PP Editor’s Blog 28/11/14

Firstly I must express my personal sadness at the passing of Denver Cardwell. A real character he was; a man to make you laugh but with a humour underpinned by a profound knowledge of piping and pipe bands. Firm in his views and in his friends; loyal to the last. If life’s about laughing then Denver lived it to the full. Who will forget the stairheid clash between him and Dixie at Alden Biesen?, half a dozen pints of lager akimbo; never laughed so much then or since…… Aye, you made your contribution Denver. Northern Ireland and the greater piping world are the poorer today.  The Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA has issued the following:

‘It is with deep regret that RSPBANI Branch announce the passing of Denver Cardwell on Wednesday 26th November 2014.  Denver was a long time member and supporter of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (Northern Ireland) Branch and highly respected RSPBA adjudicator. As many RSPBANI Branch Officers, Executive and Band members wish to attend  and pay their respects at the Funeral Service,  which is planned for 10:30 a.m.  on the 29th November in Holywood Methodist Church, the start time of the AGM of the Northern Ireland Branch will be postponed from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. sharp  on Saturday.’


Glenfiddich Champion Stuart Liddell
Glenfiddich Champion Stuart Liddell

Today we launch a poll which will allow our thousands of readers around the world to have their say in who should get the final ‘Piper of the Year’ accolade. To us there are three stick out candidates.  In alphabetical order they are: P/M Stuart Liddell, P/M Douglas Murray and P/M Richard Parkes .  If anyone has any other suggestions please let us know; names can be added. The poll closes just before Christmas so there is plenty of time.[easyrotator]erc_14_1414056032[/easyrotator]Runners up at the Worlds were Inveraray. Again I have gushed at length on the brilliance of their pipe major Stuart Liddell. To take a band to these heights (and from humble beginnings on the shores of Loch Fyne only a few years ago) says much about the man and his ability, his determination. To do it whilst maintaining a solo career at the highest level (and nurturing a young family)? Well what can anyone say other than well done Stuart. Glenfiddich Champion, Former Winners’ MSR at Oban and a host of top prizes plus that 2nd at the Worlds place him firmly in the poll rankings. Read Robert Wallace’ critique on Glenfiddich here.

Douglas Murray with both 2014 Gold Medals
Douglas Murray with both 2014 Gold Medals

In piping history winning two Gold Medals in the same year has only been achieved 11 times. This year we witnessed the latest outstanding double: from Douglas Murray. I say outstanding because of the manner in which he played. This was no fluke, simply a piper at last realising his true potential and putting years of under-achieving where it belongs: well behind him. It gladdens the heart when we see this happening and all aspiring solo pipers should take note. And don’t forget that during the year Douglas also took over as pipe major of a Grade 1 band, Fife Police. Read our Gold Medal critiques here.

The October '14 issue of Pipe Band magazine
The October ’14 issue of Pipe Band magazine

Everything that needs to be said about P/M Richard Parkes and Field Marshal has been said and I am not going to ladle on the sugar here. They, and he, don’t need it. Richard’s tenth win at the Worlds rightly earns him a place in our poll. What impresses this listener is the way the band plays, and how, despite changes in personnel over the years, Richard has managed to stay true to his winning philosophy: perfection in sound and technique, allied to quality in expression. To win one Worlds is a major achievement. Ten? That’s ridiculous. See the list of Worlds winners here.
Here’s the poll:[polldaddy poll=8482431]

It will be replicated on our Facebook site and at the end of the month the votes added together. The winner will be afforded the special privilege of buying the editor something nice to drink when next we meet.

Thanks for all the complimentary comments regarding this week’s input to the site. I agree, we have had some cracking copy, in particular the erudite conclusion to the James Campbell Lecture from Jonathan Gillespie and then the poignant memories surrounding the funeral of President John F Kennedy from Lt Col Gunther. Incidentally Robert received this from one of the Black Watch pipers who actually played at the funeral:

‘Dear Robert,
Very many congratulations on your excellent article. It was as accurate as though you had been there in person; it brought everything back as though it was yesterday. Once again, many many thanks. Good piping, 
Yours aye, Bruce Cowie.’

We hope we will be able to continue this high standard of writing. There are a number of very special articles in the pipeline. Our aim is make sure there is always something worth reading at pipingpress.com.

shotts contest posterTwo important junior contests tomorrow: Preston Lodge in East Lothian at Preston Lodge High School, Park View, Prestonpans, and the Shotts Junior contest at Calderhead High School. Get along and support these events if you can. Shotts have over 100 pipers and drummers taking part – a terrific result in a contest’s first year. Judges on duty include Callum Beaumont, Ryan Canning, Glenn Brown, Finlay Johnston, Chris Armstrong, Jim Kilpatrick and Arthur Cook. The event is being organised in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, with the support of staff and students from the school.

SPA President Tom Johnstone: Just a short note to remind you about the next in our series of WW1 Recitals which is on Saturday 6th December 2014 at 7.30pm in the College of Piping, Otago Street Glasgow. We are expecting a record turnout following the success of the previous recitals so please come early to get one of the best seats. Once again, entry is free and we are indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financing the series. We are running a bar, manned by our committee member Graham Alexander, and his assistants so you should be well catered for. If you are from further afield, or simply cannot make it, you can still watch the event on Livestream www.livestream.com or via the College website as below. Our next ‘Club Night’ is the evening before, Friday 5th December at 7.30pm.SPA poster

Don’t know what it is but there is something about this poster that makes me want to laugh. I think it reminds me of that kid’s tv show that used to be on here a million years ago. Anyway, looks like a good line-up down under in Jan.


oz poster