With most of the world’s attention on the Grade 1 competitions at the World Pipe Band Championships, it can sometimes seem that nothing much else is going on at Glasgow Green. In truth, there are no fewer than 14 other separate contests happening all around the park.
Some say that there are only two true World Champions: the winner of the Grade 1 contest, and the winner of the Juvenile grade. Because only pipers and drummers aged 18 and younger can compete in Juvenile bands (except for the pipe-major, who can be an adult instructor), the grade is truly limited.
The Juvenile grade is one of Scotland’s greatest pipe band traditions. While there are “junior” bands around the world, it is really only Scotland that can produce enough qualified bands to make a fulsome competition at every championship. As a result, those outside of the UK may not have an appreciation for the depth of quality of the Juvenile grade.
The top bands in these competitions can – and occasionally do, when they are allowed to challenge up at smaller competitions – compete successfully at the Grade 2 level. With most of the members having started no more than four or five years previously, the achievement of these schools and communities to assemble such young talent is truly remarkable.
pipes|drums thinks the Juveniles deserve some attention. So, as in 2010 when we listened to and recorded the Grade 2 final, we committed much of the morning not to the Grade 1 Qualifier, but to these eight dedicated young Juvenile bands. The result is eight MSRs that we hope inspire you as much as they inspired us.