Drum roll for Kayleigh at Maclean Highland Gathering

Kayleigh Ellington from Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums band, winner of the novice snare drumming competition, being presented with her ribbon and award by Justine from the MacLean Highland Gathering committee.

NOVICE snare drummer Kayleigh Ellington, aged fifteen, won the ‘scholarship’ prize in the solo drumming competition at the Maclean Highland Gathering over the Easter weekend.

A band member of Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums and student at St John Paul College, this was Kayleigh’s first ever drumming competition, winning a scholarship towards her ongoing tuition.

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“The Coffs pipe band was ecstatic to hear Kayleigh’s name called out,” Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums band President Geoff Rogers told News Of The Area.

“A big cheer came from our group as we stood in the oval with the mass bands.

“Kayleigh has put a big effort into her practice under the tuition of the Drum Sergeant, Ivan Aleman, and has proven her dedicated work has paid off,” said Geoff.

This was the 119th Highland Gathering event in Maclean, a regular on the Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums calendar.

The event traditionally starts on the Friday evening of the long weekend, with bands marching in parade.

Leading this year’s turn out of 26 bands was the Maclean Pipe Band, followed by bands from Queensland and throughout NSW.

The NSW Highlanders band included players from Coffs Harbour.

“As is tradition, the town’s telegraph poles were covered in many tartans from throughout Scotland and the visitors had fun finding a tartan that was part of their family history.”

Saturday saw highland dancers gather for competitions, along with many highland games, including Toss the Caber, and strong man and woman events.

“The kilted race is always a fun event for the crowd in the grandstand to watch,” said Geoff.

“The finale of the day is that all bands come onto the oval and march up and down to the joy of the crowd, all playing the same tunes at one time.

“It’s always well run and a great event for the spectators.”

Many stores lined the lower part of Maclean showground during the event, selling souvenirs from Scotland.

Famous Australian kiltmaker Karen Manger from St Kilda Retail was there measuring up for kilts.

Karen has over 45 years of kilting experience, having completed her trade by going to Scotland and learning from the best on how to correctly pleat a kilt.

The bands competed in Grades 4A, 4B, Grade 3 and Grade 2, with many winners coming from Queensland.

The NSW Highlanders band came fourth in grade 4A and hope to improve as they prepare to travel to Scotland in August to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships.

As a band member Geoff will be competing in Scotland at the European Championships on Sunday 11 August and a week later at the Glasgow World Championships.

“It’s a very tough competition,” said Geoff, whose wife Dale is band manager and will also be on the Scottish trip.

Locally, Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums will lead the parade at Coffs Harbour Show on Saturday 27 April.

“Another big Scottish event in the area is the Bonnie Wingham weekend, held in the main oval in Wingham on Saturday 1 June.

“Lots of bands come along, with Scottish stores, medieval displays and highland dancers,” he said.

The Coffs Coast Pipes and Drums welcome new young members who would like to learn snare drumming or the bagpipes.

All tuition is free, for enquiries call Geoff Rogers on 0416 233 882.


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