Ken Longworth: Scottish spectacular

THE Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have hit the headlines on many occasions, with their music topping pop charts and winning prestigious prizes.

And they have been popular with audiences around the world, selling out shows on tours.

PARADE READY: Catch the Royal Scots Dragoon Pipes and Drums at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on Saturday, October 22, at 7.30pm.

PARADE READY: Catch the Royal Scots Dragoon Pipes and Drums at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on Saturday, October 22, at 7.30pm.

The success of the Royal Scots Dragoon Pipes and Drums is all the more remarkable given that they have to fit performing around their military duties.

The pipers and drummers are on an Australian tour to 39 venues that will include a performance at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on Saturday, October 22, at 7.30pm.

The band manager, Captain Alexander Stewart, notes that the program will include a mix of traditional and more modern numbers.

The 24 musicians, singers and dancers will be clad in Royal Stewart tartan, which is the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II, and they will have traditional feather bonnets as headwear.

Their most famous piece is Amazing Grace, which reached number one in the charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. The concert will feature Amazing GraceBraveheart TrilogyTitanic (theme), Last of the Mohicans (theme), Soldier Soldier (theme) and many more.

The Pipes and Drums unit was formed in 1946, as part of a different military team, with the amalgamation of that troop with two others in 1971 leading to the military unit’s present name.

The pipers and drummers recording of Amazing Grace in 1972 sold over 7million copies. Amazing Grace was also recorded, with an orchestra in the background, for an album called Spirit of the Glen: Journey, that topped British album sales for 14 weeks and won the 2009 Classical Brits Award. 

Captain Stewart said the success of the album was all the more remarkable given that some of the tracks were recorded while the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards were in Iraq.

“It takes a lot of commitment on the part of the guys to be part of the Pipes and Drum Unit because it’s a secondary role for them in the cavalry regiment,” he said.

Many of the performers learnt to sing and dance after joining the army.

The current band has been together for two years.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have a Hunter link. The 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers, an Australian Army Reserve unit established in 1948 and originally based in Muswellbrook, is one of several world-wide army units the Royal Scots are allied with. The unit’s regimental headquarters are now in Tamworth.

  • Tickets for the Royal Scots Dragoon Pipes and Drums show are $79.90 to $89.90. Book through Civic Ticketek, 4929 1977.
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