Category Archives: News

Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship Results

This contest was held yesterday as part of the Virginia International Tattoo. Chieftain of the Day was Jimmy McIntosh. As the American Pipe Band Championship is part of a military Tattoo, the first band awards are for marching and deportment, and were judged by Captain Fraser Clark (Canadian Forces).

Best Marching and Deportment Grade Three:
1st Battalion Scots Guards (pictured)

Best Marching and Deportment Grade Two:
City of Dunedin

Grade Three American Champions 2017

1st, winning the J. Scott Jackson trophy and $2000:
St. Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band
2nd, winning a shield and $800:
Carnegie Mellon University Pipes and Drums
3rd, winning a shield and $400:
Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums
4th winning a shield:
Ulster Scottish Pipe Band

Best Drum Corps: St. Thomas Episcopal School
Best March Strathspey and Reel: St. Thomas Episcopal School
Best Medley Selection: St. Thomas Episcopal School 

Grade Two American Champions 2017

1st, winning the Jim Hixon trophy and $2500:
City of Dunedin
2nd, winning a shield and $1000:
Worcester Kilties
3rd, winning a shield and $500:
MacMillan Pipe Band

Best Drum Corps: City of Dunedin
Best March Strathspey and Reel: City of Dunedin
Best Medley Selection: City of Dunedin

Highlands & Islands Festival Results Updated with Juniors

A very successful competition was held in Oban High School today with judges reporting a good standard of playing in all events. The organisers were particularly pleased at the size and quality of the entries in the junior competitions. 

Sponsor of the piobaireachd was North Ledaig Caravan Park. Pipers, pitch up there if you can. MSR sponsor was DM MacKinnon Solicitors. Pictured are Jonathan Simpson (r) and Greig Canning, first and second in the B MSR. We’d be obliged if someone could send on the missing results.

P/A Ceol Mor for Cooper Salver (1st) and Dugald MacColl Memorial Trophy (2nd).

1 Darach Urquhart, Earl of Ross’s March
2 Angus J MacColl, End of the High Bridge
3 Jamie Forrester, MacDougall’s Gathering
4 Craig Sutherland, Nameless Cherede Darievea
5 Peter McCalister, King’s Taxes
Judges: I MacFadyen, R Wallace

1 Craig Sutherland
2 Angus J MacColl
3 Gordon Bruce
4 Jamie Forrester
5 Sarah Muir
Judges: J Wilson, A Wright

B Ceol Mor
1 Sarah Muir
2 Ben Duncan
3 Steven Leask
4 Jamie Elder
5 Ross Cowan
Judges: R MacShannon, T Speirs

1 Jonathan Simpson, Col. Maclean of Ardgour, Dora MacLeod, Grey Bob 
2 Greig Canning, Leaving Glenurquhart, Cabar Feidh, Broadford Bay
3 Edward Gaul, Colin Thomson, Cal. Soc. of London, Sandy Cameron
4 Peter McCalister, Mrs J MacColl, Lady Loudon, Dolina MacKay
5 Andy Wilson, Kantara to El Arish, Shepherd’s Crook, Smith of Chilliechassie
Judges: I MacFadyen, R Wallace

C Ceol Mor
1 John Cameron
2 Eireann MacKay
3 John Dew
4 Dan Nevins
5 Scott MacLean
Judges: J Wilson, A Wright


Judges: R MacShannon, T Speirs

Junior Piping

Piobaireachd Ground
1 Thomas Young
2 Erin Byers
3 Thomas Wilson
4 Innes Munro

Piobaireachd 15 and under 18
1 Andrew Ferguson
2 Lewis Russell
3 Jamie Niall Campbell
4 Calum Craib
5 Jennie MacLean
6 Ben Muir

Novice March Under 14
1 Thomas Wilson
2 Matthew McKerral
3 Fraser Hamilton
4 Katie Edmundson
Lodge Argyll prize for highest placed piper resident in county: Matthew McKerral

Chanter under 12 – scale and two-part march
1 Grace Kelman
2 William MacLean
3 Calan McGuigan
4 Katie MacEwan
5 Ross MacKay
6 Cara Duncan

Chanter Under 12
1 Tamzyn Cassidy
2 Harrison Bishop

Chanter 12 & 14 years March
1st Equal: Hannah Crowe and Lisa McKellar

Stay tuned for updates including the editor’s comments.

