Not only are the pipes calling at Innerleithen this weekend, but they’re calling loudly enough to lure a band all the way from Switzerland.
The Pipes and Drums of Basel are making a rare excursion overseas to put in a guest appearance at this year’s Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships, being held tomorrow, Saturday, September 10.
The Swiss band were founded in 1978 by members of a carnival group called Schotte Clique 1947, and having gone on to win numerous competitions in their homeland and Germany, they now want to put their talents to the test in the Borders.
Allan Johnston, secretary of St Ronan’s Piping Society, the charity that organises the annual competition, now in its 15th year, said: “We are delighted to have such a prestigious band as the Pipes and Drums of Basel join us at our competition this weekend.
“To date, we have a total of 29 performances from bands in grades two, three and four, as well as a juvenile competition and a drum majors’ competition.
“There will be something for everyone, and at the end of the day, we will be handing out a fine array of trophies and prize money amounting to more than £,2000 to the successful bands.
“In addition to the fine pipe band music, there will be an array of stalls, a face-painter, pony rides, snack bar and even a bar.”
This year’s chieftain will be incoming Innerleithen, Walkerburn and Traquair Rotary Club president Sandra Stokoe, of Peebles, and she said: “I am truly honoured to be asked to perform the duties of chieftain for the 15th Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships on behalf of the club.
“The society has, over the past years, brought the area to prominence with the championships here in Innerleithen, and this can be nothing but a bonus to the town.
“I look forward to carrying out my duties as chieftain of the championships and hope that the weather is kind to the competition.”
Mrs Stokoe will be piped down to St Ronan’s Primary School from St Ronan’s Road at about 10.45am tomorrow to take over the reins from last year’s chieftain, Norman Scott. She will take a salute from the massed bands at 5pm and, weather permitting, will be saluted by the participating bands as they parade about 5.30pm from St Ronan’s Road, Queen Street, Horsbrugh Street and High Street to fall out in Hall Street.
As an added attraction at this year’s event, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Lothian and Borders branch will be crowning a champion of champions, chosen from the bands that have won titles during the competitive season.
“The competition will be fierce, and the piping will be first class definitely and an event not to miss,” added Mr Johnston.
“There will be music to suit all tastes, so we are looking forward to a big turnout from local people and visitors alike to enjoy the music.”
Entry is £3, £2 for concessions, and parking will be £2 per car.
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