Sponsorship & Award Feedback

The following feedback was received from those who received a sponsorship award from the Trust.  If you’re interested in sponsorship, please find out how to get funded.  Our sub-group carefully considers all submissions.

Dunkeld & Birnam Traditional Youth Music Group

DB Trad Group is a new youth music group formed in spring 2023. We run classes in fiddle and accordion as well as two trad bands with an age range of P5 – S6 in Dunkeld and Birnam and surrounding rural areas. Our vision was to be able to provide the opportunity for young traditional players in the area to get together and play in groups, and to encourage and continue our local musical heritage, and for this to be completely accessible to all by keeping it free for our members. The funding we received from The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has made all the difference in helping us to provide this for our young community. Musically, our members have developed skills in playing in groups, learned lots of new tunes and taken part in working out arrangements, all of which have been taken to the stage. New friendships have been formed and all the fun and enjoyment of playing music has been discovered.

Submitted by:Karys Watt
Year of Award:2023

Dundee City Council Instrumental Music Service

On behalf of Dundee City Council Instrumental Music Service, I am contacting you to express our sincere thanks for you donation towards our recent Wurzburg Trip. Aside from the fact that the young people all had a fantastic experience, we also managed with your help to make the trip entirely cost neutral for every participant which enabled everyone to take part.

I have selected some examples of the feedback received from pupils and parents which highlight what this trip has meant to them and have also included some photos and links of the trip which go beyond any description in words.


“The Stramu trip was truly a formative one for Chloe, she genuinely had the time of her life and I’d like to pass massive thanks to all of the staff members and people involved in organising the trip. It was really fantastic for us to also be able to see the kids perform on the live stream and she loved playing at the event and soaking up the culture of the event as well as the sightseeing.

Trips like this are where lifelong friendships and core memories are formed and it is an absolute credit to everyone involved that the event was so successful. I honestly don’t have enough superlatives for how well organised and how happy Chloe was to be part of such a great adventure.”


“My son absolutely loved the trip and it was an amazing experience for him. He is quite a quiet person and I was worried but I needn’t have been as I feel the whole experience was beneficial to him. he made great friends and really came out his shell. He totally loved the performing and the pipeband really went down well and just an amazing time was had in general. I cannot thank the organisers enough for the memories and experience my son had.”


“My son loved the trip, he is Autistic and struggles socially so we were a little anxious about it. He came back full of stories about the trip and with a new found confidence and willingness to try new things and push forward with his music. DCC Music Service did a brilliant job going above and beyond to organise this opportunity and giving up so much of their free time to make the trip happen and taking great care of the students in their care. I would recommend the trip to any parent considering it if it happens again.

It was a brilliant experience for him and for all the young people who had the opportunity to go. It was brilliantly organised and the Dundee Music Service put so much into it to make it the success that it was. The Dundee schools rock band has been one of the key formative experiences for our son during the last few years, and the Würzburg trip was the absolute highlight that he will never forget.”


“Our daughter Sophie was apprehensive prior to going on trip. She wasn’t sure what to expect or if she would enjoy it. Upon her return, it was obvious that she had been on a brilliant trip. Her group played in front of enthusiastic crowds throughout and were warmly received. She had lots of opportunities to practice playing violin and feels she has improved as a result. She also made some great new friends whom she now sees on a regular basis. These were friends from different schools and has helped broaden her social scene. She loved it so much, she wants to go back next year if possible.

She had a fantastic trip and said it was a brilliant experience. She loved that they played in front of really big crowds who really enjoyed them and that they got to perform so many songs. She was complimented a lot on her playing. The experience has definitely given her confidence and inspired her to keep playing. It is definitely a big thanks from me and from Zayna”


“The trip to Würzburg was the best experience I have ever had, and I will never forget it. Being given the opportunity to play my violin in Germany in front of so many people and to see their reaction to our music was amazing and I will always remember it, especially the Sunday Night Finale. I made friendships on the journey, discovered Würzburg, and took part in many different experiences I wouldn’t have anywhere else. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible, I will never forget it!”


“Wurzburg was an amazing opportunity for Dundee Schools Music. We couldn’t have had this experience without the funding from the general public and the companies/people that funded us. Thank you so much.”

Submitted by:Dundee City Council Instrumental Music Service
Year of Award:2023

Bobby Allen

I would like to thank the GDMT for supporting and contributing towards my 2023 year in piping with a funding award.  I have made a recognisable improvement in my learning, competing and repertoire.  Furthermore, I am teaching new learners in piping at my local ‘Boys Brigade Hall’.

