With only five days to go before we announce our Piper of the Year, another opportunity to make your choice. The pipers, in no particular order, are P/M Stuart Liddell, P/M Douglas Murray and P/M Richard Parkes. Stuart won many top prizes during the year including the Former Winners’ MSR at Oban and the Glenfiddich Championship. His band, Inveraray & District, were runners-up in the Worlds, their highest ever placing. P/M Douglas Murray became only the eleventh piper in history to achieve the historic double of winning the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal at both Oban and Inverness in the same year – all while improving the status of his band, Fife Constabulary. P/M Richard Parkes led his band, Field Marshal Montgomery, to yet another World title, his tenth in total, a remarkable achievement.
Tenor and bass drummers thinking of attending the South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy in March should be re-assured that there will be a separate tutor for you. There has already been considerable interest in the school. Find out more and book your place here.
Paul White of the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band has sent this about the forthcoming ‘Pipe Major’s Wheel of Fortune’ contest: ‘While many are counting down the days to Christmas, piping enthusiasts are asking ‘how many sleeps?’ to one of the most popular events on the traditional music calendar. The City of Edinburgh Pipe Band is pleased to announce that next year’s Wheel of Fortune competition will be held on Saturday 7th February in Danderhall Miners Club in Midlothian. The event provides an opportunity to see some of the world’s top pipers pit their wits against the Wheel of Fortune, where a spin of the golden chanter determines a mix of tune types combined for musical effect. While ‘the Wheel’ is competitive, it is recognised for its unique atmosphere where entertainment and expression come to the fore in an informal and relaxed environment. The line-up for the event will be announced on New Year’s Day to give pipers and lovers of the music a good excuse to continue their celebrations. Until then, the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band wishes all its friends and followers a very merry Christmas! I’ve enclosed a photo of Dougie Murray, who won the 2014 competition, with Harry McNulty, who was one of our judges. We like the think that our competition set Dougie up for his double gold medal this year, although I’m sure talent and hard work had more to do with it.’
Have a listen to Douglas:
From the special report on ensemble judging…‘Wherever they stand at ground level it is also difficult, if not impossible, for adjudicators to hear the collective pipe band effect in the same way as the people in the raised stand do, or in the way the BBC records it. This year the BBC recorded simultaneously from nine microphones – one above the performing band at the front, three at ground level either side of the performing circle, and one at ground level either side of the starting line. The latter two were a new addition this year, which, in my view, distorted…
In addition there is a report on the six-year Worlds deal, a look back at the glory days of the City of Edinburgh Police, a review of Derek Boyce’s new book, reports from the branches, the World Solo Drumming and a tribute to drummer Ronnie Annan. It’s all there and free at rspba.org and from the ppresshop from next week.
SPA President Tom Johnstone: ‘We had scheduled our next meeting, the first in 2015, for Friday 9th January, but we have a visitor from the Outer Hebrides who is leaving to go home about 5th January – Jim McLean. We have therefore decided to have TWO January meetings: Friday 2nd January AND Friday 9th January. Please feel free to come to one or both as you please. Date for your diary is 18th April 2015 for the next WW1 Recital featuring Iain Speirs, Niall Stewart and Army Cadets.’
Breton piper Loic Denis has sent this: Bonjour à tous,
Voici un CD qui nous vient de DUBLIN Francy Devine chante dans la pure tradition Irlandaise. Ballade, histoire d’amour ou histoire triste, chant à boire ou chant à méditer…Notre ami a invité 3 bretons sur 1 des 18 “tracks” de son disque: Guénahel Denis à la bombarde, Marc Jacquier à la guitare et Loïc Denis au Border pipe. Vous pouvez le commander en lui écrivant firstname.lastname@example.org Bonne fêtes de fin d’année. Loïc Denis
New letter added to Letters page.
‘Brian’ has sent this about a new contest in Berwick: ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed are entering the competition [circuit?] for the first time with a contest scheduled for the 21st June 2015 at Shielfield Park. It is hoped that this could be an ‘annual event’. I would request that entries are registered though the normal channels as soon as possible to enable preparations for a successful event.’