Pipe band summer school drawing players from all over

Sun, Jan 15

The Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Summer School is taking place in Christchurch this week, bringing players from across Aotearoa and Australia.

At St Andrew's College, pipers and drummers range from 10 to 65 years of age - all there to hone their skills, with their work culminating in a final concert today for friends and family.

"It's the biggest pipe band summer school in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest in the world," says the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association's Liam Kernaghan.

Kernaghan believes the school's popularity reflects a wider uptake in piping and drumming.

"Throughout the world, piping and drumming's taking off again and it's mostly because there's a lot of opportinity. You can travel the world, you can do things that other people might not have the same opportunities to do - so it's going through a real renaissance."

One participant, Qwenton McKenzie, says he's been to the summer school several times and missed it last year when Covid meant it couldn't go ahead.

"The social aspect of bagpiping is probably my favourite bit. Some of the people that I know now I would never have met unless I started bagpiping," says McKenzie.

"I'd recommend anyone bagpiping to show up for something like this because it just makes a world of difference in your playing."


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