Pipe band college aims to become 'incubator'

Principal tutors in the new City of Dunedin Pipe Band College (from left) Liam Kernaghan, Craig...
Principal tutors in the new City of Dunedin Pipe Band College (from left) Liam Kernaghan, Craig Inglis and Richard Cox perform in the Octagon, Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

A Scottish pipe band college is being established to ''teach young pipers and drummers the art'' and rejuvenate the tradition of Scottish musical performances in the Edinburgh of the South.

Organisers say the City of Dunedin Pipe Band College aims to provide ''the premier piping and drumming programme in Otago'' and offer a ''comprehensive tuition package'' suited to learners and established players.

But when the college starts operating at the start of next month, at the band's rooms, the main focus will be on youngsters aged between 10 and 13.

And organisers want to hear from young people keen to play Scottish music.

Liam Kernaghan (23), an international champion piper, said the aim was to establish ''a kind of piping and drumming `incubator''', that could ''put Dunedin piping and drumming on the map again''.

Mr Kernaghan is a final year LLB and BA (Hons) in politics student at the University of Otago, and he and Richard Cox, a national champion piper, are musical directors of the City of Dunedin Pipe Band.

''For a while now, the piping and drumming scene has been on the decline in Dunedin, with very little teaching and forward progression occurring,'' Mr Kernaghan said.

''Our aim is to revitalise the scene through Dunedin's premier pipe band,'' he said.

Dunedin had a fine tradition of Scottish music and the college aimed to create ''an environment where piping and drumming can flourish in Dunedin''.

Organisers hoped it would become ''one of the strongest programmes in New Zealand''.

The college would also bring a ''renewed commitment to quality tuition from teachers at the highest level of performance in piping and drumming''.

Messrs Kernaghan and Cox, and Craig Inglis, a world champion drummer who moved to Dunedin from Scotland last year, are the college's principal tutors.

And winners of six New Zealand championships as well as world and other overseas championship titles were on the tutor panel, organisers said.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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