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Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band Centennial
Music Health Australia is following the history of pipe bands in Australia with interest after the success of the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band Centennial Project which involved researching, writing a book and celebrating the 100 year history of the band from 1909 - 2009. We welcome opportunities to assist bands in narrating their history and developing regional, statewide and national pipe band historical perspectives/publications.

Australian Pipe Band Championships are to be held in Ballarat, Victoria from 6-8 April, 2012. This is a great opportunity for whole families to participate in enjoying Scottish music heritage and culture.

Queensland Irish Festival events are to be held from 9-17 March, 2012, including St Patrick's Day celebrations.

The first hundred years of the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band: Mainstream or minority?

THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS OF THE IPSWICH THISTLE PIPE BAND: MAINSTREAM OR MINORITY presentation by Sandra Kirkwood at the International Association for the Study Popular Music (A&NZ branch) conference, held on 28-29 November, 2008 at Qld Conservatorium, Southbank, Brisbane.

This was a participatory action research project that sought to uncover the 100 year history of the band and future directions. The project was supported by a Regional Arts Development Grant from Arts Qld & Ipswich City Council that allowed the band to commission Sandra Kirkwood to assist the band with music history research and writing the book.

The result was "Turn of the Century: Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band 1909-2009,″ a unique book, that includes many personal stories written by band members and supporters.

Pipe Band 100 yearsMembers and supporters of the band were co-researchers who assisted in many ways including writing personal stories about their music experiences. They also formulated directions for the future of the band. Copies can be purchased through the band's website at www.ipswichthistle.com

The full article about the project was published in the International Association for the Study of Popular Music ANZ chapter, 2008 Conference Proceedings (see references below).

Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band Centennial Dinner 14 March, 2009
Photograph at the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band Centennial Dinner 14 March, 2009.

L-R: Pipe Corporal Brian May; Piper Alwyn Clarke; Her Excellency Govenor Penelope Wensley A.O.; Paul Pissasale, Mayor of Ipswich (band Patron); Pipe Major and band President, Donald MacSween.

Alwyn and Donald were awarded with golden chanters (purchased by band members), to recognise and celebrate that they have been band members for 53 years! Their first engagement with the band was on Australia Day, 1957. Brian, Alwyn and Donald are life members of the band. They have held various offices over the years, and are supported by friends and family, many of which are also members of the band.

Donald has served as the Pipe Major of Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band for 30 years. These are amazing achievements, and the success of the band is related to the dedication of the band members and supporters. Their service was recognised by the Govenor of Queensland and Mayor of Ipswich, at the Centennial Dinner celebrations. Ipswich City Council presented the band with a generous donation and a beautiful framed collage of photographs of the band's history.

This was a very interesting and rewarding project. The band had further Centennial celebrations through hosting the June 6-7, 2009 Queensland Pipe Band Championships Highland gathering in Limestone Park, Ipswich on Queensland Day, as a Q150 event.
Further details... about the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band.
Kirkwood, S. (2008) The First Hundred Years of the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band: A 'Community of Discovery' Approach to Participatory Action Research [online]. In: Strong, Catherine (Editor); Phillipov, Michelle (Editor). Stuck in the Middle: the Mainstream and its Discontents: Selected Proceedings of the 2008 IASPM-ANZ Conference. Auckland, N.Z.: International Association for the Study of Popular Music. 2008: 152-164.
Full text available through Informit database).

Article written by Sandra Kirkwood on 28 March, 2009; last updated 16 November, 2016.

© Sandra Kirkwood, 2008
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