The recent 11th Singapore South-East Asian Pipe Band Championships again highlighted the strong connection between Australia and countries in the region.
Two Australian bands were among 10 bands competing this year – Perth Highland and Scots School Albury which was announced winners of both the Grade 4 and Juvenile championships. A number of expat Australians were also part of other bands including Hong Kong which won Grade 3.
The Singapore Pipe Band Association headed by president Alan Wallace, who commutes regularly between Perth and Singapore, has seen the championships become established as a major annual gathering for bands in the region.
Australia’s Principal Ensemble Nat Russell, who has been associated with the championships since inception, was awarded life membership of the association during the presentation ceremony. He adjudicated piping this year and was joined on the panel by Andrew Womersley (ensemble) and Alan Wallace for drumming with Scott Nicolson (Vice-Principal Piping – Victoria) also on the panel for the solos.
The championships are run under the contest regulations of Pipe Bands Australia and Nat has played a vital role in guiding the musical aspects of the championships.
The links between Australia and the region also includes regular visits by accredited PBA College members to conduct examinations in piping and drumming.
In November, Principal Piping Brett Tidswell and Principal Drumming Dean Hall will be in Singapore to conduct a workshop for the Boys’ Brigade and adjudicate its annual competition. The brigade has more than 200 boys playing pipes and drums in 20 of its companies.
An invitation has been extended to all bands in the South-East Asian region to visit Australia in coming years and to compete at the PBA diamond jubilee year 2020 Australian Pipe Band Championships.