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SPS Student Wins World Pipe Band Championships

SPS PhD student and Chrystal Macmillan scholar, Megan Canning, has succeeded in winning the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships as part of the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.

Megan first learned to pipe in her native California and, after moving to Scotland, played in the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band - the most successful band of recent times - for seven years. In 2012, Megan then moved to the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band where she has played pipes for the past three years.

"I find music to be a really satisfying break from an academic workload”, says Megan. “Playing pipes provides a much needed escape from the kind of focus required for my studies. Playing music is about feeling as well as thinking and that’s a nice contrast to what studying requires during the day."

As a student with a keen interest in gender development, and one of our Chrystal Macmillan scholars, Megan is also observant of the gender politics within the world of piping. Pipe bands are still largely dominated by men, and while more women than ever are now involved in piping and drumming, they still represent a clear minority and are virtually absent in leadership positions.

Speaking of the progressive attitude of her own band, Megan is keen to promote change: "I’m proud that Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band has more women members than any other Grade 1 band. I think it’s important to see women competing and contributing successfully at the top, and I'm proud to be part of that."

Describing her exhilaration on hearing the winners announced, she says:

"The rush of adrenaline and feeling of elation at winning the World Championships is a difficult feeling to describe. It’s a personal rush, but a group achievement, and there is great camaraderie in the exhilaration of the result being called out. So much of pipe bands is about control and discipline, but the feeling of winning is the total abandonment of that restraint!"

Photography: John Kelly


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