Fourteen young musicians from Sgoil Bhagh a’ Chaisteil on the Isle of Barra are preparing to take part in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships competition in Kilmarnock on the 12th March.
Their tutor Dòmhnall ‘Bàn’ MacDonald is leading their preparation for two entries, assisted by Donnie Galbraith, Domhnall Padruig Nicholson and Donnchadh MacNeacail. The youngsters travel to Uist on a regular basis to practise with pupils from Sgoil Lionacleit to prepare for the ‘Pipe Band’ competition. They will also be taking part in the ‘Freestyle’ competition. This is a competition in which competitors are invited to play a medley in order to display musical skills in a creative way. As fluent Gaelic speakers, they are going to include two Gaelic songs in their set.
To help raise funds for their mainland trip, the pipers from Barra held a ceilidh in January, raising over £900. They are extremely grateful to the local community for their support. Furthermore, Eilidh’s Trust and our local community wind turbine fund have both contributed £1000 towards travel and accommodation costs.
It is so positive to see events such as this occurring again, and we hope that our talented group of young musicians enjoy the experience!
Two members of the band, Mairead Galbraith and Rachael Sinclair are looking forward to their trip. They said, ‘We are excited but nervous.’ Rachael who has played at previous competitions went onto say,’ It will be good to be back. It is a really good competition. I’m looking forward to seeing people and listening to the Pipe bands.’
Kieran MacNeil, Craig MacNeil and Calum MacNeil have enjoyed attending regular practising. Kieran added, ‘Hopefully it will be worth it!