Moree Caledonian Society Pipes and Drums have had great success over the past month, achieving second place at the 2019 Queensland Pipe Band Championships, followed by another two second places at the Aberdeen Highland Gathering.
The band travelled to Ipswich on Saturday, June 22 to compete in the 2019 Queensland Pipe Band Championships - their first championship competition.
"It was obvious the nerves were high with the drum sticks tapping away on the practice pads, the fingers moving on the chanters and the tenors' sticks waving in the air. But the excitement of such a large competition far outweighed the nerves," Moree Caledonian Society Pipes and Drums' Sam Cosgrove said.
The following day, the band headed to the Ipswich Turf Club to compete in grade 4B and up a grade in 4A. Both grades required the band to perform two sets of tunes.
First up, the band performed in grade 4B with the medley set, consisting of tunes Moonstar, Tripping up the Stairs, Macrimmon's Sweetheart, Devil in the Kitchen and Jaffa Club. Immediately following this set was the 4B march set of tunes Brown-Haired Maiden, Teribus, High-Road to Gairloch and Jenny's Bawbee. This competition saw the band compete against City of Ipswich, Brisbane Boys College, Sunshine Coast and City of Brisbane.
The band managed to receive a second place silver cup in the 4B section, while the pipers blew away the field, winning three firsts and one second placing in this section.
Next up was the 4A competition, which saw the Moree band compete against top bands from City of Ipswich, Gold Coast Tweed, BBC Old Collegians, Murrumba, Brisbane Boys College and City of Brisbane. The MSR bracket consisted of tunes, Duncan McInnes, Aspen Bank and Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree as well as performing the same medley bracket from before.
"In an incredibly tough competition it would have been an incredible outcome for the band to place, however the dream of placing in grade 4A was not to be this time," Cosgrove said.
However, the pipers themselves earned a second place for their skills and effort from one judge.
"With many of the mentors and tutors being amongst the other bands, and competing a grade higher, this achievement is incredible for pipe major Tim Tesoriero and the rest of the pipers," Cosgrove said.
"This incredible and unexpected result has not come without effort. The competition band holds normal practice every Tuesday night which often runs for up to three hours, they met for multiple extra weekend practices, some members travelling from other towns to participate, as well as the practice videos most members send to their tutors weekly."
This competition saw 13-year-old Olivia Turner competing on the pipes for the first time, new members Rob and Travis O'Brien competing on the pipes for the first time and veteran member Zeena Tesoriero switching instruments from the tenor drum to the snare drum and competing on it for the first time.
"Despite all of these being wonderful achievements, little will surpass the effort from Claudia Turner who learnt the tenor drum within five to six weeks in order to compete with the band," Cosgrove said.
"With little to no experience in music, Claudia showed extreme determination, along with tutors Ally and Zeena, to be ready in time to compete."
The news of the little regional band from Moree placing at the QLD Championships has blown up with the Facebook post reaching more than 8000 people and was shared by pipe bands and piping associations all over the world.
Following the QLD championships, the band participated in the Aberdeen Highland Gathering on Saturday, July 6 when they not only entered and competed as a whole, but they also entered two quintet teams. This is the first time the band has had enough numbers to be able to enter two teams.
Competing against 12 bands, Moree once again came away with second place - the very first time, in all the years Moree has competed at Aberdeen, that the band has placed.
Later that evening, the two quintet teams competed. The first was a brand new group of members who have never competed together before. Piper Michael Madsen led the quintet, with pipers Olivia Turner and Jack McCudden, who both performed in their first quintet. These pipers were accompanied by snare drummer Zeena Tesoriero and tenor drummer Sam Cosgrove.
"Unfortunately this first-time quintet team didn't place, but performed well and did the band very proud," Cosgrove said.
The second quintet team to perform were the experienced and well-rounded group led by pipe major Tim Tesoriero. He was accompanied by pipers Andrew Mack and Ben Hunt, snare drummer Lauren Hunt and bass drummer Ally Hunt.
They ended up placing second from seven bands, being narrowly beaten by The Miners.
"With the best performance of the bands' medley bracket ever delivered by Moree, the rest of the band were on their feet cheering," Cosgrove said.
After such an amazing year full of second places, the band is now considering attending NSW championships later in the year in Gosford.
Moree Caledonian Pipes and Drums would like to thank Andrew and Reynolds & Fogarty for getting the band to and from Ipswich safely. They'd also like to thanks Adrian and Matt from Bellingen for their help in Ipswich.