May 10, 2024

Association Leadership Spotlight: Alastair Patterson, Chair, RSPBA Northern Ireland – Part 1

“Every beat. Every note. Every flourish.”

That’s the tagline introduced in 2023 for the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Northern Ireland Branch, one of the RSPBA’s most active, determined and communicative groups.

Alastair Patterson became chair of RSPBA Northern Ireland in 2022 and has since embarked on an ambitious effort to strengthen the branch even more. One of his and his team’s prime strategies? Listen. Listen to the members, the sponsors, the councils—to everyone involved with or interested in piping and drumming in Northern Ireland.

Patterson knows what it’s like to be a lifelong, passionate competitor. He started competing as a drum-major at age nine, about 40 years ago, and over the years, he has won Ulster, All-Ireland, Scottish, British, and European championship titles.

Alastair Patterson accepting the 1991 Juvenile World Championship Drum-Major award.

He’s also a four-time World Champion, having won the Adult Senior section three times (1998, 2002, 2006) and the Juvenile Grade in 1991. Patterson has been at the front of the Gortaclare, Eden, and Quinn Memorial pipe bands, and was Field Marshal Montgomery’s drum-major from 1998 until he retired from competition in 2007.

Alastair Patterson at the moment of winning another Adult World Champion Drum-Major title.

Patterson is one of the world’s top drum-major judges at RSPBA competitions and events in the Republic of Ireland, Europe, the United States, and Canada.

He describes his election to chair the RSPBA’s Northern Ireland Branch as “an honour and a privilege,” adding that “the branch continues to push forward in delivering what is best for its membership, particularly in these challenging times.”

The branch played a crucial role in securing the 2024 UK Pipe Band Championships in Bangor, Northern Ireland, to be held on May 18th, and he and his team are directly involved with the organization and delivery of the competition, before, during and after the event.

Patterson is a seasoned veteran of competition and adjudication, thus carrying the “street credibility” that earns members’ respect. He’s done the business. And he’s accomplished in business itself as a Senior Cost Manager in the construction industry, which brings its own time and stress demands.

Patterson lives in the town of Castlederg, Northern Ireland, with his wife, Olga, and sons, Alex (seven) and Noah (five).

With a revitalized approach to marketing and communication, he took time to speak with pipes|drums as part of our ongoing Association Leadership Spotlight series.

Here’s Part 1 of our illuminating and, we must admit, inspiring discussion with RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch Chair Alastair Patterson.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for Part 2 of our Association Leadership Series interview with RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch Chair Alastair Patterson.







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