Our school captain, Pheobe Fogarty, writes the GWC Pipes & Drums Report for 2018/2019
This season’s campaign was kick started at the annual GWC Pipes & Drums Ceilidh. With all three bands performing their new sets and giving their all, the night was successful, arguably foreshadowing the rest of the season.
With our new repertoires becoming ever more familiar and the Ceilidh performance under our belts, we were ready to make our competitive debut for 2019. The indoor season consisted of all three bands competing in an attempt to be crowned victors, but also it was an attempt to set the tone for the rest of the season. The Juvenile band secured victories at both the GWC Invitational competition and the Glasgow Highland Club, whilst also coming away with a respectable second place at the Scottish Schools Competition. Moreover, the A and B bands got off to a fantastic start with our Novice A band coming away as Scottish Schools champions and our Novice B band securing first place at the GWC Invitational competition. As always, the indoor season was short, but stood us in good stead for what was to come. Though the outdoor season was fast approaching, an international interlude was next on our agenda.
Trip to Japan
The annual trip to Japan saw 23 band members enjoy two weeks of piping and drumming in Fukuoka, Southern Japan. The band spent two weeks performing at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament. This was in addition to playing at various events and locations in and around Munakata City, including a performance at the Yurix Centre! Furthermore, the band also enjoyed other activities and excursions too. Some of the highlights included a trip to an aquarium and a visit to Munakata High School.
British Drumming Champions
Within a week of the band’s return, the outdoor season was upon us. With a quick run out at the Dunbar Highland games to settle our nerves a week prior, it was time for the first major of the season, the British Championships. A rather dreary day in Paisley was soon anything but: the Juvenile band played the medley, rich in both musicality and excitement and subsequently we were crowned British Drumming Champions. The band came second as a collective, narrowly losing out on ensemble preference. The Novice A band came away with a credible fourth place, having competed in a closely fought grade. With lots to be proud of and even more to work on, the outdoor season was well and truly underway.
The following weeks were packed with practices and performances. June was christened by a trip to the Ardrossan highland games. The Juvenile band came away in first place having competed in grade 3, whilst the Novice A band came away in second place. However, this was only our warm up. The following week both bands took a short flight to Belfast, in advance of the UK Championships. A practice on the Friday evening ensured that we were equally prepared and motivated for the big day that lay ahead. A performance of the MSR for the Juvenile band ensured we came away as UK drumming champions, again narrowly being beaten on ensemble preference as a band. Despite having played in extremely challenging conditions, the Novice A drummers were also crowned UK Drumming champions. A triumphant and enjoyable day was had by all, despite the rain’s best attempts.
Practice makes perfect
What had been an extremely busy and thus far successful June culminated in a trip to Inverness, where we would fight it out for the title of European Champions. Having played a relatively mediocre performance, the Juvenile band came away with another second place, the drummers taking third place. Though initially disheartening, this proved to reinstall the drive and determination that our drummers usually possess, which in turn served us well for the rest of the season. The Novice band came away in fourth place having competed in a tough and competitive grade once again. Though not our most successful outing, it was most definitely a reminder that “practice makes perfect” and as a result, we came back stronger.
A couple of practice-free weeks ensured that we were well rested and ready to make a come back when the Scottish Championships rolled around. The Juvenile drummers were back to their winning ways, being crowned as Scottish Champions. The band put in an impressive performance but once more fell short, losing on ensemble preference. The weeks that followed would ensure that we were ready for the World Championships at the end of August. Practice upon practice, complemented by competitive run outs at both the North Berwick and the Bridge of Allan Highland Games aided us in building confidence and excitement as we began the build up to the World Championships.
A Stellar Performance
As our preparations drew to a close, both our nerves and excitement started to grow in tandem. We arrived in Glasgow, nervous, but with a degree of quiet confidence. When 09.55am finally came around, we marched to the line of the main arena. This was it. A stellar performance by the Juvenile Drummers and a good run from the Juvenile Pipers meant that all that was left to do was wait. Having put in an impressive performance themselves, the Novice A band were also in the same boat. The day that followed was long, but for some of us, what was to come at the end would make it all worth it. “Best drum corps, winning the J. Noble cup… George Watson’s College.”
What an unbelievable feeling, truly one which we will treasure for the rest of our days. In that moment, every practice, whether it be after school, during lunch, or during the summer, became worth it. World Champion drummers! As a band, the Juveniles were awarded second place, again, narrowly losing out on ensemble preference. However, the Pipers were awarded a first place in piping, and this too, should be celebrated. In addition to this, the Novice band achieved an impressive third place. It was a day of pride, success and sheer joy for the GWC Pipes & Drums.
What had been an incredible season for all was topped off by some some stellar performances and fantastic results, courtesy of our Novice B band. Performances at both the Cowal and Innerleithen highland games saw the band come away with a multitude of victories, another equally enjoyable and successful season for all involved.