The first major pipe band championship of the season was held on June 10 at Lurgan, Northern Ireland. The UK Champions Grade 1 title was secured to the surprise and delight of many by Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, so many years the nearly men and women of the pipe band world. Here their jubilant pipe major Ross Harvey shares his thoughts on a breakthrough occasion….
Saturday was a dream come true for the band, and the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, not just over the winter but the last few years.
We approached the day much the same as any other championship, but in the knowledge that we had to deliver on our potential – something that we’ve done with more consistency since the middle of last season.
By P/M Ross Harvey
It was a beautiful sunny day. The atmosphere and surroundings in Lurgan Park were perfect. We gave ourselves plenty of time setting the chanters. We made sure the drones were spot on and ran through bits of the medleys with the drum corps.
There were ten bands entered and we were scheduled to play seventh at 3pm. However the contest was running around 15 minutes late; this had the potential to derail things.
But the guys kept their cool. They weren’t fazed. I was very proud of their resilience. The new members, for whom this was their first major Grade 1 championship performance, showed tremendous maturity.
The performance itself was one of our very best in recent years. The drones held, chanters were generally very good and the ensemble was first rate.
We’ve tried to inject a bit more pace and excitement into our jig and reel playing and listening back we really went for it, which we hope excited the listener.
The consensus from around the pipe corps afterwards was very positive, except perhaps in a few small areas.
The drummers were happy, and Kerr [L/D Kerr McQuillan] said they had a very good run. He’s proving to be a fantastic choice for Leading Drummer and I’m so proud of what he and the drum corps have achieved at the start of the season already. Remember this was Kerr’s first ‘major’ as leading drummer and the corps was placed second.
Listen to the Boggies’ big win….
As we relaxed afterwards and took in some refreshments, we became aware that a number of bands had delivered top notch performances.
We could not be confident as the Massed Bands approached, but what a feeling when our name ‘Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate’ was read out as the winners in Grade 1!
To be finally tipped the nod 11 years after our last championship win was incredible, and I know the whole team found it quite emotional. The celebrations certainly went on late into the evening.
We are now looking forward to the rest of the season and whatever happens, last Saturday will live long in the memory for all of us.
I spoke to Brian Gilda from Peoples Ford our sponsors that evening, and he passed on his warmest congratulations.
As we announced on Saturday, they have agreed a new two-year sponsorship with the band. To start the Championship season with a win only serves to reinforce the strength and value of our relationship.
As many will know, we’ve also recently launched a new ‘Vlog’ series, the ‘Vloghall’, to take supporters further into the world of Peoples Ford Boghall and Bathgate as we introduce the players and families inside the circle in an exclusive, all access documentary series.
Episode 1 – which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/zddKRt0bdSA – charts the band’s progress throughout the winter, specifically the transition to Kerr as Leading Drummer.
Episode 2 was filmed at the weekend, which we hope will be an exciting and interesting watch for viewers who want to see what goes into winning a major championship.
We’re very grateful to RSPBA official John Hughes and the RSBPA adjudicating team who were kind enough to let the band film from within the arena, which we think will offer viewers an intimate perspective on competitive pipe band performance.
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Bagpipes – DN5 – The Finest Bagpipe Available£250.00 – £3,424.00
Bagpipes – DN1, High Quality Instrument£100.00 – £1,250.00