A record 73 schools bands will take centre stage at the 10th Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships on 10th March.
The Championships, the largest event of its kind in the world, sees schools pipe bands, freestyle groups and quartets gather to celebrate young musical talent.
Alex Duncan, CEO of the organising charity, said:
“The Championships has been going from strength to strength since the start in 2013.
“There is something for every level; quartets for beginners right up to Juvenile grade for bands at the top of their game.
“The freestyle competition is very popular where any style of music and any combination of instruments go, as long as they include the pipes.
“This year sees 17 freestyle bands ready to battle it out in March.”
The event will take place on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock.
David Johnston, Convenor of the SSPDT, said:
“The Championships are one of the highlights of many schools’ calendars and we can’t wait to welcome everyone.
“Also, anyone wanting to start a pipe band in their school is also very welcome to come and see what can be achieved.”
“It’s always a special day at the Championships.
“The team at East Ayrshire Council which is hosting the event at the William McIlvanney campus are superb and will help make it a very enjoyable day.
“Pipe bands build confidence, resilience, friendships, perseverance and other skills that help young people succeed in life.
“Teachers are still seeing the effects of the pandemic on young people, and more than ever recognise how pipe bands support wellbeing and wider achievement.”
The Championship is independently organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT).
“It carries the support of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) but is not a RSPBA competition.
Provost Jim Todd, East Ayrshire Council said:
“The pipes will be calling us to Kilmarnock Academy at the William McIlvanney Campus on Sunday 10 March for the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.
“It is a real honour to be hosting the competition, which is now in its tenth year, and to welcome young people and their families from all over Scotland to East Ayrshire.
“I will be there to enjoy the music and cheer on our young people.
“The standard of performance last year was exceptional and I can’t wait to celebrate the wealth of talent that I am sure will be taking to the stage this year.”
The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust was formed with the belief that pipe bands are much more than a musical pastime; they develop life and employability skills such as teamwork, resilience and perseverance, self-confidence, camaraderie and a sense of discipline and dress.
The charity also recognises that in parts of Scotland the pipes and drums are not taught in state schools and where community pipe bands have disappeared too, the fragile cycle of teaching and learning traditional music is being lost.
The charity awards grants to towards tuition and other band-related costs, lends bagpipes and concert chanters free of charge, and runs paid apprenticeships for aspiring tutors.
For more information on the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships, visit http://www.thechampionships.org.uk/
For more information on the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, visit www.sspdt.org.uk