Dee versus Don in piper championship

BAND: Aboyne pipe band
BAND: Aboyne pipe band

Pupils from Deeside and Donside academies will be fighting it out with over 40 other schools to be crowned the best school piping band in Scotland.

Pipe bands from Aboyne and Alford Academies are set to travel to Edinburgh this month, to take part in the first ever Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships, which hope to re-energise traditional Scots music.

The majority of the young pipers and drummers will be experiencing their first taste of public performance.

The Aboyne Academy Pipe Band formed a year and a half ago and already have a 15-strong band of pipers and drummers ready to compete.

Rebecca Morrison, who teaches bagpipes at Aboyne Academy, said: “It’s such a fantastic opportunity for the school. I come from a bagpiping background where I have competed but this is the first time many of the students will perform in public and get a proper insight to the competition.

“Everyone is really excited and all of the parents and teachers at the school have been so supportive of the band which is quite a big thing in Aboyne now.

“I’ve also noticed the interest in the band grow as it has already gone from only a few members to 15 in a short space of time. I think this is because it is just so different from other instruments and everyone can really get involved and have so much fun.”

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships will take place this Sunday, March 10, at Broughton High School in Edinburgh.

To reflect the broad range of abilities, the competition will take part in various sections, including a ‘debut’ category for the 21 bands which will be making their first competitive appearance. Judges will come from renowned Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, which is backing the competition - RSPBA Chairman Gordon Hamill is a high-profile Patron of the Championships.


Winners on the day will collect their prizes from Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

The minister said: “I am delighted to be coming to the first ever Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships and am very much looking forward to seeing the performances from the hundreds of pupils travelling from all across the country to play in Edinburgh.

He added that traditional music was “entwined in our culture,” stating: “The music of the pipes and drums is so entwined in our culture, our history and how others see us. It is wonderful that championships like these are encouraging more and more young people to take it up and showcase the immense musical talent we have.”

Organisers of the event are delighted at the interest in schools across the country and they believe that the momentum created by the competition could see pipe bands established in hundreds more schools.

David Johnston is chairman of the committee behind the competition, which has the motto; every school needs a pipe band.

He said: “Its great to see so many students getting involved in this year’s competition, particularly from those schools outside of Edinburgh who will make that extra effort to travel through and compete.

“We’ve got pretty big ambitions for getting young people into piping and drumming, but it’s fair to say the number of entrants in our first year has exceeded even our expectations.

“There’s no doubt interest in school piping has been steadily increasing in the past 10 years, partly because it has gradually grown quite trendy. Some of that is down to the success of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and bands like Mànran and Pipedown, but some of it is just the fickle nature of fashion.

“There won’t be any complaints from us.

‘‘We’re delighted to see a new generation trying out pipes and drums for the first time and we believe this is just the impetus we need to build on.”