A Summer of Success: News from the Dollar Academy Pipe Band

Dollar Academy’s Pipe Band has enjoyed another successful summer of competition, culminating in two tremendous victories at the World Championships in Glasgow last weekend.

Earlier in the summer, the DAPB’s performances at the European Pipe Band Championships foreshadowed what would become a summer of huge success and celebration. Both the Juvenile and Novice A Bands won their grade competitions at the event which took place at Grant Park in Forres on 30 June 2018. Dollar’s young pipers and drummers joined thousands of others (including Highland dancers) from across Scotland, and also from as far away as Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland—there were even bands from Australia and Oman. The European Championships showcases all the best of traditional Highland culture, not least its best and most accomplished pipe bands. It was a superb day, with a remarkable atmosphere generated by the coming together of so many fine musicians.

The DAPB then followed up these performances with a repeat of previous years’ triumphs at the World Championship event in Glasgow on the weekend of 16-17 August. Over two days, 8000 pipers and drummers gather to compete at the most prestigious piping competition on the calendar.

Dollar Academy were the overall winners in what was a tremendous performance in Juvenile grade. Their performance consisted of a medley with hornpipes, jigs and reels. This was followed up by another victory when Dollar’s Novice A Band went on to win their grade for the very first time. It was a highly impressive display of piping with a set of results to be proud of. Having won four of five championships this competition season, Juvenile Band held onto its ‘Champion of Champion’ titles, also earned last season, and the Novice A Band, having won all five of the major championships, were also named ‘Champion of Champions’. ‘I take great pride in all of the pupils’ efforts and achievements this year,’ said Mr Wilson (Piping Instructor and Pipe Major). ‘I feel that we delivered one of the best World Championships performances ever produced by the DAPB.’

In a very exciting development, the Juvenile Band also won the Best Drum Corps prize—a title they have not won since 2015. They also, in most convincing manner, reached the top of the ‘Champion of Champions’ table for drumming, having won the drumming prizes earlier in the season at both the British and European Championships. Dollar’s drummers were ecstatic to claim this most prestigious of titles. This is the first time ever that Dollar’s drummers have claimed the ‘Champion of Champion’ drumming title. ‘The Drum Corps showed great consistency in all their performances this year,’ said Mr Innes. ‘And they thoroughly deserve the accolades and successes; these duly reflect the hard work and dedication these young drummers have invested.’

DAPB have a consistent record of performing at an incredibly high level at the World Championships, usually coming home heavily laden with hard-earned trophies. And so it would be easy to forget how many exhausting hours of tutoring, rehearsing and early-morning practices go into preparing for a competition such as this. Tutors, and parents too, deserve a tremendous amount of recognition for all their hard work—they are often as dedicated as the pupils. A formal celebration is being planned for later in the year to celebrate the successes of the DAPB over the 2018 season.

The World Championship event is a vast and prestigious competition drawing together bands from 13 nations including New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, France, Canada, Oman, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Eire, USA, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. And, this year, up to 40% of the competitors were under the age of 25. The event is part of the Partner Programme for the Year of Young People 2018, which provides a platform to promote and celebrate the talents, achievements and contributions of Scotland’s incredible young people.

Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association said: “The World Pipe Band Championships has always had the capacity to bring the very best out of the hugely talented pipers and drummers that work so hard in their bands to be the best. This year, we have been treated to a wonderful example of how compelling and dramatic this competition is, even though it is always contested in the best possible spirit. As always, the pursuit of perfection has been a joy to watch and to listen to.”

Please also visit the RSPBA YouTube website, featuring the Dollar Academy Pipe Band, at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7Bvs-VsbvfVLIRjMbrzvfZWWos2PBRm8