Hot on the heels of its extremely successful participation in the biggest ever Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney in October, the Warwick Thistle Pipe Band has been given yet another amazing opportunity: it has been invited to travel to Russia in April–May 2020 to participate in the two-week long Peace for World Festival.
The 2020 Peace for World Festival marks the 75th anniversary of peace in Europe after World War II, with the most monumental event being The March of the Immortal Regiment in Moscow on May 9. During the commemoration, up to one million Russians are expected to participate in this march, carrying portraits of their fallen ancestors, and 250 million people will watch the event on TV.
The Warwick Thistle Pipe Band is honoured to represent the Southern Downs and Australia when it participates in The March of the Immortal Regiment, in what willbe the biggest audience for which the band has ever played.
“We are thrilled to have this incredible opportunity as the only Australian band at the festival,” said Chris Donaldson, Warwick Thistle Pipe Band pipe major. “The REMT in Sydney was a great developmental experience for all band members, who range in age from 10 to over 80. In addition to learning new music and practicing marching drills ahead of the event, the Tattoo gave players the opportunity to tune up, play with and meet members of the international pipe bands. Those players going to Russia will be able to build on the Tattoo experience to further enhance their performance skills, with the full support of non-travelling band members.”
In addition to participating in The March of the Immortal Regiment, a key objective for the band’s tour of Russia is to engage in cross-cultural activities. The Warwick Thistle Pipe Band performances will give Russians the opportunity to interact with a group of Australians playing Scottish music, and band members will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time with Russian people and learn more about the country’s music, culture and traditions.
Participating band members are working hard to build their music repertoire, and their fitness. During the trip, the band will be expected to play in concerts of at least 45 minutes of non-repeated music and also to march and perform over distances of between 1km and 4km on most days. Over the coming months Warwick residents and visitors may see and hear the band marching around the Park Run track along the Condamine River, building their playing and marching stamina.
Supported by the Pipe Bands Association of Queensland (PBA Qld), the Warwick Thistle Pipe Band will join The Pipes and Drums of Christchurch City (New Zealand), the OzScot Dance Team (Australia) and the Lewis Merthyr Band (UK), among others, in Russia.
Andrew Roach, Chairman of PBA Qld Branch, said: “I’m extremely excited for the Warwick Thistle Pipe Band to have been invited to tour Russia in 2020. The band has shown extraordinary growth and development over the past 2-3 years. Pipe Bands are not always about competition and taking a band on such a unique opportunity as this tour will continue to develop Warwick Thistle Pipe Band into an important part of the Queensland Branch’s Pipe Band scene,” Roach continued. “I have no doubt they will have an exciting tour, make new friends, and experience things that they would never see on any normal Pipe Band Tour! I’m looking forward to hearing their stories upon return.”
The Warwick Thistle Pipe Band is following in the footsteps of pipe bands from Australia and other countries who have previously visited Russia to participate in similar events, including regimental pipe bands from Scotland, UK, Australia’s Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drums, and the Transvaal Scottish Pipes and Drums from South Africa.
Alexander Manfield, Vice-President, Warwick Thistle Pipe Band: 0401 846 445
Jane Macfarlane, Secretary, Warwick Thistle Pipe Band: 0439 077 700