THERE are some last-minute bookings which are impossible to refuse.
And when the call comes from an ex-Beatle and knight of the realm, you’ll pull out all the stops to make sure it comes together.
The Loretto School Pipe Band got a call asking them to appear alongside Sir Paul McCartney – with just four days’ notice.
The band were specifically sought out by Sir Paul’s director of music to perform at his homecoming concert at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Tuesday night.
Pipe Major Colin Pryde received the call while he was in the middle of teaching at the Musselburgh school last week, asking if the band could join Sir Paul on stage for his performance of Mull of Kintyre.
Mr Pryde said: “I said, ‘It’s a bit short notice – but we’ll do it’. Paul McCartney makes decisions about his set very last minute.
“He wanted to do Mull of Kintyre in Liverpool so needed to get hold of a band at short notice.”
Tuesday’s performance was not the first time the school band has performed the hit with Sir Paul. Last June, they stepped out on stage at Hampden Park to a crowd of 50,000 people.
Their performance back then led to them being called upon again for Sir Paul’s On The Run tour.
Mr Pryde, who appeared on the stage along with the pupils, said: “Paul asked his musical director to find a band and told him to go to one of the bands who had played with him before, and we were the first port of call.
“They really loved what we did at Hampden. It was great to be asked to play again.”
He added: “It went brilliantly, the kids were fantastic. They were a bit nervous before they went out, but once they got on stage they just went with the flow.
“For the four days after I got the call, Mull of Kintyre has been coming out of the practice hall. I’m sure our neighbours will be sick of the sound of it.”
The band members performing with Sir Paul included 11 pipers and seven drummers, with the youngest being a group of five boys aged just 12. Luke Bissell, 16, the school band’s pipe major – who also performed at Hampden – was lucky enough to speak to Sir Paul at the arena.
He said: “The atmosphere was really good because he was back home and everyone was really into it. Before he played, I spoke to him. He asked us where we were from and asked us to play a tune for him on the pipes.
“I wasn’t too nervous about performing on stage with him. I just tried to enjoy it as much as I could instead of being nervous. It’s a good story to tell people.”
Piper Lorne Robb, one of the youngest pupils to perform at just 12 years old, added: “I was really excited. I knew a little bit about him before but not that much. I think he’s amazing, especially to still be playing now.
“My dad is a pretty big fan of his. He went to a party and that was the main talk!”