OVER 800 young pipers and drummers are expected to go head-to-head in the world’s largest schools pipe band competition in March 2018 and there is still time to be part of it.

120 schools from across Scotland will take part in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Livingston on March 11, 2018 and the organisers have put out a call to remind them to get entries in by the closing date of January 19 to be in with a chance of winning some cash prizes.

Schools need just four pipers, or three pipers and a tutor, to be able to enter a Quartet, perfect for those that don’t have quite enough players yet to form a pipe band, whilst the Debut category gives young players new to competition a chance to showcase their musical talents.

A range of other categories cater for bands competing at every level all the way up to Juvenile, where Scotland’s most skilled young players battle it out for the top prizes.

The event, organised by Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), also includes the popular Freestyle category which encourages . The 2017 winner of this category, Sgoil Lionacleit from Benbecula, scooped the prize with a medley of tunes that impressed the judges.

Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive, Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, said: “The Championships was established in 2011 to encourage the formation of school pipe bands, and offers a positive and friendly experience for players who are new to competition, as well a forum for bands at the very top of their game. This year we are delighted to see entries from new schools pipe bands that have been created with the Trust's help. The Trust can help more state schools in Scotland to expand music opportunities for pupils by introducing piping and drumming tuition, and we invite teachers and parents to contact us."

It is an exciting time in the schools piping world, with another competition, Piping Hit 2018, open to all young musicians, not just pipers, across the country.

Kenny Forsyth, chair of the Piping Hit 2018 judging panel and SSPDT trustee, said: “Not only do we have the Championships coming up, but our national composition competition, Piping Hit 2018, is open and we’re on the hunt for Scotland’s next superstar young composer!

“The pipes are used in so many different types of music now and we want to encourage all pupils to get involved, whether they play the pipes or not. The tune doesn’t have to be what is considered a typical traditional Scottish melody, it could be as modern as Ed Sheeran or Katy Perry – it’s up to the composer!”

“The winner will receive £250 as well as £1000 for their school’s music department. The winning tune will also be performed at the Championships so the audience can look forward to hearing that on the day as well!”

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships take place on March 11 at Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston. For more information and to submit entries, please visit www.thechampionships.org.uk; the deadline for entries is January 26, 2018. For more information about Piping Hit 2018, please visit www.sspdt.org.uk.