Successful Piping and Drumming Academy Held in South West Scotland

Andy McCartney reports…….. Friday 13th may be superstitious for a lot of people, but not for the families and friends of the youngsters who attended a week-long Summer School at SRUC Barony Campus near Dumfries. The South West of Scotland Piping and Drumming Academy (SWSPDA) had just completed its 5th Annual Summer School and this was the end-of-school concert.

Thirty seven young pupils attended, and this was the time for them to show off what they had learned, and how they had progressed, during the week. As usual, as many parents and family friends, and supporters of SWSPDA as can be accommodated, attended and enjoyed some spectacular piping and drumming. The kids played as a complete pipe band, they did solo pieces, and played in groups  –  some young pipers on chanters, and some young drummers on pads. The ages of the pupils ranged from eight to 16 years old, and all came from Dumfries and Galloway, with the exception of two  –  one coming from as far away as Birmingham, and one from Newcastle.

Something different this year was the drum fanfare which was arranged by our tenor drumming tutor Jordan Baillie from Inveraray Pipe Band (current World Champions). This was based on the ABBA song ‘Fernando’ and our own tenor drumming student, Emily Hunter from Buccleuch and Queensberry Pipe Band, accompanied the drummers and sang the song beautifully.
As well as learning piping and drumming pieces correctly, new tunes, and how to play in a pipe band or group, the pupils also studied for, and sat PDQB exams at levels compatible with their ability. During the week, the students were continuously assessed on Co-operation : Attitude : Performance and CAP Awards were presented to those individuals who the tutors thought were the highest achievers in all three aspects, and are as follows:
Piping: Finlay Pennycook and Robbie McCutcheon
Snare Drumming: Ziekel Wallace-Fitzpatrick and Adam Bell
Tenor Drumming: Kiera McMinn and Kali Currie.
Prizes for these were practice chanters, drum sticks for both disciplines and a baseball cap  –  all kindly donated by McCallum Bagpipes

Don’t miss this wonderful evening of ceol mor. Click on the ad for your tickets (£10/£8)



The pupils all enjoyed their week, in glorious weather, in brilliant surroundings at The Barony  –  a very suitable base for pipe bands from abroad coming to the Worlds  –  about an hour from the centre of Glasgow. They were very well looked after by the staff at The Barony (especially the catering staff) and, without exception have all pledged to come again next year.

The piping tutors this year were:
Callum Moffat  –  resident tutor for the South West of Scotland Piping & Drumming Academy, and a member of Scottish Power Pipe Band.
Christopher Armstrong  –  Pipe Major of Scottish Power Pipe Band.
William Geddes  –  a member of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band
Ross Cowan  –  piping tutor for North Lanarkshire schools.
Alan Maltman and Walter Cowan  –  both members of South West of Scotland Piping & Drumming Academy.
Snare Drums: David Sheridan  –  a member of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Norman Thomson  –  a member of South West of Scotland Piping & Drumming Academy
Tenor Drums: Jordan Baillie  –  a member of Inveraray Pipe Band.
Summer School 2019 will run from Sunday 7th until Friday 12th July.
Competition  :  Saturday 29th September, Lockerbie Academy, South West of Scotland Juvenile Solo Piping & Drumming Championships. More details and times to follow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.