Maybole Pipe Band's trip to Italy and other News
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Maybole Pipe Band marching in Girvan, Ayrshire

Folk festival in Agrigento, Sicily

On Tuesday the 5th February 2002 Maybole Pipe Band and 2 members of Aileen Robertson's School of Dance traveled to the city of Agrigento in Sicily to represent Scotland in an International Folklore Festival. The trip lasted a week and during the period they performed in street parades open air concerts and on stage within theatres in the district.

This is the start of an exciting year for the band but you could be forgiven for thinking that we always have an exciting time? Due to a clash of dates we had to abandon our annual trip to Koblenz in Germany for the Rhineland carnivals, our German hosts were very supportive and understanding in this and felt the opportunity to extend our popularity was important. This disappointment was recovered with an invite to the area to play for a surprise occasion, due to the popularity of the Internet we would rather not disclose the exact details.

We have also been invited to represent Scotland in the Interceltic Festival in Northern Spain. This event will take place over 10 days in July and August and it is hoped that will we will again team up with the Dance group and perform in the largest Celtic Festival in Spain. The festival is attended by groups and Bands from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Great Britain, Brittany, Asturias and Galicia to name a few. This will be a new destination for the Band and it is seen that the popularity of the band is recognised on a wider scale than previously thought. During the year though we will still be leading the Gala Days and entertaining the tourists in our local area as well as playing at events such as weddings, corporate entertainment, parades and various other functions that seek the bands attendance.

Over the years the Band has grown from strength to strength. This can be measured with the increase in performances that we commit too and the encouragement that the existing band members get when after months and years of practise new members achieve there goal, to play with the band in a public performance.

Thankfully the increase in membership helps to ensure that we can turn out a band when requested. Looking at the figures the band has increased in membership by approximately 30% and many of this increase comes from teenagers encouraged by the bands activities home and abroad. Over the past few years we have brought in 4 new pipers and 3 new drummers, all school age on joining. This year we are expecting to bring in a further 2 pipers, however, school is only a memory to these two. It takes a lot of time and commitment to reach this stage but everyone who perseveres will tell you of the enormous satisfaction that is gained. Time and commitment are the only initial requirements to join the band, we have a group of tutors who give there time and talents to teach but be warned, it is a long slow progression. We meet in the Carrick Sports Club on a Wednesday evening and the tuition starts at 7.30.

The increased popularity in Scottish music and traditions has laid enormous pressure on the activities of the band and in particular the expectations of the individual players to attend as many functions as possible, over the years we have increased our performances from around 20 per year to over 50 in the year 2000. This represents a lot of evenings and weekends given up by the players and there partners, but due to the friendly nature of the group the gratification from our audiences and the public at large, not to mention the understanding of our partners makes it all very much worthwhile.

This is the great thing about the Band, the differing age groups and the common willingness and motivation to take our music nationally and internationally to represent a small town in South West Scotland and our Country. New members always have that feeling of pride and achievement when they first perform with the band and it never really wanes, but the feelings of pride intensify when performing in different nations. This is what the music does, it crosses boundaries and forms relationships and understanding of one another. The Band is a significant part to all our lives but it is never really difficult to understand why it remains that way, we will always encourage people to join and be encouraged to be asked to play, so if you feel encouraged by our activities please, come along to find out more, or offer your support. Our website can provide further information.

Bryce McCulloch