I am continuing to receive tuition in piobaireachd and light music from my long term teacher Willie Morrison. I am also in my third year of study at ‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’ on the ‘BMus Traditional Music: Piping’ course with Honours. Although missing a few major competitions through Covid, I had, what I regard as a very successful year. I gained promotion in the ‘Competing Pipers Association’ individual gradings, with fifteen competition placings including firsts. I am currently working towards my aims of becoming a successful piping teacher and another great year in piping for 2024.

Submitted by:Bobby Allen
Year of Award:2023

Conner Pratt

Connor Pratt

In 2022, I was completing my BA Hons in Applied Music.

Throughout my piping career I have taken much inspiration from Gordon Duncan and his music and for my final recital I was putting in a mini pipe band concert in Stornoway called Road Trip of Scotland. I took the audience on a road trip with tunes from places or places in the tune title. I used some of Gordon Duncan’s Tunes in my medley set which started of with Hector the Hero bringing the story from Stornoway through the strathspey to Pitlochry and Perthshire before heading home to Fife and my story so far of being a piper.

Without the help of the GDMT they helped me fund my final project, and without their help I would not have passed my degree. I have been telling lots of musicians from my course about the Trust and that the Trust can also help them with purchasing rehearsal venues to practice in as our course is a remote course and getting into a university with practice facilities isn’t easy.

I have been successful in gaining two piping instructor jobs since finishing my degree and I am grateful I can teach the next generation of pipers and tell my stories and knowledge, I look forward to seeing more pipers graduate from the UHI Applied Music course and also promote the course to young pipers and drummers and trad players.

Thanks again for your support I really appreciate it.

Submitted by:Conner Pratt
Year of Award:2022

Angus Campbell

Angus Campbell

I would like to thank you dearly for helping me fund the once in a lifetime trip to Barbados with the Strathallan school pipe band. This trip has not only been absolutely amazing, but my piping has only gotten better.

We started off the week at 3.00am on Tuesday the 16th of May and went to the airport in Edinburgh where we took the plane to Heathrow and then got on the Conexion plane to Barbados. About one hour after we landed, we went straight to a Pipe band rehearsal for a gig called the odyssey concert at St Patrick’s cathedral in Bridgetown that we had to do during the week. This helped me learn to play my pipes better even after a mega voyage which will be useful in the future when I go around the world with my pipes.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening, we performed at Harbour lights dinner show where I played a solo Highland cathedral in front of a Bagian audience. This helped me grow my confidence whilst performing in front of quite a few people. The following day: Thursday, we had piping workshops in the morning with Conor Sinclair and Roddy MacLeod MBE, this was the day where I learnt the most. We had one hour with Conor, 27 years old (winner of the March, Strathspey and Reel at the Glenfiddich championship). This is one of the most prestigious solo competitions in the world, where you must win several other competitions to compete, telling us that you must be an elite level player to even play in the competition, never mind win it! And one hour with Roddy, a 5-time winner of the Glenfiddich championship and retired director of the national piping Centre in Glasgow (Scotland). Then later on they both played a few tunes on their bagpipes from which I learnt a lot about their techniques and what it takes to be the best. That evening we had a rehearsal for the street parade with the military brass band which was an experience in itself.

On Friday we boarded a catamaran with all the boys and teachers and set sail for a fantastic day out, hopping in and out seeing shipwrecks and swimming with the turtles. Later on, that day the boys were asked to hoist up the sail whilst I played a solo Flower of Scotland in the wind nearly falling over a couple of times, but the experience was once in a lifetime bearing in mind Roddy MacLeod, Connor Sinclair, Kyle Howie (one of my piping teachers with some of the fastest if not the fastest piping fingers on the planet), Craig Muirhead (also one of my piping teachers a very experienced piper) and josh Fraser (yet another piping teacher and three time world champion with Johnstone pipe band), all watching me play!

This again helped me to play with a lot of pressure on me and in an unexpected environment. On that same evening we performed at the Odyssey concert at St Patrick’s cathedral that we had rehearsed for on the Tuesday evening. On Saturday we performed in the massed pipe band parade with another pipe band from Sweden and one from England as well as the Bagian brass band. This gave me a taste of what it was like to march in the heat for a while whilst playing my pipes and keep marching correctly as I was in the front rank with one of my pipe band pals Harry Turner and of course Roddy MacLeod leading the march passed/parade.

Later that day we performed all around a pub named Blakey’s. Sunday (the last full day) we played as a pipe band by the coast where the surfing championships are normally held. I played a solo Gordon Duncan tune with the coast and the rough Atlantic Ocean in the background to end the trip and bring part of him to Barbados.

I again would like to thank you for all your help and support to get me onto this tour/trip with the Strathallan Pipe band and help me to broaden my perspectives on the limitless opportunities that piping will bring me in the near future.

Submitted by:Angus Campbell
Year of Award:2022