PIPES AND DRUMS: Pipes and Drums Auxiliary



Considered by many to represent the ‘soul’ of the school, the Scotch College Pipes and Drums band is beloved by the entire Scotch Family and is one of the most readily recognisable symbols of Scotch College. Established in 1946, the band is one of the earliest and strongest School Pipe Bands in Australia. The band traces back to the end of the Second World War when the Victorian Scottish Regiment donated their instruments to the school.

The Pipes and Drums Auxiliary was set up in the 1980s to support and encourage members both within the band and individually, raise funds, provide a strong community and promote the good work of
the band, as well as have fun along the way.

In 2010 the band won the ‘Juvenile’ division at the two-yearly Australian Championships, and won Victorian Championships in 2011 in both Juvenile and Grade 3 (adult band) divisions.
The Pipes and Drums Scotch College Melbourne - A History written by Mr Stephen Mathews and Dr David Kemp traces the history of the band in reference to the broader Melbourne Scottish heritage and Scotch College influences. Further information on the book is avail- able on the Scotch College Pipes and Drums Website at, and it can be purchased from the School Accounts Office.


Joining the Pipes and Drums is an exciting way to experience a musical activity that is uniquely ‘Scotch’. The band occupies a prominent and colourful pride of place within the school community, and is
very popular with the boys.

The band performs music ranging from traditional Scottish Pipe Band music through to more modern dance music, Celtic Fusion and rock.
Any Scotch College student may begin learning piping or drumming (snare/side, tenor or bass drum) at any Year Level.

Band members range from Year 7 to 12, providing a unique cross-age group activity. The Pipe House at lunchtimes is a friendly, relaxed, club-like bonus to learners achieving band member status.
Costs are minimised by the supplied uniforms loaned to students (except socks and white shirt) at a modest levy, by instrument hire and reasonable tuition fees. The Auxiliary also reduces costs by fundraising for equipment, uniforms, and trip subsidies. Tuition is held at the same time each week to minimise class disruptions.

All up-coming activities are published monthly in Torch Newsletter. Additionally the full calendar year is available to members logged onto the secure Scotch College Pipes and Drums website at

Pipe Band Camp: Held yearly in late January at Scotch at Cowes, the camp enables band members of all ages to bond before the competition season starts in earnest. The camp culminates in a concert either at Cowes Night Market or impromptu on the beach. Supporters are welcome to cheer the band on.

Interstate and Overseas trips: Interstate and/or Overseas trips are regularly held to provide band members with unique experiences. Previous trips include New Zealand and Caloundra QLD. A Europe trip is planned for 2013. The Auxiliary supports the band, teachers and tutors by providing on-the-ground support where possible and providing subsidies.

Highland Gatherings: The competition season runs on weekends and commences in early December at Daylesford Highland Gathering, then recommences from February until April at Berwick, Ringwood, Ballarat, Geelong and Keysborough (Haileybury College). The band competes in two divisions (Juveniles – school level, and Grade 3 – adult band level … Grade 1 is international standard). The auxiliary supports the band on these days by providing marquees, morn- ing and afternoon tea, barbecue lunches, and assisting the Drum Major in ensuring band members’ dress requirements are acceptable prior to judging. Supporters also come just to view and enjoy the unique spectacle of the Highland Gathering.

Solo Piping, Drumming and Mini-Band Competitions: All band members are encouraged to participate in solo competitions (some having cash prizes). The Solo Drumming season aligns to the Band competition season; the Solo Piping season is held from March through to September. The Scotch Mini-Band competition is held in October. The Auxiliary actively promotes these events and provides refreshments at Scotch College–hosted events.

Individual Opportunities: Senior band members are offered additional opportunities including performing at Year 6 and 12 Valedictory Dinners, on Remembrance Day, at sporting events, at private functions (for cash) and at community centres.

ANZAC Day March: The band is a highly recognisable presence at the yearly march down Swanston Street to the Shrine of Remembrance. Supporters cheer the band on.

Cadet Tattoo, Foundation Day Concert and Family Day: The band is a highly anticipated performer at school activities.

Charity Concert: Every two years the band teams up with other Pipes and Drums bands to fundraise for a worthy charity. In 2011 al- most $3,000 was raised for Peter MacCallum Cancer Research. The auxiliary actively promotes the concert and provides refreshments on the night.

Fundraising Activities: The Auxiliary subsidises trips for the band and financially supports the band where needed for uniforms and equipment. Fundraising activities have varied from selling gourmet Christmas fare and wine, to holding a plant stall on Family Day and holding Sausage Sizzles.

Auxiliary meetings and AGM: The Annual General Meeting is held in October. Four Committee Meetings are spread throughout the year and Pipes and Drums community members are encouraged to at- tend them.


All ‘Main Activities’ events provide opportunities for parents and band members alike to socialise in relaxed, informal settings. Additionally, the auxiliary hosts the following events:

Social Activities: The Auxiliary generally organises at least one social activity for families during the year; past events include Curry Nights, Curling and ‘Welcome’ Evening Barbecues.

Céilidh: The Pipes and Drums year culminates at a relaxed and informal social gathering (“Céilidh”) where the boys at all abilities perform, Year 12 boys are celebrated, new band office bearers are welcomed, and retiring auxiliary members are thanked.


To find out more information, have a look at our website at or do a search on YouTube
or Facebook for posts.
To become a band member: Contact the Teacher in Charge, via
To become part of the Pipes and Drums Community and receive up- ates and login access to our website, chat to one of the committee members listed at the back of this booklet or send an email to or
Or … Look us up in Torch Newsletter and come to one of our events or a Highland Gathering.