The swirl of the kilts and sound of the pipes
Waikaraka Park will be echoing to the sounds of the Highlands on February 28th. The Auckland Centre Pipe Bands’ Championship is being held at the park for the very first time, with bands from Rotorua to the Far North competing.
The day will start mid-morning with street marches at the southern end of Captain Springs Road, and after lunch the technical performances will be held in front of the Waikaraka Park Pavilion. The most technical event is the MSR (March, Strathspey & Reel: ‘Strathspey’ is the style of music used for the Highland Fling dances). Finally there will be a freestyle medley, where the bands play tunes of their own choosing.
The championships have come to Onehunga as it is the turn of the local City of Sails Pipe Band to host it. Band secretary,Jane Murray, says with the band being based on Captain Springs Road, Waikaraka Park was the obvious choice. Not just because it’s next door, but also because it is well clear of any residential areas, so “we can make as much noise as we want.”
Jane says the band is also very grateful for the support of the Onehunga Combined Sports Trust, who offered the use of their Pavilion, and Move Logistics who have allowed the bands to use part of their facility for the street marches.
She says spectators are more than welcome, and adds that the most spectacular part of the day will be the Drum Majors’ competition during the marches. Drum Majors lead the bands with their heavy ceremonial Maces, which are frequently tossed into the air and, hopefully, caught again. According to Jane, if a Drum Major botches their throw it can also ruin the band’s performance, especially if the front rows are forced to run for cover.
The other major highlight will be the finale at around 3.30pm, when there will be a performance by the massed bands.
The City of Sails Band is also hopeful that it will not be a one-off event. Jane says they are keen to make Waikaraka Park the permanent home of the championship, and possibly even host the Nationals in the future.