Traditional musicians urged to 'wake up' lockdown Scotland with tunes

Traditional musicians across Scotland are being urged to help rouse the country with the skirl of the pipes and booming drums through a new nationwide competition.

Winners of the contest will land a support slot with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) said the contest, which offers the winner the chance of a support slot alongside the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, was designed to get young musicians playing again during the lockdown.

Bands are being urged to showcase their own original compositions, or cover versions, with cash prizes on offer to the winners.

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Given the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, entries can be submitted online ahead of next months’ deadline. While the songs must include pipes and drums, vocalists and other instruments are encouraged

Craig Munro, a piper with the Chilli Pipers, who have enjoyed international success since forming in 2002, explained: “We want youngsters to form bands of up to nine musicians to compose original pieces of contemporary music or create dynamic cover versions.

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“For now this will have to be done online but if the lockdown eases bands may be able to come together, respecting any remaining restrictions.”

As well as the chance to play with the band, the winning entrants will be able to play their composition at next year’s Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships. Cash prizes will also be awarded, with £1,000 for the winner, £500 for second place, and £250 for third.

Alexandra Duncan, the SSPDT’s chief executive, said he hoped the initiative would rally musicians together during the lockdown and bring some cheer.

He said: “We know how badly people are missing playing together during this crisis. This is a great way of helping re-establish safe contact and wake Scotland up with a blast.”

The SSPDT supports the delivery of in-school pipe and drum tuition to more than 3,000 Scottish school pupils.

To find out more, visit the website www.sspdt.org.uk.

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