Rothesay Pipe Band in tune for more success thanks to youth drive

Rothesay & District Pipe Band's Olivia  receives the third place trophy at the British championships held in Paisley. Photo by David Cameron.
Rothesay & District Pipe Band's Olivia receives the third place trophy at the British championships held in Paisley. Photo by David Cameron.

Rothesay & District Pipe Band’s best British Championship result in 20 years has been attributed to a youth programme established last year.

The band finished third in their grade out of 21 bands at the event held in Paisley last Saturday. This follows winning their grade and being placed first at the Gourock Games and the Glasgow & West of Scotland championship as the season started earlier this month.

Rothesay & District Pipe Band secretary Jane Gillies said: “It’s our best result for around 20 years. I think we were second 20 years ago.

“So it was a good day.

“We have got a tutoring programme in the schools. We are starting to see the young kids come through. It’s in to its second year at the moment.

“We did tutoring voluntarily in the past but we now employ a tutor to go into all the schools on the island.

“We are in grade 4b. It’s like a division. We go up to 4a next year. It goes up to grade 1.

“By being in grade 4 it allows us to fit kids into the band. As you go up the grades it’s harder material you are playing and the standard is higher. So the 84 kids we have here are learning while we move up the grades.

“It suits us better. It makes sense for us here on Bute. We have only got the population we have on the island.

“We quite like that the folk in the band have been tutored by band or the tutoring programme. We plan to have a novice band that can feed into the senior band. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Jane was also delighted with the band’s success at the Gourock Games. She said: “That was a good day. We were first, which is a nice way to start the season. A good boost for the younger ones.

“Practice went well but you never know until you get there how the other bands are doing. We practice all through the winter and the season is May to August. So the practice has paid of and long may it continue.

“It’s a good supportive environment here. All the adults in the band are very encouraging to the young ones. It’s very much like a family. It’s tight-knit. But open to anyone to come and join us.

“I just want to thank all the people that support the band through the year. Either financially or in person.”