Our history | Becoming a member

Scotch College Pipe Band

Established in 1947, the Pipe Band forms an integral part of Scotch's Scottish Heritage and traditions.

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Our Pipe Band consists of approximately 130 students who learn and develop their skills playing the bagpipes and highland drums, with lessons in piping and drumming available to boys throughout their time in the Senior School.

The Middle School Bagpipe Programme began in 2012 and offers an introduction to piping for boys in Years 7 to 8 and drumming in Year 8. These students present themselves to the Middle School Pipe Instructor or the Drum Instructor for enrolment on the first day of the school year. 

Lessons commence immediately on the practice chanter (pipes) or the drum pad (snare drum and tenor drum). Successful applicants continue to play the pipes and drums through Senior School, providing they show interest and commitment. 

Usually, after commencing to play on the Friday parades (Friday Marching), boys will be recognised as a 'playing member'. At this point, they sign the membership book. All playing members since 1950 have signed this book; it is a terrific piece of Pipe Band history.

Scotch College currently has three bands – the A Team, the Full Pipe Band and the Middle School Pipe Band which forms part of a Development Pipe Band. 

The Pipe Band provides regular music for the weekly school assembly parades and devotes considerable leisure time to public performances. It regularly competes in competitions locally and abroad. Individuals can compete in solo competitions at all levels, starting at Novice Grade through to A Grade.


March Out 2023

Our history

In 1947, the then Headmaster of Scotch College, Dr Maxwell keys, commented that "the school at which I was very interested in Christchurch, St Andrews College, had a wonderful pipe band. I was amazed to find that Scotch didn't have a pipe band, so in my first year, I set about raising funds for this and had it operating in the second year."

The Scotch College Pipe Band paraded with eight pipers and five drummers for the first time. The piping was of a high standard right from the start under the tuition of Pipe Major Lewis MacLennan, who returned in 1958, having been awarded the British Empire Medal for his work with the pipes and drums of the Pacific Islands Regiment, to teach the pipes at Scotch for another 20 years.

The band has competed with distinction in Western Australia over the years and many of its members have had significant success in solo competitions, both piping and drumming. 

The Scotch College Pipe Band, now numbering over 70 players, undertakes many public and charity performances each year and enjoys well-earned respect and popularity both in and out of the College. 

Along your journey, mate, please take up the Bagpipes. You'll regret it when you're older. Or, at the very least, every time you hear the Pipe band playing, promise me you will listen closely, not just to the music but also to the pride pulsating through your veins. Those pipes, they are the College's voice and they are world-class.

– 2019 Captain of School, Harry Gilchrist

Scotch College has played at many local and international sporting events such as the Australian vs All Black Rugby Union at the WACA, Western Force and the Fremantle Dockers.

The Pipe Band has a proud history of international travel, having toured Scotland in 1997 and 2004, including a performance in Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt in Northern France for ANZAC Day. 

It has participated in numerous International Tattoos, including the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax Canada, the Virginia International Tattoo in the United States, and Switzerland's Basel Tattoo.

The pipe band has twice performed at the world-renowned Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2015 and 2018.


March Out 2023

Becoming a member

In November each year, the Pipe Band calls for expressions of interest, offering individual applicants the opportunity to learn the bagpipes in Years 7–10 and drums in Years 8–10. 

The Pipe Band caters for everyone regardless of their level of experience. All students are strongly encouraged to apply, including any Senior School students who have come to the school late or have the available time to commit to learning the bagpipes or drums.

Lessons commence at the start of the year and will be conducted initially in groups of up to three boys, with one 30 minute lesson per week, within school time and rotating throughout the term. Like all music tuition, lessons take place during classes and students are expected to speak with their teacher afterwards to cover anything they have missed.  

Demand for tuition places is likely to be high, and as such, boys not meeting the punctuality or practice commitments could lose their place in the programme.

Get in touch

For all general enquiries and band information, please contact Pipe Band Master, Craig Bailey at craig.bailey@scotch.wa.edu.au or +61 8 9383 6845