Once a Pipe Band parent, always a Pipe Band parent!

Who doesn’t love the Scotch Pipe Band?

70 musicians who perform at local senior housing facilities, primary schools, and sporting events as part of the College’s wider community service commitment as well as at key College events. Regionally, the pipes and drums can often be heard at field days, agriculture shows and community functions.

Some would argue that the Pipe Band is the voice and identity of the College and a key force that brings our community together.

Trish Hawkey, President Pipe Band Parent Support Group shares some insights into how this remarkable Scotch Community operates.

When did you join the Pipe Band community?

My son Lachy became a piper in Year 7 in 2019 so I have been involved since then. I took over as President at the start of Term 4, 2022.

How big is the Parent Support Group and how often does it meet?

We have over 150 members and we meet monthly.

With so many engagements, there must be many parents involved behind the scenes and a lot of juggling. How do the PB parents work together?

Yes, there is! We have a committee –Secretary Rubini Ventouras and Treasurer Katrina Chalmers. We also have various committees who manage our big fundraising events such as the biannual Scottish Banquet and a battalion of volunteers. Parents also help with events or simply by taking the boys to and from events. Band practice and performances are often early in the morning or on weekends and often clash with other school events so most of the Pipe Band parents pitch in to help if parents have a conflicting commitment.

Does the Parent Support Group travel with the boys when they are performing? This must be fun!

Yes, we do. Parents will often attend performances around Perth and in the regional areas. Recently, over 20 families travelled to Norfolk (USA) for the Virginia International Tattoo. We spent time together both at the performances and socially which helped us connect as a group. We had a “wrap party” in Norfolk after the last tattoo performance, and there were over 100 people there from the Scotch College Pipe Band! For those families who are unable to travel on tours we have a WhatsApp group so that they feel connected.

What makes the Pipe Band community special?

It feels like being part of a big, beautiful family! We all look out for each other and every single one of us is supportive of the boys and very proud of what they do. Regardless of our backgrounds and whether we have a son piping or drumming or what year he is in, it feels like we “get” one another.

Engaging with the local community in Norfolk, USA

What does your son enjoy the most about being a part of the Pipe Band and the friendships he has built within this group?

Because they all put such a lot of effort into the band, they all understand the value and demands of being committed and participating fully in the band. This creates a special bond. When they travel, they get to know each other well, which cements their friendships. One of the things that has impressed me the most, is how the older boys look after the younger boys. In Norfolk everyone was inclusive and caring. All the boys were given meal tokens to use at local restaurants. The day before we left, many had left over tokens, so they used them to buy food and distributed it to the homeless – a great example of how caring the boys are.

What would you say to parents and boys who would like to get involved?

Do it! Your son will have a world of opportunities open to him, and you will get to spend time with lots of wonderful people. Oh, and he will learn a fabulous instrument as well!

Will you miss it once your time as President comes to an end?

I will miss it for sure, but I think I will always feel connected to it. Once a Pipe Band parent, always a Pipe Band parent!

Parents and the Scotch College Pipe Band at the Virginia International Tattoo