August 25, 2020

More moves at WAPOL, as band launches Youth Development program

The Grade 1 Western Australia Police Pipe Band is continuing to make changes following the appointment of Alisdair McLaren to the pipe-major role last January.

The band has recently appointed Chris MacDonald to pipe-sergeant and David Johnston is the new lead-drummer, and there is a new Officer in Charge.

The band is busy formulating an extensive new repertoire, in preparation for what they plan to be a major concert next year.

“At the moment we are currently developing a whole new concert repertoire with the aim of performing this in 2021, which will be the first time the band has stepped onto the concert stage since it’s Jubilee show in 2016,” McLaren said. “This show will hopefully be available to watch around the world as we are exploring options for making this accessible on-demand from our website.”

McLaren added that the band has recently welcomed as many as 18 new players from the Western Australia pipe band community.

The group this month announced the formation of the Western Australia Police Youth Development Pipe Band. McLaren said that it “will provide a platform for young people to learn either the pipes or drums from the complete beginner to the more advanced. Definitely exciting times ahead for our local scene.”

The recent announcement by Pipe Bands Western Australia that two in-person outdoor competitions will be held on October 4 in Armadale, Australia, and another in November created anticipation that the band might be ready to compete.

They have not ruled out participating in the events, but spokesperson Scott Hannah said it was unlikely. “WAPOL are permitted to compete in WA contests, but it is unlikely that we will compete at the upcoming Armadale Highland Gathering due to a recent change in management personnel. The band is planning on competing in future contests.”

“I can’t say when our next major competition will be at this point due to the current global pandemic, but our main focus now is engaging with the community as best we can providing a positive front line for the police force,” McLaren added.

Alisdair McLaren took over the band in April, returning to his native Australia after more than a decade in Scotland, working at the National Piping Centre and being a member of Grade 1 band Field Marshal Montgomery and Glasgow Police, the latter with which he was pipe-major for a few months.

While with the National Piping Centre he was the director of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, a program run by the Centre.

Currently the only Grade 1 band in Australia, the Western Australia Police hasn’t made an appearance at the World Pipe Band Championships for more than a decade but has been active with regular concerts, recordings and Australian competitions.

McLaren succeeded James Murray, who held the pipe-major post after eight years.



Western Australia re-starts in-person competitions

McLaren appointed pipe-major of WAPOL

Murray steps down as P-M of Grade 1 Western Australia Police
September 25, 2019

April 11 “Pre-Aussies” concert taken up by WAPOL
February 22, 2014

Murray leads WAPOL back to stage
February 28, 2013

Murray to move to Oz; Mathieson new Fife P-M
September 30, 2011




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