New member newsletter

This is a copy of the newsletter handed to new prospective members that describes how the band is run.  If you want to join, come and see us on Mondays with no obligation.

Formed 1957

A member of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association

Registered Charity No 1134221

Pipe Major: Mr Ron Paterson

Welcome to the Reading Scottish Pipe Band!

Thank you for your interest in joining us. This newsletter is designed to help answer any questions you might have. We are a very friendly band, so if you have any further questions, please ask any member and they will do their best to help you.

We meet on Monday evenings at St Andrew’s Church Hall, London Road, Reading. Our practice nights are structured as follows:

7.15 – 7.45pm    Development band (Pipes and Drums) – this is an opportunity for learners to gain experience in playing with the band.
7.45 – 8.40pm     Tuition classes (you will be allocated a teacher and a group, based on your level and experience).
We welcome complete beginners on pipes and drums, as well as those who have different levels of competence.
8.40 – 9.00pm    Tea break
9.00 – 9.45pm     Whole band practice

You are very welcome to come along for a few sessions before deciding whether you would like to become a member of the band.

Is there a charge?

Members pay an annual subscription (currently £40) which is reviewed at our AGM in March each year. This covers our church hall rental and also the purchase of our uniforms and general running costs of the band. Tuition is provided free of charge.

Do I need to buy an instrument?

Pipers start learning on a practice chanter. Your teacher will be able to advise you about purchasing one of these. Pipers buy their own set of bagpipes whereas drummers play on instruments owned by the band. Your teacher will be able to advise you about purchasing and maintaining bagpipes.  Drummers buy their own sticks and practise pads – your teacher will be able to loan you one to start with and will be able to advise you how to purchase your own. As with any instrument, frequent practice is important to achieve progress, and regularly attending the teaching sessions on Monday evenings will enable you to progress more quickly.

What about uniform?

When your teacher has decided you are ready to play with the band on engagements you will be kitted out with a Number 1 and Number 2 uniform. Our Quartermaster (Laurence Quinn) will arrange this for you and help you familiarise yourself with the different items. The uniform remains the property of the band and you will need to agree to look after it and return it if you decide to leave. You will need to provide a pair of black lace-up shoes or ghillie brogues.

Do I get paid for attending engagements?

Members do not get paid for attending engagements, although they can claim travel expenses and usually get a drink on the band at the end! The fee for hiring the band goes towards our running costs, uniforms and band expenses.

Am I expected to commit to a required number of engagements?

We recognise that everyone has different availability and commitments outside of the band. We ask that uniformed members try to attend 50% of the booked engagements each year if possible. There is a sign-up spreadsheet on the website where you can indicate your availability for each engagement. Completing this in advance (even by putting “no”) is extremely helpful as it enables us to know what size band we are able to provide on each occasion. You can also find details of each engagement on the website. There will be a map and information about parking, start and finish times, performance details, length of marches etc.

What sort of engagements do you do?

We perform at a variety of engagements including Remembrance Days, fetes, carnivals, weddings, family celebrations, street collections, ship naming ceremonies, fireworks and country shows. We have played in different countries including France, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic and Belgium (where we played in Ypres at the Menin Gate ceremony). We have also played on stage with Andre Rieu and took part in the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012. We have a competition band who have played in major competitions including The Worlds in Glasgow.

How do I join?

To become a full member you will need to complete a membership form and sign a GDPR form. Once these have been handed to the band secretary (Linda Finch) you will be given log in details to the band website. Here you will find lots of helpful resources, training materials, details of engagements and members’ addresses and contact details.

If I have other questions, who can help me?

We are a friendly band and you will find lots of people willing to help you. These people have special responsibilities within the band:

Ron Paterson: Pipe Major

Karen Osman (Pipe Sergeant and responsible for subscriptions)

Graham Cochran (Drum Major, Engagements and Marketing Co-Ordinator)             

Gina McLellan (Drum Sergeant)

Alan Vaughan (Pipe Corporal and responsible for the website)

Bernie Aitken (Pipe Corporal)

Laurence Quinn (Quartermaster)

Richard Smith (Treasurer – responsible for expenses)

Linda Finch (secretary)

You are very welcome and we look forward to many happy years of you playing with us!