December 31, 2021

The 21st annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours


2021 Pipe Band of the Year

The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland

For the first time in the 21-year history of the pipes|drums New Year’s Honours, a non-competing band is our winner, and in 2021 the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland was emblematic of all that is good about our musical ensembles. Comprising the most talented and ambitious young pipers and drummers from around the country, the National Youth Pipe Band sets out to push our brightest to new levels of camaraderie and commitment through performance and community. Led by Steven Blake, and supported by instructors David Ross and David Henderson, the 120-plus members across Senior, Development and Junior groups are a veritable army of young talent, many of whom will go on to be great competitors, pipe band leaders, performers and recording artists. Free workshops; diversity-, equity- and inclusivity-minded; and community activism are just a few of the reasons why this is a group in tune with the times. In this year of non-competition, there is no better recipient of the 2021 Pipe Band of the Year award than the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.

Panellists’ comments:

  • The NYPBoS is keeping things fun and helping to keep our art going with the younger generation.
  • NYBPoS has been promoting the Scottish traditional music culture since 2002 by bringing together the very best national talent for an extensive modern program and performances in the traditional pipe band experience.
  • Continuing promotion of excellence and enjoyment among the next generation of pipe band stars.
  • Youth is our future. This organization continues to push the envelope and keep our hopes alive.  
  • The National Youth Band of Scotland delivers high quality entertainment, and produces the next generation of incredible musicians.
  • It must all be about youth. These kids are potentially losing important years of their lives with COVID and groups like the NYPB are vital for wellbeing and mental health
  • 2021 was another difficult year – it was really tough to get people back together after so much time off and keep people motivated with no competitions or other performance avenues open. The NYPBoS managed to keep a large body of young people motivated and active, and pulled together a great show for Piping Live even though restrictions meant they still couldn’t get together properly to do what they do. A round of applause for being able to adapt and give us all some much needed motivation.
  • In a year with few if any contests of note, the non-competitive NYPBoS stands alone more than ever. They’ve put on free workshops, held a concert for climate action, and offered paid commissions for concert pieces from five emerging composers (primarily non-pipers). The NYPBoS has reached out and made defined steps towards increasing diversity and inclusion of under-represented communities in traditional music. We often hear the platitude that these young pipers and drummers are the future of our art, but, along with their leadership, they are actively creating a future worth looking forward to.

Also nominated (alphabetical order) . . .

Canterbury Caledonian the winners of the only significant pipe band competition, the New Zealand Championship, were a reminder that standards can persist even under extreme challenges.

Peel Regional Police – the band, with its ongoing charitable work and extensive commitment to teaching, is a beacon of hope for a depleted Ontario scene.

Simon Fraser University – charitable, creative, committed, SFU is weathering the pandemic storm as well as any band in the world. Now in its fortieth year, the band is a benchmark of success.





Forgotten Password?