PP Editor’s Blog 14/11/14

The West of Scotland Branch of the RSPBA’s Graham Johnston Memorial contest is at the College of Piping tomorrow so get along and support the kids if you can. The draw is posted here. One interesting feature of this contest is the section calling for tunes composed by P/M Willie Ferguson. Plenty great melodies to choose from this prolific composer of yesteryear. See the WW1 tunes feature.
judge's companionThe new solo piping Judge’s Association meets this weekend and prompted another look at the ‘Judge’s Companion’, the book I compiled for the College of Piping a few years ago now. When first issued it got a very favourable review from Canadian piper and adjudicator Jim MacGillivray in the Piper and Drummer: ‘There is very little formal discussion available today on the process of adjudicating piping competitions, aside from the little-known ‘Guide to the Judging of Piping’ written by Dugald Graham-Campbell in 1952. GrahamCampbell was a well-known ‘amateur’ solo piping judge…he was a superb thinker and an articulate man and his brief but comprehensive judging guide set forth solid principles…..Graham-Campbell’s guide forms the centrepiece of ‘The Judge’s Companion’ and the book is rounded out with pieces by Scottish piping luminaries such as Seumas MacNeill, David Murray, James Campbell, Robert Wallace and….Malcolm McRae. The book makes no pretence to solving all of the piping world’s judging problems, and without doubt a companion piece in the same vein produced by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association would be a more than welcome addition to the scanty resources available to adjudicators. (Perhaps Mr Wallace could put himself to this task next…). The book is superbly written, entertaining and thought-provoking, in no small part due to the numerous anecdotes like this included in italics at the bottom of every second or third page: ‘Duncan MacFadyen, brother of the famous John, went up to play when Seton Gordon was judging. When Seton heard his name he said, ‘Oh! Duncan MacFadyen. How is John?’
Duncan: ‘Who cares; just give me my tune.’ …
…..a must read for any piping adjudicator.’

Congratulations to New England School student Iggy Suarez-Benejam (Iggy McSorley to his friends) on his recent marriage to Giovanna.


Recent additions to the ppresshop are chanters and pipes from David Naill. Also there are piobaireachd downloads with more mp3s to be added soon. Those intending playing at Oban and Inverness should be working hard on their tunes for next year. Get them ready by Christmas has to be the cry. The free choice for Gold and Silver Medals makes calls for some important decision making. The first thing is to settle on tunes you enjoy playing. No need next year to force yourself into learning pieces you can’t stand. Second make sure those you select are of suitable standard. MacFarlane’s Gathering might not cut it in the Gold Medal for example. Lament for Donald Ban would be serious overkill in the Silver. The free choice is also a good opportunity to learn some tunes you never quite got round to before.

Poster Print Copy-2I hear SFU are working hard on their music for next summer’s World’s Week concert with P/M Alan Bevan pleased with progress so far. Tickets go on sale next week (Nov 21) and I’ll try to remember to post a link.
Next Saturday (Nov 22nd) sees the Scots Guards juvenile contest at the Army School, Inchdrewer House, Edinburgh, so again, get along and support the youngsters if you can. Organiser Jimmy Banks reports a healthy entry. The music starts at 10am.

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