Inverness Music Festival Junior Piping/ Scottish Schools Championship Preview

Les Hutt reports….

Inverness Music Festival held its Piping Contests on 2nd March at Eden Court, Inverness. Again, numbers were down in the 15-18 categories and the Festival are looking to address this over the months ahead, in discussion with the local tutors and pipe bands. 

Nevertheless, there many strong performances particularly in the Under 15 Piobaireachd, with both piobaireachd winners featuring in the traditional music prize lists with medley  performances in the evening.

Pictured above with adjudicator P/M DJ MacIntyre are winners Archie Maclean (left) and Calum Dunbar. Results:

Under 10 Chanter
1 Grace Kelman
2 Hugh Burnett
3 equal Ailsa Ross and Daisy Henry

Under 11 Chanter
1 Maili Maclennan

Under 12 Chanter
1 Niall Bolger

13 and under Novice Piping
1 Charles Maclennan
2 Heather Dalton
3 Gregor Philips

Proud young pipers Charles Maclennan and Grace Kelman show off their trophies

Under 15 Piobaireachd
1 Calum Dunbar
2 Archie Maclean
3 Kyle Cameron

Under 15MSR
1 Archie Maclean
2 Kyle Cameron
3 Calum Dunbar

Under 18 Jig
1 Archie Maclean
2 Calum Dunbar
3 Kyle Cameron

Under 18 Piobaireachd
1 Hamish Drennan (The Red Speckled Bull)
2 Louis Peteranna (The King’s Taxes)

Adjudicator: P/M DJ MacIntyre, Inverness

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The organisers of Sunday’s Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships have sent this…

Committed pipers from island communities are preparing for journey to take part in the championships. Youngsters from the Western Isles will be joining bands from schools across Scotland for the event in Livingston on Sunday, March 10. Organiser Patrick Gascoigne paid tribute to the determination of the young island players not to miss out.

He said: ‘The commitment these pupils show to their bands is inspirational. For some it means two nights away from home, a ferry journey and a long haul on buses and cars.

Sgoil Lionecleit from Benbecula performing at the 2018 SSPBC

‘When you consider some of them will be playing in front of the judges for only a few minutes it really is most impressive.’

A record 123 schools are taking part in the Championships at Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston.

Championships Convener David Johnston said: ‘For some schools it’s a quick trip along the M8; for the more far flung communities taking part in our event means not only a long journey but weeks of fundraising to hire buses and pay for accommodation.

‘We are able to give travel grants to schools coming from far away but unfortunately not enough to cover their entire expenditure.’

The SSPBC was set up six years ago to encourage schools to form pipe bands and help teach young people musical skills and the benefits of teamwork and discipline.

David Johnston said: ‘The event is part of the activities of the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust. Since our launch in 2014 we have supported in-school lessons for about 5,000 young people in 20 local authority areas across Scotland.

‘Some of the bands taking part next weekend will be from schools with no history of piping and drumming but have been formed as a result of our work.’

Get help for your band from the RSPBA’s fund – click here

He said that 38% of secondary pupils attend schools in regions where there is no piping and drumming as part of the musical curriculum

‘We feel that this competition plays a key role in ensuring that interest around our musical heritage continues to grow. 

‘The Championship is growing in popularity with associated increases in costs, so we are very grateful to the sponsors who are supporting the event this year. We thank the William Grant Foundation, McInroy and Wood, McCallum Bagpipes, Wallace Bagpipes, Baillie Gifford, Skyscanner and Spirit of Scotland.

David added: ‘Sadly the vast majority of Scotland’s pupils still don’t have the chance to learn our national instruments at school.  Instrumental services are under enormous budgetary pressures so we are very pleased to be able to help councils and schools to provide tuition. 

‘Being part of a pipe band encourages pupils to develop valuable skills such as teamwork, resilience and self-confidence; these skills are transferable and help young people in all areas of learning and life.’

The Trust aims to advance education, the arts, heritage, culture and community development by encouraging young people in Scotland to take up and play the chanter, pipes and drums; and by supporting the development of school pipe bands. In doing so, the Trust supports young people to broaden their education, in particular their musical and social skills. 

The Trust provides cash grants to support tuition, and runs a free national bagpipe lending scheme. Contact the Trust here.

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