Introducing the piper of St Paul’s Collegiate School

Introducing the piper of St Paul’s Collegiate School Piper, Seumas Eade

8 September 2023

Seumas, a name rooted in Gaelic tradition, is fitting for the remarkable piper at St Paul’s Collegiate School. Seumas Eade, a Year 13 student from Fitchett House, is a member of New Zealand’s largest pipe band organisation, The Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band.

Recently, Seumas, along with his family and their band, returned from the World Championships in Scotland, where they achieved an impressive 9th place in the World Pipe Band Championships (placing 2nd outside the UK) and secured a remarkable 7th place overall in piping. The Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band, established in 1925, consists of three competing bands, including one of New Zealand’s four Grade One Bands.

Seumas, the youngest piper in the band, embarked on his musical journey at the tender age of eight and has been deeply enamored with the bagpipes ever since. He aptly describes the instrument as "very rewarding" and believes it can be picked up by individuals of all ages. Beyond his passion for piping, Seumas is a familiar face at St Paul’s various musical and performing events. Most notably, he recently portrayed Jesus in the school’s production of ‘Godspell,’ captivating the audience with both his charisma and voice.

It’s evident that playing the pipes runs in Seumas’s blood, as both of his parents are gifted pipers who first crossed paths through their shared love for the instrument. His mother, Meleana Eade, serves as a bagpipes itinerant teacher at St Paul’s and was by Seumas’s side at the World Championships.

Seumas sheds light on the rigorous preparation required for such high-stakes competitions. "We traveled to Wellington or Palmerston North every few weeks for band practice. Upon our arrival in Scotland, I battled jet lag and grappled with breaking in a new reed for my pipes. We had only a week to prepare, practicing every day to ensure we were in top form. Stepping onto the stage for our first set, I could scarcely believe we had made it to this grand stage."

The results from this year’s competition mark the band’s most successful performance to date, making it an unforgettable experience for Seumas in his inaugural World Competition appearance. He is now gearing up for the Young Piper of the Year competition in Nelson and is set to return to Scotland in 2024, during his Gap Year, for another thrilling competition.

When asked about his favorite piping pieces, Seumas mentions his fondness for "Beaches of Harris" by Mark Saul. A quick online search reveals a captivating 2022 concert on Facebook featuring Seumas as the lead piper – an absolute must-watch performance for enthusiasts and newcomers.