Leeds bagpipe band needs new recruits

The City of Leeds Pipe Band.
The City of Leeds Pipe Band.
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A BUSY bagpipe band in Leeds is taking to social media in a bid to bag some new recruits.

The City of Leeds Pipe Band, which was set up in 1960, has 20 events in the next year and is looking for new pipers and drummers to take up the challenge.

Many members who have been involved for the past 50 years are now hoping to pass on their skills to younger recruits, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts have been set up to help reach a younger audience.

Pipe major John Grant has been in the band for over 30 years.

He said: “We made it to the World Championships in Glasgow about 20 years ago but we don’t compete any more as we can’t get enough people together.

“People seem to think you have to be Scottish or have a kilt or your own bagpipes to take part, but that’s not true!”

Over the years, the not-for-profit band, which currently has around 20 members, has had championship success, made television appearances and toured across Europe.

John, 72, added: “People say the sound of bagpipes puts the hairs on the back of their neck on end – in a good way! Then there are others who can’t stand the noise.

“All we are hoping to do is entertain people. If they are interested they can just come and have a look and see what they think.

“I don’t mind how young or old our new recruits are, as long as they come along and put in some practice!”

Secretary Robert Procter, 30, said: “The sound of pipes is just brilliant, but it’s an old instrument that has a certain stigma.

“From feedback it seems people think it’s either hard or expensive to learn the bagpipes and join the band – a myth I’m keen to dispel.

“The band is self-supporting so joining is free, lessons are free and the uniform is provided.

“It’s something different to learning guitar or piano. And not everyone can play Auld Lang Syne on the bagpipes at New Year’s Eve!”

The band performed at the Wetherby Christmas light switch on this week and will be at the Farsley event on November 26.

They will also perform at a MacMillan Christmas Carol Concert at Leeds Minster on December 17.

A beginners group is held at Beckett Park Community Centre at 8pm, with the main rehearsal on Thursdays at 8pm at Scholes Village Hall.

To find out more, go to @leedspipeband on Twitter, @cityofleedspipeband on Instagram or see the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/cityofleedspipeband.

You can also visit www.leedspipeband.org.uk.

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