The Pipes are calling for young Falkirk musicians

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Talented young Falkirk pipers are being urged to get their entries in for the world’s biggest schools piping competition.

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships, to be staged in March 2020, showcases Scotland’s musical heritage - and the search is now on for performers from Falkirk to take part.

The Championships feature eight categories including a Freestyle section which encourages musicians to team up with singers and dancers.

The aim is to create a performance which offers a novel twist on piping music with an emphasis on innovation and fun.

This year’s event in Livingston attracted around 800 players, including some as young as eight - and a band from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides who had to travel over two days to get to the competition.

Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), who organise the event, says she wants to see even more entries than the 65 bands that took part this year.

She said: “We want to encourage any individual, school or community group in Falkirk to look at supporting pupils to represent their schools next year – and to help us make these Championships the biggest yet.

“We’d be delighted to secure entries from performers who have only recently started playing, perhaps as a result of support from the Trust”.

She added: “The Championships celebrate Scotland’s incredible musical heritage and showcase the young people who are its future, helping to preserve an integral part of our country’s culture.

“It’s a truly enjoyable day of competition, fellowship and fun and the young musicians attending have a chance to create long-term friendships with each other.”

A quartet entrey requires either four pipers, or three pipers and a tutor, and bands can enter categories ranging from Debut to Novice Juvenile.

Schools that need more players to form a quartet or a band can join forces with other Falkirk area schools.

All schools or combined schools that enter a quartet or a pipe band can also enter the Freestyle competition.

The SSPDT was created after its founders recognised that pipe bands – once thriving and at the heart of local communities – were struggling to find new members, yet pipes and drums were not taught in schools.

Since then, the Trust has helped 47 schools pipe bands to form, building on tuition provided in 265 schools.

The Trust also helps existing youth and school pipe bands with grants and the free loan of bagpipes.

It is currently supporting projects in 22 local authority areas.

For more information and details on how to enter the Championships, visit: https://thechampionships.org.uk/