Pipe band revival on the cards
There are few things that stir the blood like the skirl of the pipes, and now a revival is on the cards in Waipu that has sadly been missing in recent times.
The history of the Waipu Pipe Band has ebbed and flowed, buoyed by descendants of the Scottish settlers who felt bound to retain their tradition, but then falling into recess as senior members reached retirement and the younger generation left the area for University or travel and failed to return.
Pipe majors Fraser Sim, Keith Aitken, Bain McGregor and other stalwarts played a role in keeping the band going up to national level through the 1990s, and though retirement has caught up with them their enthusiasm shows no signs of waning.
However long-time local member and supporter of the Waipu Caledonian Society, Janet Nops, is championing a drive for new recruits along with a wave of new residents to the rapidly growing area which has rekindled interest in revitalising the band.
Janet is organising a practice get-together BBQ at the Celtic Barn later in the month to drum up new recruits.
Her enthusiasm is shared by Margo Finlayson, a music teacher at Bream Bay College and herself a piper of some note.
“We have uniforms, pipes and drums, three drummers and a piper,” says Janet. “We just need the ‘manpower’.“
She emphasised that it’s a sport for all ages, and past members all agree they would like nothing more than to see a resurgence of the band.
Waipu’s Highland Games, held at New Year, are an event known and loved by Scots the world over and Waipu pipe bands of the past have competed successfully at national and international competitions as dancers, pipers and drummers.
They have also played at royal ceremonies to the highest level, proudly displaying the strength and depth of Scottish tradition which imbues Waipu.
A drive for new recruits is part of a plan to revive the historically popular Waipu Pipe Band. PHOTO/SUPPLIED