Highland bands compete at annual gathering

Listen to the band: Drummer Peter Muir, of the Warrnambool and District Pipe Band, and pipier Stacey Riches play during the Ballarat Highland Gathering at Lake Wendouree. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTERVICTORIA’S highlandcommunity converged at Lake Wendouree on Saturday for the annual Ballarat HighlandGathering.

The competition is state pipe bands’ last opportunity to compete before the state championships held in Geelong next weekend.

The day was previously run by Royal South Street Eisteddfod and now by Federation University Australia Pipe Band.

There were about 15 teams competing from all over the state, including school bands from Scotch College, which won grade three and the juvenile section, and Haileybury, which won grade four.

The City of Whitehorse took out grade two and Moorabbin won grade one.

Federation University Australia Pipe Band president Tim Bodey said it was ‘‘an absolutely fantastic day’’ set on a beautiful backdrop of the lake.

“The highlight is always the all-in at the end of the day, where all musicians from the bands come together,” Mr Bodey said.

They played Scotland the Brave, one of eight songs all pipe bands know and play together at the end of their meets.

With about 20-25 musicians in each band, about 400 competitors played on the day, bringing their family members and supporters along.

Mr Bodey said there would have been about 800 spectators, plus another couple of hundred for the highland dancing competition.

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