The GWC Pipes and Drums have made an incredible start to the 2015 season, with the Juvenile band winning all four competitions in the intense month of March against very strong challengers.
They began on the first of the month by winning the Senior Bands section at our very own invitational event, finishing ahead of Dollar Academy and George Heriot's who came in second and third places respectively. Held at the School annually since 2002, our invitational event is now a well established and popular date in the diary with many school bands and soloists from all over Scotland revelling in the opportunity to compete in our Assembly Hall.
Confidence in the band was brimming from the season-opening performance and victory, and they put in another strong display of their new March, Strathspey and Reel at the Scottish Schools' Championship at Broughton High School on Sunday 8 March. The band were able to repeat their winning feat from the previous Sunday. The Novice Juvenile Band completed a successful day by taking first place in their grade, with Dollar Academy finishing second, ahead of George Heriot's in third place.
The following Friday, the Juvenile band made their way through to Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, for the Glasgow Highland Club's competition. This event provides a slightly different challenge for the bands, as a pupil must lead the competition performance. Junior Pipe Major Alastair Hutcheon (S5) duly stepped up to give the commands, and should be congratulated because the band completed the hat-trick of victories. Both the Juvenile band and drum corps again finished in first place, with Dollar Academy and George Heriot's again completing the top three.
The RSPBA Lothian and Borders Branch Indoor competition this year was held at the James Young High School in Livingston on Saturday 28 March. In previous years, this was run as a mini-band competition, but on this occasion performances were from full band ensembles. This gave our juvenile band an opportunity to debut their new and intricate 'Medley' selection, and the corps were able to demonstrate their ability in this field too, as they finished the month in winning form, ahead of Peoples' Ford Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia (2nd), Preston Lodge High School (3rd) and George Heriot's School (4th). The Novice Juvenile band placed first equal and narrowly losing out on ensemble preference.
In the solo events at the Lothian & Borders competition, the success continued with Alastair Hutcheon (S5) taking first place in the 18 and under piping category, whilst Louis Bendle (S5) and James Strachan (S2) also secured first place in the 18 and under and 14 and under solo drumming respectively. Evan Hawkins (P6) won the chanter competition and Alexander Levi (P7) took first place in the stick and pad competition.
All the pipe band staff would like to thank parents and pupils for their hard work and dedication to practice throughout this busy month, and hope that it can continue into a successful outdoor season.