Tweedvale Pipe Band travelled to East Lothian last Saturday 14 May to take part in the thirty fourth annual pipe band contest at the Hallhill Centre Dunbar, traditionally the first outdoor pipe band contest of the new season in the Lothian and Borders area. Travelling through to Dunbar, the weather promised to be ideal with plenty of sun. This was deceptive however as there was a considerable chill in the air even though the sun continued to shine, these conditions making the setting up of a pipe band sound difficult.
Tweedvale were entered in two competitions at Dunbar, the Grade 4 March contest and the Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile March Strathspey and Reel (MSR) contest. The March contest came first and playing their set of “Greenwoodside”, “The Earl of Mansfield”, “MacKay’s Farewell to the 74th” and “The Piper’s Cave”, Tweedvale put in a very creditable performance. The band played 4th out of 17 bands in the March contest and then had a short break before commencing on the MSR contest. In another good performance playing 4th out of 9 entered bands, Tweedvale played their MSR set of “Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban”, “Men of Argyll”, “Molly Connell”, “The Keel Row”, “Lexy McAskill” and “Flora, Mrs Macleod of MacLeod”.
When the results were announced Tweedvale found that it had been placed third overall in the March contest, winning the Hallhill Shield. Closer examination of the results showed the band’s piping placed sixth & second, the drumming fifth and the ensemble second by the judges. The Grade 4 March contest was won by Dunbar RBL Pipe Band. Other Scottish Borders bands took part in the Grade 4 March contest with Stow Borders coming second, Hawick coming eight and Peebles Ex-servicemen’s tenth. Moving on to the Grade 4 & NJ MSR contest results, Tweedvale again placed third overall with band’s piping placed second & third, the drumming sixth and the ensemble third by the judges. The MSR contest was won by George Watson’s Novice Juvenile Pipe Band. Tweedvale Pipe Band’s attendance at the Dunbar pipe band contest was made possible by generous donations towards coach costs from The Bridge Inn Peebles and Innerleithen Union Club to whom the band extends its grateful thanks.
Reflecting on the Dunbar result Pipe Major Bruce Gillie, in charge of Tweedvale Pipe Band said, “Considering the conditions, both performances at Dunbar were very good. The changeable sunny conditions combined with the chilly air made achieving any kind of sound difficult for all bands and it is to the credit of the band members that the performances kept together as much as they did. This is the first time since 2009 that the band is going to have a full competition season and it’s got off to a great start with these prizes. I’d like to congratulate our three debutant drummers, Rhiann Hamilton, Lauren Hamilton and Emily-Louise Hamilton on making such a great start with the band. I’d also like to thanks The Bridge Inn Peebles and Innerleithen Union Club for donations towards coach costs, your support is much appreciated by the band. We are all now focussing on improving our performance in time for the first major of the year, the British Championships.”
As Pipe Major Gillie mentioned, the British Pipe Band Championships take place in St James’s Playing Fields Paisley this Saturday 21 May. Tweedvale Pipe Band has been drawn to play 15th out of 18 bands in the Grade 4A contest, and will be taking to the contest field at 12.08pm. This draw means an early start for the band with the coach leaving Innerleithen at 7.30am. The playing requirement for the first major championships of the year is a March Strathspey and Reel set and will be the same was as that played at Dunbar. The following weekend sees the band heading to West Lothian to take part in the pipe band contest at Bathgate on the last Saturday of May.
Details of the Day
Contest venue – Hallhill Centre Dunbar.
Grade 4 Marches: Greenwoodside, The Earl of Mansfield, McKay’s Farewell to the 74th and The Piper’s Cave.
Grade 4 & NJ MSR – P/M Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban, Men of Argyll, Molly Connell, The Keel Row, Lexy McAskill and Flora, Mrs MacLeod of MacLeod.
Number of Pipers – 10.
Number of Side Drummers – 6 in Grade 4, 3 in Grade 3.
Number of Bass Drummers – 1.
Number of Tenor Drummers – 1.
The full results of the Dunbar Pipe Band Contest Grade 4 March contest can be found here.
The full results of the Dunbar Pipe Band Contest Grade 4 & NJ MSR contest can be found here.