Our special correspondent reports on the forthcoming juvenile band contests….Following the cancellation of this weekend’s George Watson’s College (GWC) contest in Edinburgh we look ahead to the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Competition with its now traditional ‘second Sunday in March’,on the 11th, at Inveralmond Community High School, Livingston, West Lothian.
The event, now in its 6th year, is presented by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, doing much to advance tutoring for school age children, plugging the gap in state school provision.This competition offers all sorts of band event from the top to beginners, piping quartets and freestyle competitions. Each will find an ability and age appropriate competition in the vast programme, as well as the top tier Juvenile Grade delivering the very cream of the crop March, Strathspey & Reel, playing in ‘concert’ formation with Adjudicators (all RSPBA hands) seated at desks. There are 8 categories in all, with silverware and substantial prize money. More about that event found here: www.thechampionships.org.uk
It may not be obvious at first glance, the venue is Inveralmond Community High School, Livingston. Use the post code EH54 6HW in sat nav if you are not familiar with the area. Leave plenty of time to park as this event will have around 100 performances and associated bands, tutors, and camp followers. The competition kicks off at 9am in dual halls, with Juvenile B and Junior A running in parallel.
Here is a quick guide to timing;
Novice A – 1140h
Juvenile – 1230h (finishing 1322h)
Freestyle – 1330h
Junior B – 1100h
Debut Band – 1445h
Quartet – 1000h
The excellent National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, with so many of its members drawn from all of the competing bands present, will be on to play a set at around 1600h. The eagerly awaited results and prize giving will follow. It is usually one of the loudest and most celebratory of the season.
If you haven’t been before it is worth visiting. The standards are often off the scale and it’s also heart warming to see the sheer effort from the beginners at the start of their journeys. There will be a smattering of top tier Grade 1 and 2 players around (many of then Tutors and leaders of the bands) and also others, no doubt talent spotting for future recruitment.
Further ahead is the Glasgow Highland Club invitational which looks likely to be on Sunday 18th March at Hutcheson’s Grammar School, Glasgow, for a March Strathspey & Reel contest. More details in due course.
A final word, if you are travelling to the Schools Championship plan ahead regarding parking. It will be busy even though it is a big site. Breakfast and lunches will be available from the school cafe. As for the season, here we go! Piping Press will post all results as soon as we have them.
• The picture up top is of North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band, World Champions in 2016
The bad weather in Glasgow has led to the cancellation of the Scottish Pipers’ Association club night scheduled for the College of Piping this evening and also tomorrow’s Uist & Barra.