The World Pipe Band Championships 2022 are back and the best pipe bands in the world will be competing this weekend at Glasgow Green. We took the time to interview our Pipe Band Major as he prepares for the biggest competition of the year.
SP Pipe Band – Pipe Major Interview:
1) What age did you take up Piping and what interested you in pipe bands?
My interest in piping started when I was 5 years old. My parents took my sister and I to the Bathgate Gala-day to watch the procession. I don’t remember too much about that other than what my parents told me when I was older, which was that it became an obsession from seeing my first Pipe Band. My parents approached the local band, which was Torphichen and Bathgate, and asked about getting me started. Initially they were told I was too young to get started at 5 years old. I kept on about it for another year solid and eventually got started with Torphichen when I was 6.
2) When did you become Pipe Major of the ScottishPower Pipe Band and what attracted you to the position?
I was appointed Pipe Major of the band in the winter of 2015, with the first competitive season being 2016. Having been Pipe Major of the David Urquart Travel Pipes and Drums for two seasons prior I had reached a point in my career where I and was ready to further my leadership experience. ScottishPower Pipe Band’s Pipe Major, Roddy MacLeod, had resigned from the position and I was contacted to ask if I would be interested in interviewing for the Pipe Major position.
3) How often do you meet as a band and how do you structure your practices?
The band gets together to rehearse twice a week usually. The week of contests this goes ups to three nights with the addition of an extra rehearsal the night before. The rehearsals generally consist of the pipers and drummer working separately for the first hour or so, ironing out technical aspects of the music and applying the polish. We then come together to work on the material as a band for the remaining time.
4) How do you prepare in the morning of a contest and how do you make sure you are happy when heading up to the line?
Most of the serious prep work has been done in the build up to any contest so on the morning of one all I have to do is get myself fed and watered, dressed and turn up on time to get the routine of tune up etc underway. If the team are happy on the way to the line then I’m happy. My biggest problem is trying to remember how to stop the band on the start line... for the life of me I can never remember the command to bring the band to mark time lol. The guy next to me has the job of prompting me when I forget!