Stuart Graham Hobson
Stuart began learning to play the bagpipes at Prep, taught by Ross Hoole, and from the start of his first year at College he was a band member, having worked very hard during the Christmas holidays before he got to College to learn the band repertoire.
He is a very talented piper and his progress has been rapid. His solo successes have been highly significant, and he has been placed in almost every solo competition in which he has played. Considering that the judging of solo piping is very subjective, this is remarkable. The two most important solo contests in which College pipers are able to participate are the South Coast Highland Gathering, and the Junior Hundred Guineas, as these attract most of the very top junior pipers. At the South Coast Highland Gathering in 2013, he won the Under 17 March in a large field, was placed third in the Silver Piobaireachd, and also third in the more demanding Gold Piobaireachd – an outstanding performance.
In 2014, he eclipsed his previous successes by winning the Junior Hundred Guineas competition, the National Under 19 Championship. Only one other College piper has achieved this while at school. This competition was judged by Mr Robert Wallace, then Principal of the College of Piping in Glasgow, who commented very favourably on the maturity of his playing. At the South Coast Highland Gathering last year he again achieved great success.
At the Junior Hundred Guineas this year he almost repeated his triumph of last year, winning the Piobaireachd event, and placing in the other events, which gave him the overall position of runner-up. The standard this year was exceptionally high. Stuart also played in the open competition, the Senior Hundred Guineas, and performed excellently in the Piobaireachd, coming fourth against the country’s top adult solo players.
This year at the recent South Coast Highland Gathering he once again placed in the Silver Piobaireachd, and in the Gold Piobaireachd, against several of the country’s top adult solo pipers.
Stuart was awarded Colours in 2013, which is outstanding for a Grade 10 boy. Only two other College boys have achieved Colours for Pipe Band in Grade 10 since the awards began in 1986. Stuart’s skill level and technique is of the highest order, and his repertoire is extensive.
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, Stuart was invited to join the National Youth Pipe Band, but distance, expense, and all his other commitments made this impossible.
Stuart, as Pipe Sergeant, has deputised on occasion for the Pipe Major with dedication and success, and his back-up and support are tangible. His enthusiasm and his technical ability are an example to the younger pipers, and his calmness in the competition arena is enviable – and contributes significantly to his competition success. There is no doubt that he is one of the very best pipers we have ever had at College over the past fifty years. He has a wonderful future ahead of him as a solo piper if he continues with his current dedication.
I have no doubt he 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 worthy recipient of Pipe Band Honours.
Mr CI Terry
8 May 2015