**Pics Free to use** Pictured Preston Lodge High School Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Championship, William McIlvanney Campus, Kilmarnock

The countdown is on for 121 schools set to compete in one of the nation’s biggest piping and drumming events.

In less than a month’s time, six schools from Renfrewshire will blow up a storm at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship (SSPBC), with Gryffe High School, Johnstone High School, Linwood High School, Paisley Grammar School, Renfrew High School and Trinity High School all participating.

Entries are also now officially open for the competition’s coveted Eilidh MacLeod Endeavour Award – an award honouring the young Manchester Arena attack victim from Barra, who would have turned 18 this month.

The Championships was launched in 2013, as part of a nationwide drive by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) to revive dwindling access to the instruments across schools – despite evidence of multiple positive benefits.

Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive of SSPDT, said: “The Championships are a huge day in the piping calendar and after a long break due to the pandemic, we are sure it will be a very special return next month.

“Playing in pipe bands can improve so much more than just musical skills for young people and the Championships next month are a major celebration of that.

“As the big day gets closer, we can’t wait to welcome more than 120 schools to what is always an incredible, music-filled celebration.”

Featuring 81 performances across the day, the event will be hosted by East Ayrshire Council and see pipe bands, quartets and freestyle ensembles go head-to-head at the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock on 12th March 2023. Expert judges will adjudicate eight categories, ranging from Debut to Novice Juvenile.

The Championship is independently organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT). It carries the support of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) but is not a RSPBA competition.

SSPDT believes that every pupil should have the chance to learn the pipes and drums on the same basis as other school instrument tuition.

The national charity was formed with the belief that pipe bands are much more than a musical pastime; they develop life and employability skills and attributes such as teamwork, shared and individual achievement, resilience and perseverance, self-confidence, camaraderie and a sense of discipline and dress.

For more information on the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships, visit http://www.thechampionships.org.uk.

For more information on the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, visit www.sspdt.org.uk.

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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