Pipe band’s performance pleases in Scotland

The St Andrew's College Pipe Band performed in Glasgow and took out second place in the Juvenile category of the World Pipe Band Championships.

St Andrew’s College Pipe Band has returned from the world pipe band championships with smiles on their faces.

The group took out second place in the juvenile category of the competition, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scottish co-education school Dollar Academy, from Dollar, near Stirling, came first.

Pipe major Louis Newman, who had been playing the bagpipes since he was six years old, said the 15-day trip was an amazing experience.

“We were practising every day, of course, and doing all the sight-seeing of monuments, castles and all the cool things you do in another country.”

He said the competition was stiff, so the group was “ecstatic” to come second.

“We all watch videos of bands playing on YouTube, but to be there and actually watch these class bands in action was surreal.”

“We’ve been working at it for such a long time, and these Scottish bands are simply unreal, they are top quality bands. So for us to come second just made us ecstatic.”

Band director Richard Hawke said it was a “brilliant” result for the 27 current students and three 2017 leavers who made up the band.

“The worlds provide the ultimate test of the skill and ability of our pipers and drummers and the band’s performance was absolutely first class.”

Mr Hawke said the result was even more impressive given the band faced two significant challenges.

“Going from a Christchurch winter into a Scottish summer is a dramatic change for the instruments. We were also coming out of the New Zealand off-season and hadn’t competed since winning the nationals in March,” he said.

“Our only competitive practice was playing in a couple of smaller competitions in Scotland the week before the worlds when we faced teams which had been competing solidly for three months.”

More than 8000 pipers and drummers from 13 countries competed at the event, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year.

This was the fifth time St Andrew’s College had competed at the Worlds since 2007, with its young band winning the juvenile title in 2013.

Rector Christine Leighton said she was “incredibly proud” of the team.

“The competition at the worlds is intense and the standard was unbelievably high in the Juvenile grade. The commitment and discipline required by members of the band is very demanding.”