Famous Pipers: More on Captain John A MacLellan MBE

Additional information on Captain John MacLellan who featured in our post last week. This is from the programme notes for last year’s ‘Captain John A MacLellan MBE Piping Championship’ produced by the Army School:

John A. Maclellan was born in Dunfermline, Fife, in July 1921. He attended Fort Augustus Abbey School and joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders as a boy piper in 1936. In 1941 at age 19 he was named Pipe Major of the 9th Battalion , Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, the youngest man ever named Pipe Major in the British Army.

He would subsequently serve as Pipe Major with the 1st Seaforth Highlanders, the Lowland Brigade and the 11th Seaforths. He was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with his appointment in 1954 as Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st  and 11th Seaforths and served in Germany, Egypt and Gibraltar. In 1946 he attended the Pipe Major’s course under Willie Ross and graduated with a Distinguished Certificate.

Captain John MacLellan at Fort George

He would later be sent for piobaireachd instruction to John MacDonald, Inverness, then the Piobaireachd Society’s official instructor. He won all of the major prizes and to this day he remains the only piper ever to have won piping’s ‘grand slam’ – the Open Piobaireachd at Oban, the Gold Clasp at Inverness and the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel at both gatherings in the same year, 1958, a record unlikely ever to be matched.

When he took over from the great Willie Ross in 1959, the Army Piping Class was being restructured as the Army School of Piping. Over the next 17 years he ran a centre of excellence at Edinburgh Castle with a long line of superb Pipe Major candidates studying under him.

IN 1963, with much of his best work still ahead of him, he was awarded the MBE for his contribution to the improvement of Army piping. Five years later he was appointed to a commission in the Queen’s Own Highlanders, becoming the first Director of Army Bagpipe Music.

During the 1960s and 70s he published six books of bagpipe music, many containing his own compositions and arrangements. He also turned to piobaireachd composition in which he excelled being thought by many to be the best composer of piobaireachd during the latter 20th century.

His Phantom Piper of the Corrieyairick (winner of the 1969 Saltire Society Award for piobaireachd composition) has entered the repertoire as a staple along with others such as Farewell to the Queen’s Ferry, A Welcome to Patrick Struan, the Salute to the Great Pipe and the Edinburgh Piobaireachd.

From 1978 to 1981 he and his wife Christine published the popular and influential ‘International Piper’ magazine. Captain MacLellan also became a pioneer of piping summer schools, travelling to set up and teach schools in South Africa, Australia the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

One of Captain John’s books. It contains the celebrated ‘Phantom Piper of the Corrieyairick’ piobaireachd

His home in Dean Park Crescent in Edinburgh saw many piping visitors and he was a great supporter of overseas competitors attending the major events. During this time he was also a prolific performer and contributor to the BBC’s piping programmes.

In 1962 he had proposed the idea of amalgamating the Army School, the College of Piping and the Piobaireachd Society under one umbrella to form the Institute of Piping which now includes the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, the National Piping Centre and the Army Cadet Force Pipes and Drums and comes under the umbrella of the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board offering qualifications in piping and drumming at all levels.

Shortly after retiring from competition he devoted much of his time to the Piobaireachd Society and his work would form a significant part of his piping contribution during the rest of his life. He became Honorary Secretary of the Music Committee, one of the most influential and important appointments in piping, responsible for all aspects of publication, set tunes and judging. He was awarded the Balvenie Medal for his services to piping in 1989. John MacLellan died at his home in April of 1991 at the age of 69.

• We would be interested to hear from anyone who studied under Captain John at the Army School. Email

PP Ed’s Blog: Pipe Bands Australia Appointment/ Johnstone Pipe Band/ D Throw Query/ Schools Trust Job

Congratulations to Dean Hall on being appointed Principal of Drumming for Pipe Bands Australia. Dean joins Brett Tidswell, Principal of Piping, in forging ahead with the development of piping and drumming in that country.

There does seem to be something of a boom in pipe bands down under right now and having worked with these two gentlemen in the past I am certain this will receive further impetus.

PBA President Chris Earl (pictured above far right with Brett and Dean) has come in for a fair bit of stick over various matters lately but he now has individuals with all the knowledge and experience needed to help him navigate the sometimes stormy waters of pipe band politics.

