The skirl of pipes and the crack of snares greeted over 200 people today at The Reading Highland Gathering which took place at Reading Town Hall.
Presented by the IHS Reading Scottish Pipe Band, the festivities also included three sets from folk musician Hector Gilchrist, in addition to more musical delights courtesy of Wantage Silver Band and Reading-based Scottish dance band Craigevar. Dancing was also featured in the programme of events, with several appearances from the O’Gara Irish Dancers who interpreted pieces from the world famous “Lord Of The Dance” performance.
Speaking to Ron Paterson, Pipe Major with the IHS Reading Scottish Pipe Band, he said, “This is the fourth time we have held a Highland Gathering, so it’s a feature in our annual programme. Not many people of Reading know that we exist, so we want to let them know that we are here, and also for them to come and enjoy the music.”
The band are certainly busy during the year, competing in the Grade 4 category at various competitions around the country, but Ron prefers to focus on the coming together of musicians to create and enjoy Scottish pipe music.
“For me,” he added, “it’s not about the competitions; they help to keep the ability levels of our players up but it’s about getting out there and performing music. We’ve a busy year ahead this year too. We travel to Colchester in June for a competition and then up to Glasgow in August to take part in the World Championships. We’ve also got some overseas visits booked; Germany in June, France in July for the Bastille Day celebrations in Limoges and then the Czech Republic in August.”
Ron is always open to attracting new members too. The IHS Reading Scottish Pipe Band practice every Monday and Friday evening from 7pm onwards at St. Andrew’s URC Church on London Road, Reading. For more information about the band, log onto www.readingscottish.org. You can also follow them on their Facebook page at facebook.com/ReadingScottish.
Pictures: Lynda Bowyer