Informally dressed they may be, but this is the world leading Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in public rehearsals in Kelvingrove Park today, preparing for the World Pipe Band Championships on Glasgow Green tomorrow (Saturday 11 August 2012). Last year they came first in every major competition they entered including the ‘Worlds’.
Around 8000 pipers, drummers and performers are expected to take part in the ‘Worlds’ which have been associated with Glasgow for 70 years. They’ll bring with them an audience of at least 40,000 and will create a spectacle that is difficult to match.
From County Antrim, the Field Marshal Montgomery pipers were checked individually by Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE (pictured centre) as part of their intense concentration on the quality of their sound. That kind of scrutiny while being watched by a crowd, is all part of the discipline of a pipe band.
Even if you’re not partial to the sound of the great Highland bagpipe, it is worth a visit to Glasgow Green tomorrow to watch the style and the dedication of skilled musicians from all parts of the world. Truly a memorable day out.
The organisers of the World Pipe Band Championships for 2011 are to be congratulated. They made a lot of people very happy on Saturday 13 August when around 8000 pipers and drummers in 230 bands entered into fierce competition. The spectacle was enjoyed by an estimated 30,000 onlookers. Despite monsoon rains for days beforehand, the Glasgow Green was well prepared to take the crowds without too much mud underfoot.
Said one international visitor: ‘This has been an amazing day. I have never seen pipe bands before. It has been very exciting.’
Graded into different levels of ability, the band Grade 1 winners were Field Marshal Montgomery from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, making them top band in the world and leaving them feeling on top of the world.
Said Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading: ‘I am delighted that this world famous band has once again brought this supreme title back to Lisburn. With 21 Ulster and 19 All Ireland Championships and now 7 World Champion titles, they are officially the most successful pipe band in history.
‘Quite simply, they are in a league of their own. To perform and compete at this level takes countless hours of practice. Their success is richly deserved.’
The Band’s Drum Major, Alicia Dickson also won the adult Drum Major event.
Interviewed by Jackie Bird for the BBC live coverage that went world-wide, the band’s Pipe Major, Richard Parkes MBE said: ‘We had a strong band on the day and I couldn’t have asked for more. We really wanted to win and everyone has worked hard all winter.’
Second place went to Simon Fraser University of Canada and Scottish Power was third. Fourth place in Grade 1 went to Inveraray & District. Fifth place went to St Laurence O’Toole from Eire and sixth place went to Boghall & Bathgate.
Glasgow Lord Provost, Councillor Bob Winter, was Chieftain of the Games, for possibly his last time as there are council elections next May. He said: ‘Nothing brings Glasgow Green to life like the World Pipe Band Championships. We all appreciate the dedication, mastery and team work required to play to the highest standards to be in the Worlds. The city is very proud to continue to be host at least till 2012.’
The event brings an estimated £10 million into the local economy.
Apart from the pipe bands and the associated competitions for pipe majors and for drummers and pipers, there were Highland Games which attract heavy weight athletes ‘putting the shot’ and ‘tossing the caber”. Highland dancing competitions fielded competitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Scotland.
The day ended with all the pipe bands in a march past to salute the Chieftain and his VIP guests.
Planning for next year’s competition is already under way by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, EventsScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.