Armagh, between Armagh City and Tandragee. Wayne Byrne has been Pipe major with Marlacoo and District Pipe Band since 2012 with Lead Drummer, Lee Irwin (previously Lawson), joining in 2014.

Confirmed to participate in The 2016 Belfast Tattoo alongside these two great bands are the Combined Corps of Drums of the Irish and Coldstream Guards, Liberation Band (Holland), Fanfarekorps Der Genie (Holland), the Regimental Band Royal Irish Regiment with Pipes and Drums 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, Artane Band (Dublin) and the 2016 Belfast Tattoo Drum Major Display Team.

Then bands line-up includes Ravara Pipe Band from Ballygowan, Thiepval Pipe Band, New Ross Pipe Band from Wexford, Marlacoo and District Pipe Band and McDonald Memorial Pipe Band from Dromore. Also taking part will be Pride of Ballinran Flute Band from Kilkeel, the members of Dunloy Accordion Band and Vow Accordion Band.

Other acts to look forward to are the Harlandic Male Voice Choir, Belfast Tattoo Highland Dance Troupe and Innova Irish Dance Company.