Year 13 student competes at the New Zealand Pipeband Championships

In 2014, Josh Hirst (then in Year 7) was sitting in an assembly at school when the students were told to choose a musical instrument to play. Unsure why exactly he was drawn to the bagpipes, he made the decision then and there to pursue the instrument.

Now almost seven years later, he has just returned from competing at the New Zealand Pipeband Championships in Invercargill.

Josh first joined a pipeband in 2015 and started playing bagpipes with Manukau Pipeband. In 2017 he then joined City of Auckland Pipeband after making friends with some of the members at a summer school he attended held in Christchurch.

What Josh loves most about pipebands is the social aspect. He has made a number of friends of all ages and it is a competitive but inclusive and friendly community.

The New Zealand Pipeband Championships is a day of celebration, as some of the best bands from NZ, Australia and USA gather for two days to compete for the New Zealand title. For Josh, he was itching to get down to Invercargill and have an excellent weekend catching up with friends. He hoped to put on a fantastic performance with the Hamilton Caledonion Society out on the board on the Saturday.

A highlight for Josh at the championships was playing their medley on the board. He said “it was a pretty solid performance from everyone in the band”.

Asked if he’d like to compete again in the future, he said he couldn’t imagine not wanting to play at a national competition. He encourages others to pick up the instrument and says, “my advice for anyone considering picking up the bagpipes is that although it takes time and effort, if you are committed, it will be well worth it as it can become a life-long hobby.”

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March 18, 2020