A time for reflection and commemoration

5 September 2019

Cutting a cake during St Andrew's College Pipe Band centenary celebration on 16 March 2019.


Over 500 people gathered in the Centennial Chapel on the morning of Saturday 16 March 2019, to begin a day of celebration, but also to reflect on the events of the previous day.

Pipe Band Director, Richard Hawke, says College Chaplain Paul Morrow delivered a prayer, and some ‘moving words’, followed by a minute’s silence in respect of those who had lost their lives in the terror attack. “Paul then read a beautiful Scottish blessing, and Year 12 solo piper, Campbell Wilson, played a lament, which gave us all a chance to acknowledge the tragedy, before moving on to our Centenary programme.”

The official programme got underway with a presentation called 100 Years of Celebration – A Nostalgic Journey, led by Rector Christine Leighton, Board Chair Bryan Pearson, and Pipe Band Director Richard Hawke. Through story, film, photos, and music, guests were taken on a journey through the highlights of the Pipe Band’s 100 year history, which had been compiled by Preparatory School Art teacher, and College Archivist, Pip Dinsenbacher. Pip, along with Head Graphic Designer, Craig Morgan, from the Communication Department, also put together a special history and music book for the Centenary called The Road to Success, which featured music scores for several tunes special to St Andrew’s College, and a comprehensive record of the band’s history. They were also the team behind the decade boards in the Pipe Band hub in the Senior College. “Pip carried out some exhaustive research, from multiple sources, including books, Collegians from the last 100 years, and previously unpublished memoirs to put the history together. She did a fantastic job, and it was incredibly special for us to learn the full story of the Pipe Band’s first century,” says Richard.

He says the Pipe Band community was delighted to have G.A.M. Hilson’s son, Euan Hilson (Pipe Major 1953–1954), in attendance at the celebrations. “Solo piper, Campbell Wilson, played a wonderful tribute to honour GAM and his family’s enormous contribution to the band.”

Another musical highlight was Iona Taylor (Year 13) a bass drummer in the current Pipe Band, singing The Skye Boat Song.

A presentation was made by former Band Master, Barry Shaw, to 17 of the 32 former band members from the 2013 World Championships winning band in attendance, along with six of the eight Pipe Band staff on that trip to Scotland.

The Centenary birthday cake was cut by Euan Hilson and current Pipe Major, Noah Clarke (Year 13), with guests then dispersing from the Centennial Chapel to The St Andrew’s College March, accompanied by Michael Lawrence on organ.

Morning tea followed, including special haggis savouries, made by Head of Catering, Russell Gray, and his team.

Following a group photograph outside Strowan House, guests moved to the Quad where a stirring Massed Band performance of Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave, and The St Andrew’s College March, and a tune in honour of GAM Hilson, was very well received by those in attendance. The performance was also posted to Facebook, where it amassed thousands of views. This marked the conclusion of the morning’s special activities.

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