Bedford’s association with pipe bands goes back to the First World War when the Highland Division was stationed in the town before being sent to fight in the trenches on the Western Front.
Today’s Bedford Pipe Band was formed by Pipe Major Donald Reid in 1993 and has represented the town at events throughout the UK and overseas, and it is seeking new players.
The first major outing was in 2000 when the band took part in a parade in Edinburgh to raise funds for Marie Curie, and has since performed around the world
Donald said: “Our bread and butter work comes from performing at local carnivals, fetes and street parades in the spring and summer months, with Burns Suppers keeping us busy in the dark days of winter. We do not take part in pipe band competitions, but we are keen to maintain a high standard of playing, whilst having some fun with a broad repertoire of tunes.
“We are a friendly, relaxed and welcoming band with a range of experience and proficiency within our ranks. We are always on the lookout for new members, which is where you come in.”
He added: “If you’re a piper, or drummer, male or female, who’s looking for an outlet for your talents but don’t know where to go, please come and talk to us. We’ll be delighted to see you. Maybe you’ve not played for years and are worried about being rusty? Don’t worry, just come along and have a go.
“We also teach beginners. We don’t charge tuition fees and all we ask in return is that you commit to practicing regularly. Playing the pipes and drums is not as easy as it may seem!
“The band wears the Red Robertson tartan and we have the choice of turning out for engagements in either ceremonial Highland uniform, or less formal ‘day dress’, depending on the event’s requirements. Uniform and most accessories are provided by the band. A few of our pipers also own replica First World War uniforms which are worn on certain, special occasions.”
Band practice is on Thursday nights at St John’s Church hall, Bedford, at 7.30pm including some social time.
Visit www.bedfordpipeband.org.uk or anyone interested in joining can call Pipe Major Donald Reid on 01234 268475, or Mrs Robbie Barrett, band secretary, on 01234 360967.