World’s biggest school pipe band event goes online 

The Lochgilphead Joint Campus pipe band foursome of Donal Bremner, tutor Stuart Liddell, Harry Adair and Abbie Williams scooped the quartet trophy in 2018, along with £250.

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Schools in Argyll and Bute are being challenged to take part in an online music competition with prizes of more than £2,500 on offer.

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships are going online to beat Covid, and young musicians from across Scotland are being urged to take part.

The event is being organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust.

Convener David Johnston said: ‘We had cancelled the event for 2021 – but then a number of school tutors contacted us asking for the event to go online to help keep young players focused and give them some fun in lockdown.

‘So we have slimmed the event down to just one class – the innovative Freestyle class where pipes and drums combine with other instruments and singers to give a modern twist to traditional music.’

Schools are being asked to express interest in taking part by February 7 and a number have already signed up.

The competition will be broadcast online across the weekend starting Friday March 26, and the public will have the chance to cast their vote in a live people’s choice event on Sunday March 28.

Some of Scotland’s top musicians will judge the event, including Gary Innes, box player for Manran and presenter of BBC Scotland’s Take the Floor and Craig Munro of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Craig said: ‘Amazing music can be created and orchestrated online now using apps, and this competition opens up a world-wide audience for the youngsters.

‘All bands have to do is film their entries using music apps and submit them for judging by March 14. Registrations close on February 7.’

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust offers help and cash grants to councils, schools and parent groups for piping and drumming tuition in Scottish state schools.

It also has the world’s biggest free bagpipe loan scheme, lending instruments to hundreds of young players across the country.

The trust is currently supporting the delivery of in-school pipe and drum tuition to more than 3,000 pupils in Scottish schools.

More details can be found on the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust website.