Published: 28 March 2012
Pipers at the gates of Ballarat
While most university students are on Easter break, some UQ students will be swirling their tartans and playing rousing refrains with pipes and drums at a national event in Victoria.
The University of Queensland Pipe Band at Emmanuel College (UQPBEC) will compete in The Australian Pipe Band Championships at Ballarat on April 7 and 8.
The UQPBEC Quartermaster Jess Logan said the group had been entertaining audiences for 15 years.
However, this was only the second time they would compete in the biennial championships, with the assistance of the University and Emmanuel College.
This year's championships are being hosted by The University of Ballarat, the only other university in Australia to have a resident pipe band.
“We have about 25 male and female members, including 14 to 15 pipers and around 10 drummers,” Ms Logan said.
“Band membership is open to all members of the University and College as well as musicians from the wider Brisbane community.”
The band's repertoire ranges from Amazing Grace and Highland Cathedral; to favourites Scotland the Brave, Cock of the North and One Hundred Pipers; Aussie tunes Waltzing Matilda and Road to Gundagai; to the strathspeys, reels and jigs of Scotland.
With a broad repertoire, talent, commitment and hard work, the band has achieved significant milestones since its members first took up pipes and drums together a decade and a half ago.
From late 2009 the band made a change in focus and began preparing for its most significant year yet.
Throughout 2010 the UQPBEC competed in more competitions than ever before and for the first time competed at The Australian Pipe Band Championships.
In 2010 and 2011 many band members attended the Noosa Pipe Band Workshop to maintain and further improve their performance abilities.
Ms Logan said the band was proud to represent the University and College at annual events such as ANZAC Day, St Patrick's Day and Tartan Day, and were one of a select group of pipe bands chosen to entertain packed audiences as part of the finale of the 2008 Andre Rieu World Stadium Tour at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
As well as being focused on being a competitive band, the band regularly performs at Emmanuel College and the University, and at a large variety of community events and functions including performances for charity, church services, parades, festivals and highland gatherings.
Some of the most notable performances for the band have included the Australian Celtic Festival, the Ipswich International Tattoo (held by the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band), and at the Woodford Folk Festival.
The band continues to develop and thrive under the patronage of Emmanuel College Principal, Professor Stewart Gill.
Practice occurs every Tuesday night from 5-8pm at Emmanuel College and membership is also open to those not experienced in playing pipes or drums.
If you would like to learn, the band offers free tuition from 5-6pm. No musical experience is required.
Ms Logan said the trip to Ballarat was the largest organised by the UQPBEC to date.
Contact Details: For further information and details on hiring the band please see the band's website at www.uqpipeband.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Emmanuel College (http://www.emmanuel.uq.edu.au/).
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