City of Bradford Pipe Band marks centenary with drive for young recruits

City of Bradford Pipe Band marks centenary with drive for young recruits

RECRUITS: Pipe Major Bob Jenkins (centre) rehearses with new recruits Richard Westerman (left) and Steve Binns

YOUNG RECRUITS: Tiegan Newton, 12, (left), and Becky Smith, 14, are two of the youngest members of City of Bradford Pipe Band

APPEAL: City of Bradford Pipe Band drummers, (from left), Brian Slack, Andy Wright, Jeff Hall, Vicky Reynolds and Andrew Egan

EQUIPMENT: Some of the drumsticks used by the band

First published in News

ONE of Bradford's musical institutions is appealing for new talent to boost its ranks during its centenary year.

The City of Bradford Pipe Band celebrated 100 years of existence with a mass reunion of members and supporters in April, and the group is now looking for young recruits to learn the arts of bagpipes, drums and highland dancing.

The band has about 30 members decked out in its Hunting Stewart tartan, ranging from a five year-old highland dancer to drummers and pipers in their 80s, but the priority now is to increase its junior section to allow the long-standing musical tradition to continue.

Bob Jenkins, a playing member for 36 years who has spent the past 21 years as Pipe Major and band chairman, said: "Since the centenary celebration, we have had a chance to reflect and it has become apparent we're lacking young blood in our ranks.

"Many of our more experienced members started when they were young, and it's only through their dedication that the band has achieved to keep running for so long.

"Unfortunately none of us stay young forever and we need to encourage youngsters to join now so we can teach them and pass on our experience.

"It's a great hobby for youngsters, as apart from learning the skills of playing an instrument or dancing, performing with a band like ours helps to build confidence, encourages discipline and helps with social interaction."

The band accepts up to 20 bookings per year, playing to hundreds of people at parades and galas across the north of England, including within the Bradford district.

Three of its current junior members include dancers Becky Smith and Teigan Newton, and teenage piper Ben Gillin.

"Highland dancing with a pipe band sounded interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try," said Becky, who joined aged seven.

"I get nervous to begin with performing in front of so many people, but when I start dancing that goes away.

"It's really fun being in the band, I'd recommend it to anyone my age. I've made some good friends and it keeps me really fit too."

Teigan, 12, also joined the band aged seven after her father became a drummer in the group.

"I liked the idea of doing something a bit different," she said.

"I like being part of the band, everyone is really friendly and we get to visit lots of places.

"It’s kind of like having days out with a big family."

The band, which featured in the opening scenes of the 2010 film, The King's Speech, returned to the competitive arena in events at Chatsworth and Ashbourne last year after a gap of nearly 20 years.

New members are always welcome to join the weekly practise sessions on Wednesday evenings at Greengates Primary School, Bradford.

For more information, contact Stacey Jenkins on 07788 165055 or visit bradfordpipeband.co.uk.

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