SOUND THE PIPES: Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band players Alwyn Clarke and Don MacSween (right).
SOUND THE PIPES: Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band players Alwyn Clarke and Don MacSween (right). David Nielsen

Strike up the band

LIMESTONE Park will become a sea of tartan, drowned in the sound of a thousand pipes, when Ipswich hosts the Queensland Pipe Band Championships this Saturday.

It will be the second consecutive year that Ipswich has hosted the contest, which attracts players from northern NSW as well as Queensland.

The championships will start off at 8am with the solo pipe and drum sections, before full band competition gets under way about noon.

Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band members Don MacSween and Alwyn Clarke said the city was lucky to host the event again this year, due to the original host band pulling out.

"We've got a great venue for it here at Limestone Park," Mr MacSween said.

"There will be about 18 bands and hundreds of soloists who come from all over Queensland and northern NSW - it's going to be huge."

Although the bagpipes have been a popular instrument throughout Europe for many years, the majority of people who play them in Queensland are firmly influenced by the Scottish style.

Many of Ipswich's highland style players over the years have boasted Scottish or Irish heritage, while some adapt.

Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band has been around since 1909 and has won several state and national titles in its time.

It currently boasts about 14 playing members.

"I just love playing," Scottish-born Mr MacSween said.

Entry to the state championships in Ipswich this Saturday is free.


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