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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

Pipe band launch drums up huge numbers of applicants

The fledgling Kilmarnock Schools Pipe Band, set up early in 2016, is going from strength to strength and has reently completed its first public engagement at the Cumnock Tryst.

The band used the festival to host three ‘kickstart’ sessions at Onthank Primary School, giving the new recruits a change to practice their new skills host a short 30 minute ‘sharing’ concert in the Main Hall.

Invited guests, parents and families heard the young players perform together for the first time and mark an important moment in the development of the school band.

Six months ago, the new band secured a three-year funding deal from Virgin Money and applications from young people, eager to learn the pipes and drums, has far exceeded expectations – with more than 200 young people applying to join – more than four times the initial expectation.

Leader of East Ayrshire Council, Councillor Douglas Reid said: “I’m incredibly proud the Council has made a commitment to the new schools band and, judging from the concert feedback, the future looks good.

“Pipes and drumming play an important part of our Scottish heritage and they are skills I am keen to promote.

“Added to that is the sense of camaraderie and enjoyment that comes from working together to produce music and entertain – skills and experiences that will stay with our young people for the rest of their lives.”

Also attending the sharing concert at Onthank Primary was Stephen Pearson, Senior Advisor to Virgin Money, who said: “It was great to be at the first concert of the Kilmarnock Schools Pipe Band.

“It was a fantastic start and very rewarding to see so many enthusiastic young people getting involved and taking-up the pipes and drumming. It is an important part of our cultural heritage and the future looks and sounds bright in their hands.

“We’re delighted to be supporting this venture, which fits so well with our commitment to support local communities and to help make a positive and sustainable difference for as many young people as possible.”

The three-year sponsorship is aimed at boosting the numbers of school pupils taking up the pipes and developing the skills and expertise of those already learning and covers the costs of a dedicated piping tutor.

It is delivered in partnership with the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) and East Ayrshire Council, who are both helping fund the initiative.

The SSPDT works nationally with schools, local authorities and partners, providing funding for piping and drumming tuition and loaning instruments.

Councillor Reid concluded: “From small beginnings we now have a solid base on which to develop piping and drumming excellence and I’m eagerly looking forward to Christmas when a special festive concert will be staged!”


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