Following the huge success of The Pipers’ Trail as part of the 2014 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, we are now looking to extend the scheme.
Last year, we brought together a tremendous volunteer band of 27 pipers and drummers under Pipe Major Selwood to rehearse and perform for the whole of the Tattoo season in Edinburgh. They created a major impact. They integrated seamlessly with the team - over 250 pipers and drummers in established bands - were well turned out, expert in their foot drill and played to a splendid standard. Our own view of the band’s performance and the judgement of the Director of Bagpipe Music were further reinforced in a number of hugely positive remarks in our audience feedback. This wonderful result have encouraged us to develop our vision and plans at pace.
The Massed Pipes and Drums that have played at the Tattoo to such tremendous effect for the last 65 years has traditionally been drawn from the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces: the Scottish Regiments along with those with a Celtic tradition and the Royal Gurkha Rifles. This core capability has been beautifully reinforced by formed Pipes and Drums invited from amongst our friends and allies around the world; a wonderful selection of civilian bands and some schools and colleges. The mix has always worked elegantly and well, with everyone receiving the Tattoo pipe programme some months out and then coming together for a period of rehearsal in Edinburgh, before joining up with the rest of the cast for rehearsals in Redford Barracks and at the Castle.
The Pipers Trail was originally conceived in 2007 as an 'Army in Scotland' campaign to engage with the civil community. Over 4 years the scheme covered the length and breadth of Scotland visiting schools and communities encouraging an interest in the Great Highland Bagpipe, Highland Drumming and Dancing. Now, the project has been taken on by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with the same broad intentions but also to enable a wider community to participate in one of the world's greatest celebrations of pipe, drums and military music.
Development of The Pipers Trail was stimulated by a comment by a piper made in 2011: "I have been waiting all my life to march across the drawbridge with the Massed Pipes and Drums, playing as one."
This remark coupled with the Tattoo’s desire to draw ‘talented’ pipers and drummers to the Massed Pipes and Drums led to our developing a scheme that would allow musicians, who may be linked or not linked to a formed band, to join in. With Scottish Government support, we equipped and uniformed a single file of pipers and drummers, with a Pipe Major, Drum Major and Base Drummer. The process of recruiting and auditioning volunteers, equipping and uniforming them, conducting practice and rehearsal was refined through the pilot and we are now looking to recruit a new and larger band for the 2015 season. This time, we are looking for 2 full files: 50 pipers and drummers in all!
Those pipers and drummers looking to be considered to take part in this unique musical experience should have a smart bearing and presence, be a capable musician and be prepared to practice and perform throughout the Tattoo period. The 2015 Tattoo will run over the period 2 - 29 August 2015 (including rehearsals). We are looking for pipers and drummers who can play to at least Grade 3 standard, with the ability to assimilate the 2015 Pipe and Drum score and take instruction. We are keen to encourage selected and talented younger players and are very keen to encourage participation from the international piping and drumming community.
Our theme this coming year is ‘East Meets West’ and looks to bring together performers from China, India, Russia, Europe, the United States and South America. We have invited formed pipe bands from Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and the USA. The Pipers’ Trail band will join this huge array to form a singular band of nearly 250 musicians.
With the continuing support of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, The National Piping Centre, The College of Piping and the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming. The vision is to increase the proficiency and reach of The Pipers Trail to deliver a formidable piping and drumming capability for public performance in Scotland and around the world. This year, we are also looking to build a database that can be developed to offer further opportunities to perform at other events in Scotland and around the world.
Those interested should email applications to: firstname.lastname@example.org The email should be accompanied with a CV and some evidence of playing standard. If formal qualifications are unavailable, applicants may provide a reference from a Pipe Major of an established Band. Applications will close on 28 February 2015.
Successful candidates will be provided with Full Dress uniform and the necessary tuition in foot drill, turnout, musicianship and the opportunity to join 250 other pipers and drummers as part of the Massed Pipes and Drums. The Band will perform each evening in front of a live international audience of 8,800 each evening - a total of 220,000 during the season and a further 100 - 300 million on television around the World! Over half of all available tickets to the 2015 Show were sold on the first day tickets went on sale!
Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
Chief Executive and Producer, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo