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Pipe Band

FeteKenABC 1928Formed in 1919 the Pipe Band is an integral part of the College’s heritage and Scottish tradition and remains an important part of the fabric of St Andrew’s. The St Andrew’s College Pipe Band is New Zealand’s premier Secondary School Pipe Band, which regularly wins National and Provincial Championships.

Individuals in the band are privately tutored in the College’s purpose built Askin Pipe Band Centre, by world-class international tutors who are the very best in their field. They are developed to be the best they can be, and are given opportunities to meet, learn and compete internationally.

Our Pipe Band is made up of approximately 140 students, who learn and develop their skills playing pipes and drums. Learners start from the age of seven years (boys and girls) learning the chanter (pipes) or the drum pad (side drum and tenor drum). They progress into the band playing the pipes and drums.

St Andrew’s College currently has two bands – the A band and B Band. Both bands perform at various College and community events and compete in Pipe Band Competitions. Individuals also compete in solo competitions at all levels starting at Novice grade through to A Grade.

The Pipe Band holds an annual concert called StAC Attack, which also showcases instrumentalists, vocalists and Highland dancers.

The Pipe Band travels to the New Zealand Championships each year, which are held at various cities throughout the country. Every two to three years we travel to Scotland to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships. One of our Pipe Band’s biggest highlights was winning the 2013 World Juvenile Championships.

Membership of our internationally-renowned Pipe Band is a special opportunity open to all students at the College, including Preparatory School students.

2017 Success

The St Andrew’s College A Band won the 2017 New Zealand Championship Juvenile Grade (under 18) for the 11th year in a row. It also won the 2017 Grade 2 New Zealand Championship for the fourth year in a year. The B Band was runners-up in the 2017 Grade 4A New Zealand Championships.

Both the A band and the B Band were 2017 Canterbury Provincial Champions for their grade.

Co-ordinator: Mr Graeme Bryce  pipeband@stac.school.nz

New Zealand’s Premier School Band

The St Andrew’s College Pipe Band is an autonomous department in itself and not structured as part of the College Music programme. The quality of our band is measured on its results and the delivery of its own goals. The St Andrew’s College Pipe Band takes pride in its competition results and has a proven track record of success both in New Zealand and on the world stage.

As a result, our tutoring staff are second to none with four full-time tutors – two each for piping and drumming. Richard Hawke who runs piping has won a gold medal for piping in Scotland – the pinnacle of solo piping. James Laughlin who runs drumming played in a former world champion band at Grade 1 level.

Although the St Andrew’s College Pipe Band is primarily a competing band, it is an integral part of College culture and ceremony and honours the Scottish principles. As well at the College community, the band also belongs to the national and global pipe band community.

The Pipe Band Caters for All Students

At St Andrew’s College, the Pipe Band caters for every student regardless of their prior experience. As part of our in-house tuition programme, we take students from the learner level though to the very top. The speed of progression is dependent on each student and there is opportunity for involvement in the school band through to competition level on the world stage. Over 100 students are involved with the ‘A’ and ‘B’ bands. Many of our Old Collegians go on to join pipe bands around the world, which is testament to the quality of our tutors. 

“The potential for progression is unlimited. Unlike many sports where there is a relatively short life span, piping and drumming doesn’t have that limitation. Without a doubt, a huge part of playing in the Pipe Band at St Andrew’s is having those lifelong friendships and enjoying shared camaraderie.”
Richard Hawke, Head of Piping

Year 9 Pipe Band Scholarship

The College offers scholarships to talented pipers and drummers from other schools to assist with their transition to St Andrew’s. Up to three scholarships each year are given, providing a tuition fee discount (usually 50 per cent) for five years. Application is by audition and interview. Click here for further information about the scholarship.

For further information

Please contact Pipe Band Manager, Graeme Bryce on pipeband@stac.school.nz or +64 3 940 4036.

"I love the strong Scottish traditions present at StAC. From Founders' Day Assembly to the constantly playing bagpipes, it makes me feel as though I am part of something special."
Student survey (2013)