Aboyne pupils get in tune for piping championships

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School pupils from Deeside are getting ready to ‘give it a skirl’ as they prepare for the world’s largest schools piping and drumming competition.

The competition, which is dedicated to stoking up passion for Scotland’s national musical heritage, will see students from Aboyne Academy travel to Edinburgh to take part in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships (SSPBC) in March.

Armed with their famous ‘every school needs a pipe band’ motto and a new freestyle innovation category, the SSPBC committee are delighted to see rising interest from Scotland’s younger generations in the pipes and drums.

Currently in its third year, the championships will see pupils compete in seven categories, meaning that bands can enter the category best suited to their skill set and experience.

Rebecca Morrison, pipe major at Aboyne Academy, said: “The Academy will be competing again for the third time.

“Practice for the competition is already well under way and we are really excited to compete again.

‘‘The first year we competed we were a very new band but now we are well established within our school and community and hope to do very well.”

Nearly 30 schools have already registered for the competition, taking place on Sunday, March 8, at Broughton High School and neighbouring Fettes College.

Organisers are keen to encourage even more schools to enter before the deadline later this month.

This year’s competition will include a ‘Freestyle’ category which encourages pipers and drummers to perform modern and up-to-date songs alongside their other musical instruments played by their classmates.

David Johnston, SSPBC Committee Chairman, said: “The talent displayed by those who have entered the competition in the past has been absolutely outstanding and I’m delighted to see the prospect of more new young musicians taking part this year.

“It’s great to see so many junior musicians get involved in piping and it is particularly pleasing to see schools from outside the central belt make the extra effort to travel and compete.

“We have seen the interest around the pipes and drums grow over the years, especially as bands such as the Red Hot Chilli Pipers continue to modernise pipe music, making them hugely appealing to the younger generations.

“Our aim is to encourage our young people to embrace our national instrument and seek enjoyment and pleasure from it

“We genuinely feel that this competition does this, playing a continued key role in ensuring that interest around our musical heritage continues to grow.”

Schools across Scotland have until Monday, January 26, to submit their entry forms.

n More information is available at www.scottishschoolspipebandchampionships.com.