It was an offer too good to refuse.
The Dubbo and District Pipe Band is off to Canberra on Friday after catching the eye of director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson.
At a fundraising dinner at Dubbo RSL Memorial Club this year he heard the band play and immediately requested it come to the national capital to be part of a Last Post Ceremony.
They are conducted daily from 4.55pm at the Australian War Memorial.
The band’s pipe major Gerard Cahill reports that its “main focus” is playing at the Anzac Day dawn service in Dubbo and leading the street march “later in the day” at Narromine.
Playing at the Last Post Ceremony on Saturday afternoon would be an “honour”, he said. “We’re all pretty humbled by the offer because lots of pipers would never have the opportunity,” Mr Cahill said.
The band, established in Dubbo in the early 1950s, includes pipers and drummers.
It has an equal mix of men and women members, aged from 20 to 65 years.
Weekly rehearsals have been boosted since the band accepted Dr Nelson’s offer.
“We will head to Canberra this Friday for a rehearsal on Friday evening and another rehearsal on Saturday morning in preparation for the performance on Saturday afternoon,” Mr Cahill said.
Mr Cahill said the band had been asked to play Flowers of the Forest, which commemorates the defeat of the Scots by the English at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
It will also perform Highland Cathedral, a popular tune among great highland bagpipe players.
Band members are “excited and nervous” about performing at the Australian War Memorial that recognises the “brave men and women who serve in Australia’s military forces”.
“We understand the gravity of the event especially after listening to Brendan Nelson speaking at the fundraiser in Dubbo,” Mr Cahill said.
The pipe major said the Canberra performance would include a guest piper and drummer from Gunnedah.