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Piper Anna Smart is flying more than 11,000 miles to follow up a top recommendation.
The 18-year-old from New Zealand signed up for this year’s piping competition as part of the Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival – taking place this Bank Holiday weekend – after word spread to the other side of the world from musicians highly recommending the event.
Anna was just seven when she started piping in Inverkeithing, under Neil Cameron and the Inverkeithing High School Pipe Band, now known as West Fife Schools Pipe Band.
‘Nobody in my family played a musical instrument or had any affiliation to the piping world. I began piping because I saw a female bagpiper playing at a family function. I idolised her and the bagpipes in that very moment,’ said Anna.
After she moved to New Zealand aged 10, she carried on my piping through bands and solos.
‘Since moving to New Zealand and progressing through my piping I have had so many opportunities. For outsiders to the piping community, many would believe piping is just a pastime and a bit of fun, but I have had so many amazing travel opportunities and amazing things happen throughout my piping journey,’ added Anna.
Piping has taken her to Australia, Canada, America, throughout New Zealand, Scotland and now Oban.
Anna has also played at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, performed at Disneyland in 2014, featured in Piping Live’s Pipe Idol competition and has been involved with BBC Alba’s piping live show.
Anna continued: ‘I heard about Oban Festival through word of mouth, where other pipers have heavily recommended that I attend. I couldn’t pass up a competition like it.’
Festival organisers said: ‘This story will not be alien to many of the piping fraternity in Oban, but the festival should not be overlooked as an opportunity to receive feedback from the judges, meet fellow musicians and share a love of music and culture.’
Why not sign up for the Feis at the Festival on Sunday May 5 from 10am until 3pm at Oban High School. The cost is two classes for £7, or four classes for £10.
The Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival has developed into one of Scotland’s major cultural festivals with more than 1,100 participants taking part this year in 125 competition classes in 11 disciplines including piping, accordion, fiddle, clarsach, piano, recorder, singing, woodwind and brass, highland dancing and choreography.
Tickets are limited and are in great demand, call 07510 841198.
To see more, go to obanfestival.org