A mum and daughter from Tandragee have made a little piece of pipe band history by winning their respective drum major classes at the Championships in Moira on Saturday.
Andrea Gibson (McKeown) and 14-year-old Kathryn McKeown, both members of Battlehill Pipe Band, impressed the judges at the hotly contested competition, with Andrea winning the senior section and Kathryn the junior.
Andrea, who has been a drum major for 28 years - since the tender age of six - was up against around 13 other hopefuls while Kathryn, who has also been drum majoring since she was six, was competing against 15 other talented youngsters.
Said Andrea, “It was lovely. I have been told that a mum and daughter win hasn’t happened in at least 30 years.”
Andrea was delighted to be called out in the top five, repeating her performance to clinch the title.
The judges look for smart marching and plenty of flourishes - and this only comes with lots of practice, with both mum and daughter honing their skills for about an hour-and-a-half every day.
Said Andrea, “We practice all week and then we are back out again on Saturdays.”
Andrea, who was crowned European Champion a few weeks ago and is a former pupil of Mark Uprichard, has also been teaching for around 19 years.
She runs Co Armagh Drum Major Class which has 36 pupils and is held twice a week, at the Dobbin in the winter and at Tandragee Primary School in the summer.
She added, “I have had 10 world champions in the class and one year we won 150 trophies.”
And on Saturday, one of her pupils, Caitlin Graham, was also in the silverware, after winning the juvenile section.
Tomorrow (Saturday), both Andrea and Kathryn will be in Glasgow for the World Championships, with Andrea hoping that the ultimate title will be hers this time, having narrowly missed out as runner-up on a number of occasions.
The mum and daughter will have plenty of moral support, with Andrea’s husband Jamie and mum and dad Betty and David going along to watch, along with members of her class who will also be competing.
She said, “It will be nerve-wracking. Everyone wants to win the Worlds.”