Piping Out the Pandemic

Dollar pupil and boarder, Hugo (Form IV) has written about his experience of placing first in his respective grade in the World Online Piping and Drumming Championships.

Written by Hugo (Form IV)

Two months ago, due to the coronavirus pandemic, I needed to fly back home to Seattle from Dollar Academy, several weeks ahead of the Easter break. I was not ready for this at all, after enjoying a wonderful start to my academic, boarding and musical experiences at the school. This was a very busy time, with adjustments needing to be made in so many aspects of life – including transitioning to remote learning from a different country and time zone. The most disappointing reality was that our Band’s piping season, which we were all eager for, was cancelled. Thus, I was pleased to learn about the World Online Piping and Drumming Championships, which was organised by Jori Chisholm of bagpipelessons.com.

Together, my brother Paul and I worked on practising, recording, uploading to Youtube and submitting our tunes all through the month of April. This was a wonderful way for us to stay motivated during this trying time under “lockdown” and compete with pipers from all around the globe, thanks to the ingenious online format of the competition.

When the results of the competition were announced, Paul and I were thrilled to receive first place overall in our respective grades, four and two. I was also proud to see that some of my peers at Dollar – Angus (Form II), Sophie (Junior 1) Dugald (Form III) and Aly (Form IV) – had competed and placed strongly, putting Dollar Academy in second place for the ‘Champion Pipe Band or Team with Most Points Overall’ category!

After reading some of the judges’ comments on individual submissions, I appreciated that the world-class panel of judges had taken time and care to provide detailed and constructive feedback to all competitors. Overall, I really enjoyed participating in this online piping competition; it was an innovative and fruitful endeavour to keep the piping world active and connected during this lockdown!

To view a video of Hugo piping, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=041Ozuww0lE&t=53s