Ross Michael Wortley
Ross began learning the bagpipes at Prep, taught by Ross Hoole (Pipe Major in 2007), and such was his progress that he played in the College band for the first time while still at Prep – the first, and only, bandsman ever to achieve this. He has thus already served nearly five years in the band. Over the years he has had remarkable solo success. In particular, this year at the Junior Hundred Guineas competition he was placed second in the junior Piobaireachd and played in the open Senior Hundred Guineas, he was just out of the prize list in the Piobaireachd, coming fifth. Competing in both the junior and in the senior events in the same contest is rare and distinctive. The Senior event is far more demanding in repertoire, and playing in both on the same day is also something of an endurance test! Ross is clearly one of the most outstanding junior pipers in the country at present, and the level of junior piping in the country is, arguably, the highest it has ever been.
Ross was awarded Colours in 2013, while only in Grade 10, a remarkable achievement. Only two other College boys have achieved Colours for Pipe Band in Grade 10 since the awards began in 1986. This is partly the result of having started earlier than most College pipers, but is also mainly the result of exceptional hard work and dedication. Not only is his skill level and technique of the highest order, but his repertoire of tunes is extensive, and his ability to play really complex tunes is extraordinary.
His contribution to the band has been excellent. He is a very dedicated and enthusiastic member of the band who, in 2014, being unable to play the pipes, devoted himself to learning the skills needed as Drum Major and led the band in this role in the Remembrance Day Parade. He was appointed Pipe Major the following day! As Pipe Major this year he has been outstanding, and his ability to control the tempos and the difficult breaks from one tune into another in the competitions has been remarkable. Any experienced Pipe Major will agree that getting the breaks right is both difficult and nerve-racking. His calmness and accuracy during the band’s performances was a major factor in the band’s recent success at the South Coast Highland Gathering.
For the past two years he has had the singular distinction of playing with the 1 Medical Battalion Pipe Band from Durban, one of South Africa’s top pipe bands.
Last year, Ross was invited to join the National Youth Pipe Band, but distance, expense, and all his other commitments made this impossible.
We have no doubt that Ross will continue to bring great credit to his school through his contribution to piping in the future. He has made a huge contribution to the Pipe Band over the last five years, and is a very worthy recipient of Pipe Band Honours.
Mr CI Terry
8 May 2015