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Pupils from Uist and Benbencula will be pitching their musical skills against youngsters from across Scotland when they compete in world’s largest schools piping and drumming competition.


A record number of entries, including 72 school pipe bands and freestyle ensembles as well as 14 quartets for young pipers and drummers, are to go head-to-head at Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships (SSPBC) in Edinburgh on 12 March.


The competition - which attracts about 800 youngsters from around 120 schools, including Sgoil Lionacleit - was established to encourage the formation of school pipe bands. It features taster grades for youngsters with no competing experience, as well as providing a forum for schools competing at the highest level.


Currently in its fifth year, the Championships – organised by The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) - will see pupils compete in seven categories, meaning that bands can enter the category best suited to their skill set and experience.


Robert Gillies, Head of Music at Sgoil Lionacleit, said: "We at Sgoil Lionacleit are very excited at the prospect of participating in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.


“We know that the standards of musicianship will be very high across the categories, but we have been busy rehearsing over the last few weeks to do our best to bring home success to the school.


“But whatever happens, we will ensure we both enjoy and learn from the experience of performing at such a prestigious competition – and for the band and our young musicians to continue their love of piping and drumming.”


This competition also includes the much loved ‘Freestyle’ category which encourages pipers and drummers to perform modern and up-to-date songs alongside their other musical instruments played by their classmates.


Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, said. “We are delighted to see so many schools represented for the first time.


“The whole purpose of this event is to encourage the formation of pipe bands in state schools and to put our national instruments on a par with other music provision in the classroom.


“Since the creation of the schools Championships, and the formation of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, there has been a considerable increase in the provision of in-school piping and drumming tuition across Scotland.


“We work in partnership with local authorities and others to try and see as many schools as possible offer piping and drumming tuition and eventually form bands bringing real opportunities for the players.


“Currently we support the delivery of piping and drumming tuition to over 1600 young people in programmes the length and breadth of the country and we are very keen to see that number increase rapidly.


“We welcome approaches from local authorities and others who need funding to get tuition going where currently there is none, or who want to introduce drumming to existing piping tuition so that bands can be developed, and we can often draw in other funders to help the process and make the projects sustainable in the long term.”


Youngsters tune up for pipe band championships

28 February 2017

Sgoil Lionacleit pipe band