An up-and-coming force in pipe music is growing in Lewis and Harris schools, with the formation of a new pipe band – and now their sights are set on the Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championships, due to be held in Livingston on March 10th.
The 31 young pipers (and three drummers) of Lewis and Harris Youth Pipe Band have been urged on by their tutor Ashley Macdonald, who plays in Lewis Pipe Band.
LHYPB has just scored a major success with the loan of 20 sets of pipes from the Scottish Schools' Pipe Band Trust, whose aim is to secure Scotland's unique musical heritage by developing school pipe bands across Scotland. A total of 20 young pipers in Lewis and Harris have been loaned a set of pipes for a three-year period, with an option to buy them at an affordable rate thereafter.
The band’s 34 members come from schools across Lewis and Harris, the youngest member just turned nine years old. Primary school pupils come from Shawbost, Stornoway and Sgoil nan Loch primary schools, secondary pupils from the Nicolson Institute and both junior and secondary students from Sir E Scott school in Tarbert
The newly-formed committee has registered the band as a charity, with donations always very welcome for band travel, uniforms and instruments. A development plan is also in place and Ashley is chasing up opportunities to play at events such as Lewis Carnival, Harris Carnival and a musical evening at An Lanntair in November.
To be ready both for March’s competition and for these community events, the band practices every second Saturday, most often in Stornoway but with future Harris practices planned. Numbers have grown so rapidly that there’s now a development section as well as the regular Pipe Band.
The Scottish Schools' Pipe Band Championships attracts more than 65 bands from all over Scotland, with classes including quartets for beginners and a 'freestyle' fusion of music styles and instruments, as well as the regular Pipe Band competition. Lewis and Harris Schools' Band won third place in their class when they first competed in 2016 and LHYPB hope to improve on this in 2019.
LHYPB is always happy to hear from potential band members, who can get in touch via their school music teacher. Anyone who would like to sponsor or donate to the band, or who wants to ask anything about future events and participation, can contact the LHYPB Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Lewis-and-Harris-Youth-Pipe-Band-389240075182746/
The picture shows four of the Sir E Scott school band members – Matthew Macleod (S3), Seamus Mackay (P6), Fraser Laurie (P5) and Eilidh Macdonald (S1) together with Ashley and some of the new pipe sets.