And before leaving Australia we should congratulate Brett on his new baby. Benjamin James arrived last month at 7lb 9oz and both mum Angie and baby are coping as best they can with dad’s practising:

Not a great entry for the RSPBA’s Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch indoor competition to be held in Coatbridge High School this Saturday April 29. Unfortunately it does not augur well for the future of the contest.

There are so many good bands in the branch through all grades it is surprising that they don’t take this opportunity of a run out before the outdoor season starts. Only the newly promoted Johnstone in Grade 1 where I hear former Inveraray Pipe Sergeant Douglas Campbell is doing great work helping whip the pipe corps into shape. Click here for the Coatbridge draw.

Johnstone under Pipe Major Keith Bowes

Nicholas Taitz in South Africa: ‘Have you noticed, there is a modern tendency to play the heavy D throw as simply a grip to D with no C in between?  The correct way to play the heavy D throw, so I was taught, was to play a grip to C, and then play a D.  The C was admittedly very short, but it was there. 

‘I have seen an exercise where five or six of the top players’ D throws were slowed down and they are simply grips straight to D, with no short C.  Once you are listening for this, I think you will hear it more and more.  I didn’t notice this myself until a senior piper pointed it out to me, and he actually was the one who had slowed down the recordings I refer to above, and sent them to me.  I went back and listened to Hugh MacCallum playing the heavy throw, and he definitely plays a grip to C (which is a very short C) and then onto a D to finish.    

‘Anyone else noticed this?  It actually sounds quite nice to play a grip straight to D, it has a nice effect, but it’s not really a correct embellishment, is it?  Maybe it ought to be recognised now as a correct variant, because it’s certainly very common amongst top pipers.’

Have heard this a few times Nicholas but wouldn’t say it was a common problem. Most judges are ready for it and would condemn it if heard. One pleasing development of the last several years has been the disappearance of the heavy D throw from piobaireachd and slow air playing. The extra, or ‘redundant’, low A this version of the movement employs is acceptable when played in quicker tunes but in ceol mor it offends the sensibilities. Tutor Book 1 has a good lesson on the D throw which I can recommend.

Alex Duncan of the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust: ‘SSPDT has just opened up applications for two internships – for a snare drummer and a piper – to start in August – details below.  These are great opportunities for people to gain experience prior to applying for further education courses, or for people who already have an advanced education qualification and who are considering a career as a schools instructor.

‘This is an exciting opportunity for a piper or a snare drummer to gain experience of teaching in schools alongside experienced instructors, and of developing a schools pipe band.’

The interns can opt to include charity administration as part of their portfolio.  The posts will be tailored to build on individuals’ ability and experience . The internships are paid, and can start from August 2017. Full details can be found here:

Closing date 31st May 2017.

Highlands & Islands Draw/ Tickets for the Worlds

All solo piping interest will be on Oban this weekend for the Highlands & Islands Music and Dance Festival with very good entries in all events through P/A, B and C grades. The contest is held in Oban High School on Saturday April 29.

Senior adjudicators are Iain MacFadyen, Ronald MacShannon, Tom Speirs, Robert Wallace, John Wilson and Andrew Wright. There are five prizes in each event. All piobaireachd classes start at 9am with the MSRs in the afternoon. Here are the draws:

P/A Piob


Gordon McCready and Sarah Muir, recent champions at the Scottish Pipers’ Association contest, will do battle again at the Highlands & Islands

B Piob


C Piob






There is also a full selection of contests for juniors. Check PP on Saturday for all results.

Tickets for the Worlds are now on sale – at a discount if you buy now. Grade 1 arena on the Saturday is £28 plus transaction fee. Other prices (add minimum £1 transaction fee): Here is the blurb: ‘The World Pipe Band Championships are a unique celebration of Scottish culture featuring outstanding musicians who have practised for years to reach the pinnacle of Pipe Band competition. The event has been associated with Glasgow for nearly 70 years.

‘Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland are the World Pipe Band Champions for 2016. They fought off stiff competition from Inveraray and District who finished second and St Laurence O’Toole from the Republic of Ireland who were third. The 2016 event was the 30th year in a row Glasgow has hosted the World Pipe Band Championships.’

Get your tickets here.