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Pipe Band excels at national event

Regulus // Issue 1 // May 2023

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Pipe Band performing at national competition.The St Andrew’s College Pipe Band relished the opportunity to participate in the 2023 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships, held in Christchurch for the first time since 2009, after the event was cancelled in 2022, due to COVID-19.

More than 50 bands, including three from Australia, competed at the championships, with a huge crowd enjoying more than 120 performances over the two days of competition.

Pipe Band Director, Richard Hawke, was delighted with the results, with the St Andrew’s College A Band winning the New Zealand Championship Juvenile title and finishing overall runners-up in Grade 2 behind Hawthorn Pipe Band (Melbourne), and the B Band finishing third overall in Grade 4A after a close tussle at the top with only a couple of points separating the first to third placed bands. The combined B and C Bands (with 50 students) placed sixth in the Juvenile grade. “The bands did incredibly well, especially given we didn’t have a national or contest season last year. They went into it with a bit less experience than they normally would – particularly up against the adult bands in Grade 2. We were very happy with how they all performed.”

Richard says the A Band was a clear winner in the Juvenile section and did extremely well against the adult bands in Grade 2. “It was a fantastic result for them to finish second and has given the band a real confidence boost for later in the year.”

The Pipe Band drummers also finished second behind Hawthorn Pipe Band in Grade 2, which was a good result, says Richard.

These achievements were on the back of more excellent results at the RNZPBA Canterbury Provincial and Centre Contest at Blenheim, where the A Band won the Juvenile event and was runner-up in Grade 2 on both days, and the B Band won the overall Grade 4 event on both days.

Richard says competing in perfect weather at North Hagley Park in front of a big crowd was a highlight of the national championships, along with a St Andrew’s Pipe Band dinner on the Friday evening at the Papanui Club attended by 180 people, including Pipe Band members and supporters. “This special annual occasion is an opportunity for us to honour the leavers from the Pipe Band the previous year, who are given a special leavers’ medallion. These former students come back to compete with us at nationals. It was a great event, with an excellent turnout.”

St Andrew’s College Pipe Band achieves impressive results delighting director Richard Hawke.