12 Days of Christmas: The City of Leeds Pipe Band in full regalia
The members of The City of Leeds Pipe Band were in full fettle for this, the 11th picture in our '˜12 Days of Christmas' series, as they perform in full regalia at Leeds Minster.
While they might look as though they hail from north of the border, their roots are firmly anchored in Yorkshire soil.
The band was formed in 1960 by a small group of former members of the Scottish Regimental Association of Yorkshire Pipe Band - colloquially known as The Yorkshire Jocks - and they are used to being in the limelight.
In recent years they have performed in Uganda, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, the Tour de Yorkshire, on the Flying Scotsman and even appeared in Guy Ritchie’s film King Arthur, in which they can be seen marching and playing near the beginning and end of the film. Just last week, they supported Andre Rieu at Leeds First Direct Arena.
Secretary Richard Procter, 33, who works in insurance, joined the group in 2012 because he wanted to learn to play a musical instrument.
He said: “I had no prior experience but I wanted to learn and I wanted to meet people after I moved to the area from Cumbria. It was one of the best things I’ve done. We perform at about 25 public engagements a year but we get invited to around 60.
“When I first started to learn the bagpipes I thought it would be easier than other instruments because there are no sharps or flats but it’s actually more difficult. The music, though, is very moving - I’ve seen people in tears before, hopefully for the right reasons.”
The group, which meets in Scholes and Headingley twice a week for practice, has around 30 members with ages ranging from eight up to over 80. One of their members has played the bagpipes on Mount Kilimanjaro, another used his skills to help him pass his music GCSE and yet another is in the process of trying to play his pipes at every castle in the UK. The group, which is self-funding, also regularly raises money for charity, including MacMillan Cancer Support. One of the group’s future bookings includes playing at Balmoral Castle.
Richard added: “We welcome new members, tuition is free, it can take a while to learn to play, so you can come and learn for free but the trade-off is it’s going to take time and effort. People can find us on facebook, instagram and twitter.”
Contact the group via their website: www.leedspipeband.org.uk or call Richard on 07539 203 897.