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Date: Tuesday, 27th May 2014
Contributor: David Alfrey - The Pipers' Trail

The Pipers' Trail 2014 - Would you like to play at the Edinburgh Tattoo?


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For many years, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has drawn the Massed Pipes and Drums from the Armed Services' Pipes and Drums along with invited international Pipe Bands (military and civilian) and some selected schools and colleges.

The prerequisites for attendance have been a smart and soldierly manner (in foot drill and turnout), musical excellence and a commitment to practice and perform across the run (essentially 4 weeks in late-July and August including rehearsals). This year for the first time, we have invited a Regimental Association Pipe Band and we are looking to form a 'house' Pipes and Drums as a pilot for a larger scheme designed to embrace the wider national and international Pipes and Drums community. This scheme will be known as 'The Pipers Trail'.

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.

This year - with the 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 - we are looking for volunteers to form a Pipers’ Trail file on the Tattoo; one of 15 files on parade. We are looking for up to 25 pipers and drummers who can play to at least Grade 3 standard, with the ability to assimilate the 2014 Pipe and Drum score and take in instruction, before rehearsals. We would also like to open the scheme to select and talented younger players.

The successful candidates will be provided with Full Dress uniform (for the duration of the Tattoo: 28 Jul - 24 Aug 14), instruction in foot drill and the opportunity to join 250 other pipers and drummers as part of the Massed Pipes and Drums - one of the largest cohorts ever to play on the Tattoo. The Band will perform each evening in front of a live audience of 8,800 each evening (220,000 across the run) and on a variety of major 'outreach' events.

This year, we are looking for established players, preferably (but not essentially) from within commuting distance of Edinburgh, to kick start the programme. If this pilot is successful we hope to expand the scheme in coming years to grow a significant 'bank' of suitable pipers and drummers in Scotland and from across the world for future Tattoos and other prestige events.

Email applications (to: should be accompanied with a CV and accompanied by any evidence of playing standard. If formal qualifications are unavailable, applicants may provide a reference from a Pipe Major of an established Band. Applications close on 1 Jun 14.

David Alfrey
The Pipers' Trail


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