Inverkeithing bridging to future
Just across the bridges that span the Firth of Forth is the town of Inverkeithing, Fife, a village rich in piping history with favourite sons like Alan Russell, Brian Lamond and Christy Kelly playing at world-class solo levels and leading pipe bands throughout their careers.
The Royal Burgh of Inverkeithing Pipe Band (formerly Inverkeithing & District) was once a presence in Grade 2, but over the last few years has fallen out of competitive form. The band is now hoping to rebuild, encouraging applications of interest from prospective pipe-majors and, as with most bands, drummers.
With a nucleus of seven pipers and a few drummers doing mainly gala day parades and other engagements, the band hopes that a new pipe-major will inject life back into the group so that the band can resume competing in Grade 4B and work its way up the ranks.
Royal Burgh of Inverkeithing last competed in 2013, and going back to 2003, as Inverkeithing & District in Grade 3A under Pipe-Major Bill Stephen. As with many local bands in Scotland, a core group came from one family, and when one person left others followed, and the cascading effect resulted in going into competitive mothballing.
In the 1980s and ’90s, Inverkeithing & District reached Grade 2 under Alan Russell, who continues today as a top tier solo piper on the UK circuit. The organization also had a successful teaching program and its Novice Juvenile band to the Juvenile grade, and famously once competed agisnt the Grade 2 band at the Inverkeithing Highland Games. Adjudicator Bob Shepherd placed the Juvenile band ahead of the Grade 2 band in piping, which is looked back on by the organization as “the beginning of the end for both bands.”