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Forres Schools Quartet places second at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Kilmarnock

By Garry McCartney

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The Forres Schools Quartet; Calum Robertson (14), Angus Robertson (13), Aidan Phimister (14) and Bill Symon (12).
The Forres Schools Quartet; Calum Robertson (14), Angus Robertson (13), Aidan Phimister (14) and Bill Symon (12).

YOUNG musicians from Forres Academy came second in the Quartets section of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Kilmarnock.

Pipers Calum Robertson, Aidan Phimister, Angus Robertson and Bill Symon, AKA The Forres Schools Quartet, beat nine other groups from across the country, while the Moray School Pipe Band, which also featured pipers and drummers from Forres, Lossiemouth and Elgin, came 6th out of 15 bands in the Junior B band competition.

Forres and District Pipe Band chairman John Channon was proud of the youngsters, many of whom are participants of the local schools tuition project.

He said: "Something like 72 school bands of different grades participated in the competition organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), sponsor for the schools tuition project in Forres. It is still early days yet but we have 30 youngsters enrolled in the scheme and there will be more to come as it develops.

"The Forres Junior Band doubles up as the Forres School Band and provided seven pipers and three drummers to the Moray School Band. Calum Robertson from Forres was the Pipe Major.

"As a first time participant with a newly formed band, the Moray School Pipe Band placing was hugely significant. It was a remarkable performance by the youngsters and testament to their mentors Fiona and Douglas Caldwell, Ryan Anderson and Ross Martin.

"Forres Schools Quartet had another remarkable performance."

Pipe Major Robertson said: "I was happy with our performance. We played well and it showed on the day. A second place in our first year of competing shows what we could do in the future."

Fiona Caldwell was proud of all the pupils who made the trip.

She said: "Our quartets rehearsed with their tutors, however, the Moray band only had two joint rehearsals before the competition.

"Each pupil gave 100 per cent. The talent we have has been highlighted alongside the potential for growth and development of piping and drumming in the Moray Schools.

"Piping and drumming not only showcases the traditional music skills we are teaching, it also encourages life skills, teamwork, self confidence and what was evident on the trip, new friendships being formed.

SSPDT chief executive, Alexandra Duncan, confirmed around 800 youngsters showed passion for Scottish piping and drumming at the competition.

She said: "We hope this will inspire other schools and students to get involved next year and keep our proud musical heritage growing. We’re also grateful to the parents, schools and local authorities working closely with us to bring tuition opportunities to young people in Scotland."

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