St Andrew’s College Pipe Band runners up at World Championships
A near perfect performance has seen the St Andrew’s College Pipe Band finish second in the highly competitive Juvenile grade at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.
The College’s Pipe Band Director, Richard Hawke, says it was a “brilliant” result for the 27 current students and three 2017 leavers who made up the band, which included 10 girls, the largest contingent St Andrew’s has ever taken to the championships. “The Worlds provide the ultimate test of the skill and ability of our pipers and drummers and the band’s performance was absolutely first class. I don’t think they could have done better.”
Hawke says the result was even more impressive given the band faced two significant challenges. “Going from a Christchurch winter into a Scottish summer is a dramatic change for the instruments. We were also coming out of the New Zealand off-season and hadn’t competed since winning the Nationals in March. Our only competitive practice was playing in a couple of smaller competitions in Scotland the week before the Worlds, when we faced teams which had been competing solidly for three months.”
Hawke was delighted that one of the four judges at the Worlds put St Andrew’s in the top spot. “It was a major thrill, which showed we were more than competitive. Congratulations to Dollar Academy, a Scottish co-ed school, who won the title.”
Over 8,000 pipers and drummers in 214 bands from 13 countries competed at the event, which was celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
This is the fifth time St Andrew’s College has competed at the Worlds since 2007, with its young band taking the Juvenile title in 2013.
The students travelled to Scotland with 50 parents and supporters, with Rector Christine Leighton also joining them for the competition. “We are all incredibly proud of what the band has achieved. The competition at the Worlds is intense and the standard was unbelievably high in the Juvenile grade. The commitment and discipline required by members of the band is very demanding,” she said.
Other highlights of the band’s two-week trip to Scotland included playing at the North Berwick Highland Games and the town of St Andrews and attending the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
In March 2019, the St Andrew’s College Pipe Band will commemorate its centenary, with the ‘silver’ at the Worlds no doubt adding to the celebrations. “The band continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Pipe Band Director, Richard Hawke, and has enjoyed another extraordinary year.”