Colmcille pipe band ready for world championships in Glasgow

The Colmcille Pipe Band in action. (1907MM25)
The Colmcille Pipe Band in action. (1907MM25)

Derry’s Colmcille Pipe Band are getting ready to compete at the prestigious world championships in Glasgow next month.

The band will be competing in the competition, which attracts bands from across the world, for the 15th successive year.

Based in the Galliagh area of the city, the band practises in St Joseph’s parish hall each week and will be a familiar sight to many thanks to their appearances at local festivals and events.

Danielle McCartney from the band said all the members are looking forward to the competition in August.

“It is always a great occasion and it gives us the chance to compete against some of the best pipe bands around. This is the 15th year the band have played in the competition so everyone is looking forward to travelling over to Glasgow and performing.

“The first competition is on the Saturday morning and the final is on the Saturday afternoon so hopefully we can make it through to that,” she said.

The band compete in the 3B category of the competition, which is open to all pipe bands.

“The band has 19 playing members as well as a couple of others who help out so it will be a big event for us. We meet up every Tuesday and Friday in St Joseph’s parish hall to practise and I’d imagine we might be fitting in a few extra practises before then to get ready for the competition,” she said.

The Colmcille Pipe Band was formed 25 years ago in the city and has hundreds of members through the decades.

“I joined the band four years ago. I got involved through my boyfriend who is the pipe major. His father, Brian Hassan, is a founder member of the band and has been involved for 35 years. I was always at the practises so then I just decided to join the band as well. It is a real family affair for Brian as he has five sons and one daughter involved in playing with the band,” she explained.

Danielle also said that the City of Culture celebrations have given the band many more opportunities to play in Derry. “We have been playing at a few of the City of Culture events and it has been great to get more chances to play locally. Playing at event is kind of a better practise for the world championships because it gives the band members an opportunity to get used to playing in front of people. Having people watching you is good for getting rid of the nerves,” she said.

The band also played at a showcase for NI Tourism in Belfast. “We were asked to play at the Waterfront Hall and we thought we would be playing in the lobby as people arrived but I couldn’t believe it when we were asked to play on the main stage.

“It was a great experience for the band to play to such a big audience at an event like that,” she said.