Seventeen boys from St John’s College Pipe Band joined over 200 other bands from 14 countries at the Piping World Championships, held in Glasgow in August. It was the culmination of months of hard work, practice and determined fund-raising.
The College boys marched and piped with the world’s best at the competition which was held over two days, the 17 to 18 August. They didn’t make it to the final but an even greater honour and privilege was being requested to march in the opening Parade through Glasgow, one of four bands, out of more than 200 bands in the festival. Joining the College boys the three other bands were from Australia, from Mexico and from Canada.
Harare News spoke to the Band’s Drum Major Nicholas Khaminwa, an Upper Six prefect.
What was the highlight of your trip?
Just seeing so many bands there and seeing this art form so appreciated. Everywhere we went we heard bagpipes. To see something so rare here, so appreciated and recognized there.
What was the biggest challenge?
Besides the weather? [he laughs] The competition was very stiff. Going up against people who have been doing this since their parents thought about having children. People who eat, live and breath pipe band music. It was such dedicated competition.
Why did you choose the drums over pipes?
They appeal to me more. When I was a primary student I came here to watch a rugby game and the drum section broke away and played Trickstix. I think that performance really got me. When I was in Form 1, Emanuael Mavodo [the band’s Drum tutor] called me over and played. Seeing the sticks bouncing off the drums, was the most amazing thing. I thought it was really hard. But he slowed it down and that’s when the instrument spoke to me.
You’ll be passing on your sticks when you leave St John’s at the end of the year. What advice do you have for he who follows you?
It’s a job, that when you take it on you don’t realise how hard it is. But it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done at St John’s. You have to remain constant and predictable.
Once the Competition was over, the St John’s boys took the opportunity to make a tour of Scotland, managing to take in the Edinburgh festival, visiting Science Museums, Bothwell Castle, McCallum’s Pipe Factory, St Andrew’s – including a personal tour inside the Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse – and rounding all off with a visit to the Edinburgh Castle.
The College Pipe Band gratefully acknowledges the support given so generously by so many fellow Zimbabweans.