Belgiums top band
The Antwerp and District Pipe Band is one of the oldest pipe bands in Flanders, Belgium. In 1978, a group of young and enthusiastic pipers and drummers, formerly playing with Red Hackle Pipe Band (those days the only pipe band in Belgium) started their own band. Their goal was to achieve a higher musical level and to promote the Scottish music in its area. This new band, named Antwerp & District Pipe Band, was led by pipe major Ludo Thijssen and leading drummer Peter Vandeperre. Initially the MacKenzie tartan was worn, later the band changed to the Ancient MacKenzie tartan.
Only two years after the foundation, the band achieved a fourth place in grade 4 at one of World’s biggest pipe band competitions, the Cowal Games. This in turn resulted in promotion to grade 3. The band has played in competitions ever since.
Since 1988 Antwerp & District Pipe Band have played their competitions with a grade 4 and a grade 3 band, in order to maintain and improve the musical level. Pipe major Andrew Tierney took the reigns of the newly formed grade 4 band, which he brought to the top of grade 4. Two years later, he took over from Ludo and became the pipe major of the grade 3 band. Leading drummer is Jan De Beuckelaer. Between 1999 and 2003, the band has enjoyed a sponsorship by the German company Mühl and has been performing under the name Mühl Pipes & Drums. To match the company’s colours, the band wear the striking blue Glasgow Rangers FC tartan.
Over the past few years, the band became Continental Champions several times, and also reached the stage at some of the biggest competitions in Scotland and England. In 1994, during the band's 'Canada Tour', the band won the Montreal Highland Games, and got 2nd at the North American Championships. Nowadays, the band play at the top of grade 3A, under leadership of Pipe Major Thomas Kerkhof and Leading Drummer Robert Meijerink, and can concider themselves as one of the top pipe bands of the European Continent.
The Antwerp & District Pipe Band don't solely play in the competition circuit, with a lot of performances every year, the band has develloped great experience performing. Organisers of various events call Antwerp & District Pipe Band regularly. In the past, the band performed with Rod Steward and Mike Oldfield and the group was prominently present during the opening and closing ceremony of Antwerp '93. The Antwerp & District played at the Koning Boudewijn Stadium (football stadium), deSingel, Sportpaleis, Flanders Expo and a great number of other places in and outside Belgium. From Canada to Taiwan, from Kopenhagen to Paris.
In 1999, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary with a live concert in ‘deSingel’ in Antwerp. Special guests were the Polkemmet Pipe Band from Scotland (grade 1) and the event was visited by several hundred bagpipe-enthusiasts from Belgium and abroad. -
Created: 09/24/2005 ::
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