PP Editor’s Blog 19/12/14

Well done to the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch for supporting the campaign to resist cuts to the arts and culture budget in the Province. As they say, what else can you get for 13p, the estimate of what the budget costs per head of the population.

Arts Council Northern Ireland make a big contribution to the pipe band movement in Ulster, and good on them for that. Our arts body, Creative Scotland, make a significant contribution to piping here too – via the National Piping Centre – as Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed. But there are wee bands with unpaid teachers out there who do great work in the community, keeping kids off the street, passing on musical and life skills, and who get not a penny – all because they do not have the wherewithal or time to apply for it.

SSPBChampsTalking of kids’ bands, the organisers of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships have done a brilliant job in getting their competition off the ground. It is well on the way to becoming one of the real highlights of the winter calendar. There’s even the offer of£250 travel bursaries to eligible bands, and there are eight categories of competition, so everyone gets the chance of a prize. They have a smart new website – very professionally done with good videos etc. Today it tells us that there are 79 days to the contest. Unfortunately you have to work out for yourself the date because I couldn’t find it anywhere!
To offer your support or to enter your school’s band click here.

Only ten days left to have your say in our ‘Piper of the Year’ poll. Vote now:
[polldaddy poll=8482431]

ppresshop picThe mailing glitch on the ppresshop has now been sorted and the true price for the goods will be represented at checkout. Mailing charges have been built-in so what you see in the catalogue is what you pay.


Final word on the missing Braemar trophy from Mr Jack who is to be commended for his swift action: ‘Thanks for this – I have been touch with Braemar and the recipient of the trophy and all is in hand to resolve the matter – thanks again – David Jack.’

Jimmy McIntosh tells me that his new book has been flying off the shelves in the US with over 100 sold already. He’s sending me over some for the ppresshop so hopefully they will save UK buyers some postage. Will let everyone know when they arrive.

Joe Noble of the RSPBA Adjudicator’s Panel: ‘Apologies for the delay in sending these photos to you. They are from the retirement presentation to James Robertson, former drum major adjudicator, and of Malcolm MacKenzie, then Convener of the Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board, making the presentation to former piping and ensemble adjudicator, David Clark.’

Joe presents his award to D/M Robertson
davy and malky
P/M Clark gets his award from Malky

I don’t want anyone dismissing these awards lightly. They represent a lifetime of dedication and hard work for the pipe band movement by both gentlemen. Joe and Malky have done their bit too I know everyone will agree. [easyrotator]erc_14_1414056032[/easyrotator]Congratulations to West Lothian Schools Pipe Band who have won  Pipe Band of the Year sponsored by The National Piping Centre at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2014.  On the website P/M Gordon Bruce is asked a few questions about the band:

west-lothian-schoolsTell us about yourself
The band has just finished their most successful competition season to date, and are current UK and European Champions and were crowned the overall ‘Champions of Champions’ in Novice Juvenile for 2014 – an outstanding achievement as they have only been competing since 2011. The band competed in 6 competitions winning a total of 12 trophies and have recently been upgraded, and are looking forward to competing in the Juvenile Grade next season
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
Bagpipe tuition is offered in our schools within the West Lothian Council Instrumental Music Service. Drumming instruction is offered as an extra-curricular activity and takes place as an after school class. We have a strong tradition of an excellent ensembles programme which includes the pipe band underpinned by the chanter and drum group and the Development Pipe Band. The combination of the pipe bands, West Lothian Schools Folk Group and many school traditional music ensembles enables our young musicians to learn traditional instruments.
Any particular career highlights?
The 2011 tour of Poland2012 Germany Music Concert, 2013 ‘Best Schools Pipe Band’ at the Cowal, 2014 Novice Juvenile UK Champions (first ever major championship win), 2014 Novice Juvenile European Champions2014 Novice Juvenile Champions of Champions
What are your plans for the future?
The pipe band are currently working hard to prepare for West Lothian’s annual Spring Concert Series in March next year and are also looking forward to their debut season in the Juvenile in May 2015.