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Celebrations as Jim marks a milestone; Bagpipes enthusiast formed teaching band 21 years ago.

Byline: SHARON LIPTROTT

Four young lads chapped on Jim McConnachie's front door in Dumfries in 1998 and asked him to teach them the bagpipes.

It was the start of an institution - the Corberry Park Pipers - which is celebrating its 21st birthday milestone.

While Jim, who is now 83-yearsold, has no immediate plans to retire, he receives a lot of help and support these days from Corberry tutors Arron Gibson, Theo Pratt and Lani O'Neill.

And he is keen to keep the popular pipe band going for the town.

In the early days, Jim would teach his students at his home but when his lessons grew in popularity - along with demand for the band - they found a new headquarters in Heathhall Bowling Club, before moving to Locharbriggs Community Centre.

That became the base for a good few years and enabled more pupils to join to learn the bagpipes.

Corberry now practice at Summerhill Community Centre from 9.30am to noon on Saturday's and fortnightly on Tuesday's at St Andrew's RC Primary School from 6pm to 8pm.

Tutor and player, Arron Gibson said: "Around 75 pupils have started off their piping careers under the tuition of Jim McConnachie at Corberry. Over the years, Jim's pupils have won lots of prizes in solo piping competitions all over the country from our own home town to as far away as Wick.

"Corberry are regulars at the Annual Guid Nychburris Parade and Beating Retreat and play in a similar parade at Wigton in Cumbria each year.

"Most recently we played at Drumlanrig Castle, uniting with other pipe bands. We turn out on parade with anything from 10 pipers to 17 pipers depending on who is available on the day."

Arron says Corberry is kept on its toes by a hard-working team of which Cherylene Dougan is chairman.

He said: "Senior members, Reece Wilson and Owen Dougan, are very good at assisting the teaching team. The group continues to expand and progress in its 21st year. We became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation on the August 12 and have made a CD with Jim for the anniversary. The CD's are available to purchase from Jim."

And they have kick-started celebrations for their milestone with an anniversary performance at the Midsteeple in Dumfries which was enjoyed by the public.

Arron said: "Many pupils keep an interest in the group and it was nice to meet up with some of them. Two members of the original group, Robert Gibb and Robert Adam, were able to attend the event much to the delight of current and former pipers.

"Our 21 year celebrations continue with a coffee morning on Saturday (September 14) from 10am to 1.30pm in Summerhill Community Centre which will have music, refreshments and a raffle."

The Corberry Park Pipers 21st Anniversary Concert is on Saturday, September 28, in Hightae Village Hall from 7pm.

They will be joined by Corberry and compere and singer John Caskie MBE, accordionist John Douglas, keyboard and fiddle Ann and Starr Murdy, and the Karen Little Dance Academy pupils. Entry is free by ticket only from Jim McConnachie on 01387 268717.

New players are welcome and can contact Corberry via their Facebook page or official website page: corberryparkpipers.com or email Arron at: arrongibson123@yahoo.com.

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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2019
Words:544
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