PP Editor’s Blog 12/12/14

Bob, his wife Dorothy and Joe
Bob, his wife Dorothy and Joe

I was down at the RSPBA HQ last weekend to see the presentation of a painting by Duncan Brown to P/M Bob Shepherd MBE. The presentation was made during a meeting of the Association’s Board of Directors, the honours carried out in articulate fashion by Bob’s fellow judge Joe Noble on behalf of the Adjudicators Panel. Joe pointed out how well-deserved the honour was. The painting represented all Bob’s major achievements: his two World Championships with Dysart & Dundonald, his MBE, his training work with the adjudicators panel, his highly successful bagpipe manufacturing business (with his chanters played at the highest level in both solo and bands) and a popular tutor book that has sold thousands of copies. And we shouldn’t forget that all of Bob’s band success was achieved with kids he’d more or less taught himself.
In return Bob paid his respects to the Association, pointing out that without it and its competition structure no band or pipe major had the means by which to fulfil their life’s work. He had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Association all his life – in many capacities – and thanked them sincerely for the opportunities they had given him and many others. Lunch followed where there were many tales of escapades from the past and I particularly enjoyed the one about the Fife laddie who went to the CNE in Toronto in the 70s and had a particularly good time in Yonge Street (before it got cleaned up and boring). He was being chided by his bandmates over what he might have done or would suffer in the future as a result of his, shall we say, indiscretions. Pleading his case the young piper pointed out that for $30 dollars in Toronto he could get an awful lot more than his £20 in Lochgelly. Bob, in his capacity as CNE Tattoo Music Co-ordinator appreciated the lad’s logic and told the rest of the band to back off and that was the end of the matter.

8244889674_47d268c31b_oThe Piobaireachd Society General Committee have lined up a very good conference for next March and I would urge those who have never been to think now about signing up for a fine weekend of friendship and interest in the beautiful surroundings of Highland Perthshire at Birnam. You will soon be able to book your place via the PS website at www.piobaireachd.co.uk using PayPal or by sending the Hon Sec a cheque. The dates for your diary are March 20th – 22nd, 2015. I’ll announce details of the weekend once they have been released. There is no word yet on the College of Piping Lecture which usually precedes the conference, but again I will publish details as soon as I have them . If you want to read last year’s lecture in full click here.

Patricia Grant, the lady who compiles the list of winners from the north games, has sent this re snowy Braemar: ‘Good Morning Mr. Wallace. I would be obliged if you could possibly help me.  I wonder if you know a Christie Jack?  Braemar are looking for a trophy she won in the past.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Regards.’ Can anyone help? It is always distressing when these valuable trophies wander off never to be seen again.

Thanks for all the comment re the WW1 concert last weekend. A couple of people have asked about the pipes. They were a set of David Naill DN1 bagpipes with three Eezidrones, Canmore bag with long tube, and a Naill chanter.

NLSP/M Ross Cowan has forwarded this from his band’s concert on Monday night: ‘Hi Rab here is a video of North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band from Monday night’s concert at Motherwell Civic Centre; thought it might me something for pipingpress.com. Forty  pipers and drummers from ages Primary 5 to 6th year high school were on stage. (The very same stage Victoria Police Pipe Band performed their ‘Masterblasters’ pre Worlds Winning Concert in 1998)‘We are very fortunate that North Lanarkshire Council funds piping and drumming as part of the curriculum in our high schools and their corresponding feeder primaries across the region from Chryston, Kilsyth, Cumbernauld, Airdrie, Coatbridge, Shotts, Wishaw, Bellshill and Motherwell. Lessons are £75 a year and there are exemptions for those who cannot afford lessons making it very accessible for all. Also performing at concert were North Lanarkshire Schools Preparatory Band, Chorus, Wind Band and Traditional Music Group complete with accordions and fiddles. The concert was supported by local councillors and MSPs and master of ceremonies was Judith Ralston BBC TV presenter. Thanks Ross.’ Looks like a great night Ross and how good are North Lanarkshire council apropos piping and drumming? £75 a year? Marvellous. This council is one that appreciates the social, musical and educational benefit that comes from encouraging joint music making among its schoolchildren. Readers may not know that Ross is an accomplished solo piper. Here he is at the Argyllshire Gathering in 2003 (11 years ago!) with his uncle Walter, the respected judge, and his father John, both of whom who have done so much for piping in the south-west of Scotland. This was the year Ross won the Silver Medal at Oban.

Walter, Ross and John Cowan
Walter, Ross and John Cowan

Pleasure to meet Bob Lawson of the Highland Pipers Society at a gig in Edinburgh the other night. Bob tells me the Society is struggling to keep going and urgently needs new members to go along for a tune. If you are interested please email. Bob was there with his friend Angus MacNeill from Barra for whom we played a selection of Gaelic airs.

Daz Gregory: Results of the Christchurch Casino Highland Day competition held in Canterbury on 6th December.

Grade 1 : Canterbury Caledonian (uncontested)
Grade 2 MSR: 1st St Andrews College (2,2,2,1) 2nd City of Dunedin (1,1,3,4) 3rd Canterbury Caledonian (4,3,2,1) 4th South Canterbury (3,4,4,3)
Grade 2 Medley: 1st St Andrews College (2,2,1,2) (EP) 2nd City of Dunedin (1,1,2,3) 3rd Canterbury Caledonian Society (3,3,3,1)  4th South Canterbury (4,4,4,4)
Grade 4 MSR: 1st Scottish Society (1,1,1,2) 2nd Canterbury Caledonian Society (3,3,2,1) 3rd St Andrews College (2,2,4,3) 4th ILT City of Invercargill (4,4,3,4) 5th McAlpines North Canterbury (5,6,5,5) 6th South Canterbury (6,5,6,6)
Grade 4 Medley: 1st Scottish Society (1,1,2,1) 2nd Canterbury Caledonian Society (2,2,1,2)  3rd ILT City of Invercargill (3,5,4,4) 4th St Andrews College (4,3,6,3) 5th McAlpines North Canterbury (5,4,3,6) 6th South Canterbury (6,6,5,5)
Juvenile: 1st St Andrews College (1,1,1,1) 2nd Canterbury Caledonian Juv (4,4,2,2) 3rd St Andrews College B (3,2,3,5) 4th ILT City of Invercargill (5,3,4,3) 5th South Canterbury Youth (2,5,5,4)