Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pipe Band at the Olympic Opening Ceremony

It was lovely to hear a pipe band at that incredible opening ceremony in Beijing, although I felt it would have been good to let us have even a brief glimpse of them.

They played several times with three brackets of marches. It shows the Chinese have impeccable musical taste .......

Old Angus


Old Angus said...

I have just heard from a friend of mine in Aberdeen that the pipe band was from Dundee, and the BBC presentation showed them on screen several times during the event.

Not a bad engagement one has to say.

Tanundapiper said...

from Bob Dunsire's forum:


There were 16 more Scots than expected at the Olympics on Friday in the shape of the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band.

Their appearance was a surprise even to their nearest and dearest... so how did an amateur Dundee band, whose members include a decorator, a fireman and a meat inspector, find themselves at the Olympics?

The band were initially contacted by Olympic officials in 2007 and were convinced that it was a practical joke. Piper Eddie Whighton said: “It seemed too good to be true but we looked into it a bit further and started to get excited.

“Not only were we chosen to represent the UK but the whole of Europe! Never in a million years would I have imagined that we would have an opportunity like this. It has been like winning the lottery.” he said.

It’s a first for Scotland too as this is the first time that a Scottish act have been chosen to represent Europe at the opening ceremonies. Pipe Major Richard Smith who has been playing for over thirty years said: “It is a great honour and a pleasure.. my only trouble has been selecting 16 members to play from our band of 26 – no easy task but I was a very popular man for a time!”

Supporting acts...

With the authenticity confirmed, the band were raring to go but it wasn’t going to be an easy – or affordable – ride.

“We are a registered charity and all of our players are volunteers. We didn’t even have a full set of uniforms never mind the funds to accommodate a trip to Beijing.” says Eddie, who has played with the band for 7 years. “We got busy writing off to everyone we could think of for support and were amazed at the response. People we so keen to help and really pulled out all the stops for us.”

One such supporter was White Space Solutions, the multimedia and design agency based in Abertay University’s ground breaking White Space resource.

Marketing & Business Development Manger Grant Alexander offered the band the use of the University’s fully equipped recording studio.

“We absolutely couldn’t have done this without White Space Solutions. We needed to be able to provide professional recordings of our set and this would have cost us a small fortune.” said Richard.

Grant said: “We are involved in a number of projects which are aimed at supporting local communities but this has definitely been a highlight for both White Space staff and Abertay students who were able to assist with the recording which was a real test of their skills.”

The Gannochy Trust provided a generous contribution of £10,000 which funded new ceremonial outfits and went a great way in helping the band get to Beijing. Many local suppliers and businesses pulled out all the stops to kit the band out for Beijing.

Keeping it under your feather bonnet...

Due to strict confidentiality restrictions the band and their supporters were banned from making any comments prior to the event which meant that even family members were surprised to see them take the stage on Friday afternoon!

The Band, who range in age from 13-63, describe themselves as focusing on friendship, family and having fun and features two husband and wife teams and a grandfather and grandson. Drummer Sharon Wighton said “We don’t place the emphasis on competition we just like to have a good time. We are a teaching band whose roots lie in skills being passed through generations. ”

Eddie said: “Since our arrival in Beijing we have all had a fantastic time. The city is amazing and the people are fantastic. We can see the average person on the street is very proud to be hosting the games and they have made us very welcome.

“We have been practising every day and have had the full dress rehearsals inside the National Stadium (The Bird Cage). The rehearsals have taken place in front of tens of thousands of people as the stadium has been three quarters full each time and they have ran through the full version of the opening ceremony.

“What we have seen of the Opening Ceremony has been spectacular. The amount of people involved is staggering. We are very excited about the Opening night and we are very proud and honoured to be here representing Scotland at the Olympics as well as being officially here to represent the European Continent.”


Issued by Vicki White, Communications Officer Abertay University

Tel: 01382 308935 Mob: 07837 250284 E-mail:

CEPB member said...

Two member of the band (Terrance and Jeremy) could even recognise three of the tunes. Bonnie Galloway, Rowan Tree, Scotland the Brave. And there is no getting past Angus when there is something Scottish happening he is there.