Pipes and Drums

Pipes and Drums

Girl playing a drum in the Pipe BandGeorge Watson's College Pipes and Drums has three bands of varying ability under the leadership of Pipe Majors Iain Simpson and Ross Harvey, and Drum Majors Mick O'Neill and Arthur Cook. They are assisted by two part-time teachers. There are currently over 200 children being taught either piping or drumming at Watson's.

Competing all over the UK at Juvenile and Novice Juvenile level, the Pipes and Drums is one of the most successful teaching establishments in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. The Juvenile band has won the World Championships six times and our Novice Juvenile band has won the World Championships four times. Both bands have won the Scottish, British, European and Cowal Championships on numerous occasions. In 2012 the band was awarded the prestigious Pipe Band of the Year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards.

Competing all over the UK at Juvenile and Novice Juvenile level, the Pipes and Drums is one of the most successful teaching establishments in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The Pipes and Drums perform mainly at School functions. However, they are in huge demand to play at other events including The Great Scottish Walk, Concerts and other Corporate Events. The bands have performed for the Royal Family on many occasions including the world famous Braemar Gathering where they were presented with the trophy for best band by Her Majesty The Queen. They have also travelled to various countries, performing in Canada, Japan, Belgium and Russia where they were extremely well received.

Pupil & Parent Information

Competition Highlights

In recent years the bands have had tremendous success in the competition arena. Some of the highlights are as follows:

Juvenile Grade

Scottish Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
British Champions 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
European Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013
Cowal/UK Champions 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2018
World Champions 2002, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
Champion of Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016

Juvenile Drum Corps

Scottish Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
British Champions 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
European Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
Cowal/UK Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
World Champions 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
Champion of Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Novice Juvenile Grade

Scottish Champions 1992, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2011
British Champions 1992, 2000, 2004, 2009
European Champions 2000, 2004, 2013
Cowal/UK Champions 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012
World Champions 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015
Champion of Champions 2000, 2009, 2012

Novice Juvenile Drum Corps

Scottish Champions 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018
British Champions 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
European Champions 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Cowal/UK Champions 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
World Champions 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018
Champion of Champions 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018
Competition Results 2018
 * Novice B ** Playing in Grade 2 *** Playing in Grade 3 **** Playing in Grade 4
JUVENILE
NOVICE A
Band
Drums
Band
Drums
17-18 February Los Angeles, USA Queen Mary Scottish Festival 1st***
1st MSR
1st***
1st MSR
NA NA
Sunday 4 March  George Watson's College Invitational Competition (cancelled due to extreme weather) NA NA NA NA
Sunday 11 March  Inveralmond High School Scottish Schools Championship 3rd 1st 1st
2nd*
1st
1st*
Sunday 18 March Glasgow Glasgow Highland Club 3rd 2nd 4th 4th
Saturday 24 March 2018 Livingston Lothian & Borders Indoor Pipe Band & Solo Competition 2nd
1st**
1st
1st**
1st 1st
Saturday 12 May 2018 Dunbar Highland Games 3rd 1st 2nd 2nd
Saturday 19 May 2018 Paisley British Pipe Band Championships 2nd 4th 4th 4th
Sunday 10 June 2018 Ardrossan Highland Games 1st***
1st**
1st***
1st**
1st
1st***
1st
1st***
Friday 15 June - Sunday 17 June 2018 Belfast, Northern Ireland UK Pipe Band Championships 1st 1st 3rd 1st
Sunday 24 June 2018 Edinburgh Edinburgh Pipe Band Competition 1st 1st 3rd 1st
Saturday 30 June 2018 Forres European Pipe Band Championships 2nd 2nd 4th 1st
Saturday 28 July 2018 Dumbarton Scottish Pipe Band Championships 2nd 2nd 3rd 1st
Sunday 5 August 2018 Bridge of Allan Highland Games 3rd***
1st**
1st***
2nd**
6th**** 3rd****
Saturday 11 August 2018 North Berwick Highland Games 2nd
4th**
1st
4th**
2nd 1st
Sunday 12 August 2018 Perth Highland Games N/A N/A N/A N/A
Saturday 18 August 2018 Glasgow World Pipe Band Championships 3rd 4th 5th 1st
Saturday 25 August 2018 Dunoon Cowal Highland Gathering NA NA 6th*
7th****
3rd*
6th****
Saturday 1 September 2018 Peebles Highland Games NA NA 6th*
5th****
3rd*
3rd****
Saturday 8 September 2018 Innerleithen Highland Games NA NA 1st*
4th****
1st*
5th****
Saturday 20 October 2018 Glasgow World Solo Drumming Championships & International Solo Tenor Drumming        

Competition Results Archive

2016 World Championships

(Third-party video, may contain adverts)

UK Championships 2015

(Third-party video, may contain adverts)

Juvenile Band's winning performance in the British Championships 2014

(Third-party video, may contain adverts)

BBC Video of the band performing at the 2014 World Championships

History

Cadet Corps 1905/06
Cadet Corps 1905/06

It is said that in 1882, a group of boys at George Watson's College who played the bagpipes, met on a regular basis to play together. If this is correct, it would make George Watson's College Pipes and Drums 'The Oldest Civilian Pipe Band' in Scotland.

The Pipes and Drums were officially formed in 1905 along with the introduction of the Cadet Force at the School. The band played a major role in school culture over the next 65 years until it was disbanded in 1970 along with the Cadet Force.

In 1985 the School took steps to reestablish the band. Funds were raised for instruments and uniforms and before long the band was kitted out and playing. The Pipes and Drums were fortunate to have the assistance of a number of people who were the driving force behind the band's revival. They included the then Deputy Headmaster Angus McDonald and teachers at the School Mr Norman Bruce and Mr Les Howie.

Mr Howie was appointed Master in Charge of the Pipes and Drums and in due course a parents' committee was formed to help with fundraising and development. With Mr Howie's help, the band saw considerable success until work commitments forced him to step down in 1993, upon which the parent committee took over his responsibilities. The parents' committee worked tirelessly during the next seven years to raise the profile of the band within the School environment and also within the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

In Autumn 2000 the School appointed Pipe Major Iain Simpson and Drum Major Michael O'Neill as full-time members of staff and joint Masters in Charge of the Pipes and Drums. Since then the organisation has been developed and there are now three bands which compete very successfully in the Juvenile and Novice Juvenile grades.