Schools piping championships set to be bigger than ever

Portree High School performing in the Novice Juvenile B competition at the 2018 Schools Pipe Band Championships.
Portree High School performing in the Novice Juvenile B competition at the 2018 Schools Pipe Band Championships.

A schools piping competition which is already the biggest in the world is set to grow further.

Organisers of next year’s Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships say they expect over 150 schools from across Scotland to be represented.

Event organiser Patrick Gascoigne said the predicted boost is based on the number of school pupils being taught in programmes run by parent charity the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust.

He said: “The work of the Trust has been growing very fast and we now have projects going in 18 council areas supporting lessons to over 2500 young people.

“We are getting a large number of enquiries from schools wanting to come along to the event on March 10 in Livingston already.”

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) is the national charity that helps to provide piping and drumming tuition for pupils in state schools, and that encourages the formation of schools pipe bands.

Last year there were over 70 performances during the day and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented prizes to the winning bands.

Alexandra Duncan, trust chief executive, said: “SSPDT aims to safeguard our wonderful musical traditions and to help young people develop skills for life, learning and work, with a focus on deprived and remote areas, by helping to introduce piping and drumming tuition to state schools on a par with orchestral instruments.

“We established the Championships in 2011 to offer a positive and friendly experience for players who are new to competition, and as a forum for bands at the very top of their game.

We are delighted to see entries from new schools pipe bands that have been created with the Trust’s help.

The Trust has resources to support more state schools in Scotland to introduce piping and drumming tuition, and we invite Local Education Authorities, teachers and parents to contact us. All enquiries can be made via our website sspdt.org.uk”.

From quartets to pipe bands at the top of their game the Championships are a showcase of Scotland’s young musical talent.

The Championships are held in Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston on March 10 and entries can be made through www.thechampionships.org.uk.