Belfast Telegraph

He's piping hot: Meet the champ who blew the opposition away to win 13 titles in just three years

BY PAUL WARD

Most young boys dream of being a famous footballer or rock star.

But when Kyle Warren was a child, all he wanted to be was a title-winning piper.

And now the 25-year-old has seen his wishes come true after turning his hobby into a major success by winning 13 international titles in the last three years.

As part of Lisburn's all-conquering Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, Kyle Warren won the piping 'grand slam' of the Cowal, Scottish, British, European and World Piping Championships this year.

He clocked up the wins after taking a break from teaching.

The 25-year-old Scot, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, is part of a family of bagpipe players, with his father, uncle and grandfather all experienced pipers, but he took up playing seriously around a decade ago when he started lessons at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.

With his father Paul, a former Army piper, spending lots of time overseas, Kyle was helped in his pursuit by the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET) that supports children of Scots who serve in the Armed Forces.

He said: "My dad, my uncle and my grandad all played the pipes, so it was easily accessible when I was younger.

"I could have learned from my dad who is a great player, but like most father-son relationships I didn't want to listen... so going to the Piping Centre gave me the chance to feel like I was independent."

Since he joined the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in 2010, they have won the Scottish, British and World titles three times each and two Cowal and European piping championships.

It adds to Kyle's individual achievements, which include recording part of the soundtrack for Disney Pixar film Brave and producing an album.

He has also toured the world with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

"Being part of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band has been so good; I've been a member for three years now and during that we've won two grand slams," he said.

"There are only two other bands that have ever done it and they only won it once, so it's quite an achievement to win every contest we entered."

Based in Lisburn, the band is made up of pipers selected from across the world.

"It's quite an international field in the band. It's mainly split between Northern Ireland and Scotland and there are a couple of Australians, a piper from New Zealand, one from Canada and two Americans within the group, and most of them have moved just to play in the band.

"It's an elite group to play with and requires a lot of time and dedication, but the rewards are pretty satisfying."

Kyle is travelling to Belgium and then Australia in the next month to teach the bagpipes but still finds time to pass on his experience to new teenagers taking part in RCET programmes.

He said: "I probably can't put it quite into words, but the trust was so important for me and it gave me the platform to build and the opportunity to go for world-class tuition.

"When I went to university they also helped with living expenses which took the stress of a financial burden away and allowed me to concentrate on the music, and I graduated with a first-class honours degree.

"I'm still in contact with the trust since I graduated.

"I'm just keen to show how it's a hugely valuable thing that has helped a lot of people."

PROFILE

THE Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band are based in Lisburn and has swept the boards at piping competitions in recent years.

Last week, they clinched a 'grand slam' by winning the grade one title at the Cowal Championships at Dunoon, Scotland.

The success marked the third time that Field Marshal won all five Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association major championships in one season.

There are players from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US in the band.

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