WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The Arran Schools Programme has made great progress in its first year.
Eighty promising players now benefit from free piping and drumming lessons in schools on the Isle of Arran. “Our project evolved from a chance conversation with a member of the local pipe band at a Burns’ Supper and is now a fantastic, fully-fledged (and pledged) programme,” says James O’Neil, faculty head of Music at the High School and chair of the Arran Music School. “We have huge community wide support, with schools being central to this.” The Arran Music School charity was set up to bring piping and drumming tuition to the pupils on the island, and now runs other music projects too.
SSPDT supports Arran schools with a three-year grant. The project launched with a Kick-Start weekend which gave pupils the chance to try out the chanter and drums and to meet tutors.
In short space of a year, a piping quartet competed at the 2018 Championships back in March and were placed fifth in their category. Along with new drummers the group will perform in public at the end of this month.
Looking ahead, students are working hard on national qualifications and hopes are high that a pipe band will take part in the 2019 Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships