Pipes a-skirl, kilts a-swirl in city

Square transforms into little Scotland

Last updated 08:07 16/12/2013
Pipes
FAITH SUTHERLAND/FAIRFAX NZ
WARMING UP: Tommy Whittle of the Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band practices ahead of the band's performance a tthe 34th Jenny Mair Highland Square Day in Palmerston North.

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If the surfeit of kilts wasn't enough to alert the crowds to the Highland Square Day, then they surely couldn't miss the sound.

The 34th Jenny Mair Highland Square Day in Palmerston North on Saturday saw more than 20 Highland pipe bands, and scores of solo bagpipers, drummers and Highland dancers converge in the centre of town.

Manawatu Scottish Society of New Zealand chief Briar Hamilton said the competition was the first big one of the summer season for the bands, and a test for how their practising was getting on.

Overall, the quality was "very high" and the standard was on the rise, she said.

The top prize went to Canterbury Caledonian Society's Highland Pipe Band, with Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band No 1 in second place.

Both bands were ranked among the top 12 in the world, she said.

Having bands of that calibre in New Zealand was great for other bands coming through, as their expertise was filtered down in training, and it gave them something to aspire to.

Mrs Hamilton said the beauty of the bands was that they attracted people of all ages. They had a family atmosphere.

She'd been impressed with the support shown by people in the city at the weekend, who gathered around the competition circle to see the bands perform.

Joining the bands were dancers from the Thistle Caledonian Society, which was holding its North Island Championship.

The competition attracted 36 dancers from as far as Christchurch and Auckland.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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