A north-east pipe band is using its lockdown-enforced downtime to host its first online solo competition.
Turriff and District Pipe Band should have just concluded its first competition season in grade 3a, following its major championship wins last year.
But with its whole season cancelled and with it the usual plethora of practices, solo events and public engagements, members have gone virtual and are about to host their first online solo piping and drumming competition.
More than 200 musicians from across the UK have entered and, over the next few weeks, a team of world championship-winning pipers and drummers from across Scotland will critique the performances of sticks and pad, chanter, pipes and drums, all of which will be recorded and sent to the band.
Pipe Major Andrew Gray said: “It’s great to see over 200 pipers and drummers of all ages have entered the event, we should have close to 600 video submissions across all events.
“This is a new event for us and we’re delighted to have a world-class line up of judges on board and prizes donated from the biggest names and businesses on the pipe band circuit.”
And while those pipers and drummers may be confined to solo practice at home until government guidance allows a return to the practice halls, the Turriff band has been proactive in setting up its first dedicated junior tuition programme, which will be based in its Cheyne Lane hall post-lockdown.
Mr Gray, a piping teacher with Aberdeenshire Council, added: “With a long history in developing young talent, the band is determined to push through these challenging times and invest in the players of tomorrow.
“We’ve joined up with drumming teacher Jill McHaffie, of Simply Drumming with Jill, to offer youngsters the chance to learn and enjoy pipe band drumming.
“Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, lessons will be held at the band hall on Sunday mornings.”
Anyone interested in registering for lessons should visit the Turriff Pipe Band Facebook page.
Judges for the online solo competition include grade one standard members of Field Marshall Montgomery, Inveraray and District, Fife Police and Scottish Power pipe bands.