SLoT Sell Out Concert a ‘Spectacular Success’/ Closkelt Cancelled

The Armagh City Hotel, in the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, was the venue for the much-awaited concert performance by the St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band on Saturday night 27th April 2019. Due to another engagement I could not be part of the capacity audience of 1,000 who attended. ‘Turas Ceoil Resume – Live in Ireland’ was a rerun of their 2018 pre-Worlds concert held in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall last August and by all accounts was a spectacular success.

By Gilbert Cromie

The Armagh concert also acted as the launch of the much awaited CD of the Glasgow concert which is expected to be snapped up by fans of the band all over the world as were the copies that were on sale on the night.

Pipe Major Alen Tully and his band of twenty pipers and six snares, bass and tenor section performed the concert in four segments with the seven piece male vocal group ‘Coda’ providing an eclectic mix of musical styles including Celtic and North American music, traditional and contemporary folk songs in between the sections. 

Much has been written about the pre-Worlds concert in Glasgow and on this occasion the band did not disappoint with social media comments such as ‘brilliant concert from an outstanding musical ensemble’, ‘fabulous show from start to finish’, ‘simply incredible show’ and for quite a few who had attended the pre-Worlds concert ‘this was even better’.

Of course such comments were to be expected simply because no one would have doubted that SLoT wouldn’t put on a top class show. This band oozes class from Alen Tully’s talented pipe corps to Stephen Creighton’s world champion side, bass and tenor section.

While I wasn’t able to attend I have had the pleasure of both watching and listening to a variety of tunes on various social media outlets since Saturday night and I can concur with all that has been said.

St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band performing their Jigs & Hornpipe set at Armagh City Hotel

One of the sets that I especially enjoyed was another of the Alen and Terry Tully duets similar to the classic ‘Dawning of the Day’ presentation, but this time with the ‘Coda’ vocal group taking part.

The band has put in an enormous amount of effort not only in terms of the planning of the music but also in practising for it and they deserve the financial rewards from both these concerts.

I understand that they are on the lookout for new practice rooms, not to mention the costs associated with attending the RSPBA major contests in 2019.

I would encourage all pipe band fans to purchase this recording whether it is the CD version or in any of the other formats that it most likely will be available in these days.

Don’t do it just to help the band financially (although that’s not a bad reason) but quite simply because it will be seriously good and I intend buying one as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Closkelt Pipe Band Indoor Full Band Contest Cancelled

When Closkelt Pipe Band announced late last year that they would be organising an Indoor Full Band competition on Saturday 3rd May there was much excitement amongst the pipe band community that we might see the return of an event that was once a regular part of the annual pipe band calendar.

Sadly that optimism has been replaced with disappointment as reflected in the following statement which was issued by the Closkelt band on Sunday evening: ‘It is with regret and disappointment that we have had to make the decision to cancel this event planned for 4 May for this year.

As this competition was running with the full support & endorsement of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch, the local rule exists that there must be a minimum of nine performances for a competition to run, and with a shockingly low entry to this first year of return to the Banbridge indoor format, it is not practical, nor economically viable, to proceed.

The RSPBANI has cooperated fully with our requests and provided support to the band in helping to plan this competition and whilst the Executive was discussing whether it could allow the event to proceed with only eight confirmed performances, we felt that it was unfair to put the Directors in a position to amend rules on our behalf.

This coupled with the underlying fact of only a small entry, we felt that this could maybe diminish the number of spectators to the event, which would have not only made it uneconomical to run, but would have been disappointing for the bands themselves. We fully plan to run this competition next year, and when a date is selected that is agreed with RSPBANI we will publish details on our social media as before.

We would like to thank all bands who did enter, and we offer our apologies for this late notice of cancellation. All bands will be fully refunded in the next week. We wish all bands and officials the very best for the 2019 season.’

Let’s hope that the band is able to get this event up and running as they plan for 2020 as it was always a popular event when it was organised by the County Down Section.

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