Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
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|Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band|
|Location||Lisburn, Northern Ireland|
|Pipe Major||Richard Parkes MBE|
|Drum Sergeant||Keith Orr|
World Champions: 1992, 1993, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 & 2013
Scottish Champions: 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013
British Champions: 1992, 1993, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013
European Champions: 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2013
Cowal Champions: 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2013
All Ireland Champions: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 & 2013
Ulster Champions: 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013RSPBA Champion of Champions: 1992, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is one of the leading pipe bands in the world today, and is the most influential and successful pipe band from Northern Ireland ever. Led by Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, the band has won every major championship title available to them, including nine coveted World Pipe Band Championships and a colossal 56 major championship titles. Based in Lisburn, the band is representative of Northern Ireland with membership spanning the country, but in recent years has attracted members from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Denmark, France, Scotland, England and Ireland, all of whom have travelled great distances to play with the band.
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band remains one of the most consistent and decorated competitive pipe bands in history. Though its philosophy has been competition-based since its inception over 65 years ago, the band also performs at concerts, festivals, radio and television appearances, recording sessions and civil and social functions.
For the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, the major successes and international accolades of today are a great progression from very humble roots. The band was founded in 1945 in the townland of Drumalig, a few miles from Carryduff on the outskirts of Belfast. A group of farmer’s sons had decided to form a band as a leisure pursuit in the wake of World War II, and they proposed to call their formation after one of the great heroes of the war, Bernard Law Montgomery. The youths wrote to Field Marshal Montgomery himself to ask for permission to use his name. Not only was permission granted, but their hero even sent a ten shilling note as a personal contribution to the band’s funds. In the years to follow, the band successfully worked its way through the lower grades, led by its first pipe major Billy Maxwell (who is still Band President), and later succeeded by Sandy Cumming, Ricky Newell, and eventually Richard Parkes, who took over with his brother Gordon in 1981, after joining through the amalgamation with the Raffrey Pipe Band. Richard and Gordon would forever change the direction of the band, and 45 years after its inception, the band won its first major championship in Grade 1 at the Cowal Championships, 1990.
The next two decades are pipe band history, and the band’s first World Championship win in 1992 catapulted the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from the status of an up-and-coming local band in Northern Ireland, to the international powerhouse it is today. The band proceeded to follow their first World’s win with a second title in 1993, subsequently winning the elusive “Grand Slam” of all five major championship titles in a single season, joining only a handful of elite pipe bands in history who can claim such a massive achievement. Gordon Parkes stepped down as leading drummer in 1998, and was succeeded by Andrew Scullion, and in 2003 by current Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, and the band continued to grow and change under the progression of new leadership. From the years 2000-2009, the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band rose to become the most dominant pipe band of the decade, securing 28 major championship wins, including four more World Championships (five times runners-up) in this decade alone. This remarkable string of success made for a staggering 56% success ratio at the Majors, a higher number of wins than any other pipe band during this time by almost double.
This decade however was not all smooth sailing. In 2004, Pipe Major Richard Parkes suffered a stroke at the beginning of the season, and the entire piping world waited to hear about the health of one of the most respected Pipe Majors in history. The band pulled together to support Richard, and in one of the pipe band world’s fairy-tale stories, Richard recovered his health and was able to lead the band on to win the last three championships of the season, including the band’s fourth World Championship title. For the arc de triumph (already in the works unbeknownst to Richard and the band), at the conclusion of the year Richard would be awarded an MBE for his services to pipe band music in Northern Ireland: a great honour for the man who had changed the history of pipe bands in his country, and made a local band from Drumalig a famous name to hundreds of thousands of people the world over. The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band has often been dubbed “The Richard Parkes Success Story,” and the great respect for Richard from within his own band and from his competitors is as much a part of the band’s ideology as its list of prizes.
Today, the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band remains a competition-driven organisation going into the next decade, and is also proud to have produced four highly successful albums to date: Début, Live in Concert, Unplugged and RE:CHARGED. The band is supported by sponsors who help to better its existence, including R. G. Hardie & Co Ltd and Premier Music International Ltd. Richard and Keith are an effective team and continue to lead almost 50 band members from around the world to the top. It is without a doubt that the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band has had a greatly positive impact on piping and drumming both in Northern Ireland and abroad, where it has set the precedent for consistency, excellence and competitive success. The band is proud of its history, and just as driven and motivated as ever going into the next decade.
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is one of the most successful pipe bands in recent history. The band has won a total of 56 major championships, namely 14 Scottish Championships, 10 British Championships, 11 European Championships, 9 World Championships, and 12 Cowal Championships. Further, the band has won 23 Ulster Championships, 21 All-Ireland Championships, and gained 12 RSPBA Champion of Champions titles. Since its first Grade 1 prize at a major championship in 1990, the band has never been out of the top six at a major championship, finishing in the prize list in 117 consecutive championship competitions (Placing in the top three in 101 of those championships - Runners up 31 times and placed third 14 times).
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band became the last band to win the Cowal Championship and thus Argyll Shield whilst it was still accredited RSPBA major championship status, having, in 1990, been the first band from outside of Scotland to win the oldest prize in pipe band competition. It is also the first and only band from Northern Ireland to win the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship, and in 1993 became one of only three bands in history to attain a clean sweep of all five major championships in a single year, known as the "Grand Slam." (The others being The House of Edgar - Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band  and Strathclyde Police Pipe Band ) By winning the Cowal Highland Games in August 2011, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band became the first band to complete the Grand Slam twice, extending the record by completing the Grand Slam for a third time in 2013, also at the Cowal Highland Games.
On 3 December 2011 Field Marshal Montgomery was named Pipe Band of the Year at the 2011 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.
In addition to competition, the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band often performs in concerts, and has played to packed houses at many prestigious concert venues including The Ulster Hall, Belfast; The Whitla Hall, Queens University, Belfast; The Guildhall, Londonderry; the Waterfront Hall, Belfast; the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow and many more. The band has performed in concert as a headline act, and also as part of various festivals, and is a regular feature on radio and television programmes about Celtic music. The band is also available to hire for special functions.
- Debut (1991)
- Live In Concert (1996)
- Unplugged (2002)
- Re:Charged (2007)
- Rewind:Replay (DVD) (2008)