John MacDonald, Inverness, Letter; Govan Piping Initiative

Today we publish an interesting letter from John Macdonald, Inverness, to Archibald Campbell, Kilberry. It discusses two tunes, ‘Lament for the Union’ and ‘Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonnell of Glengarry.’ Read more here.


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Tutors Iain Watson and Jim Semple with some of the Govan kids

The newsletter of the Govan Weavers Society reports major progress with the piping initiative in this well-known, but not well off, suburb of Glasgow. It reads: ‘In July it was intimated that the Piping Initiative was making progress and that a separate Company and Charity was being set up to simplify accounting of the Weavers normal business. This process has now been completed and the Govan Schools Piping Association has now gained additional support from a wide range of new volunteers including Jim Semple, a former pipe major with Strathclyde Police, joining Iain Watson, Iain Macpherson and Stephen Burns in the tuition of the youngsters.

‘Since July the Piping Initiative has grown with support from the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust match funding some of the tuition of our students. This has allowed the association to extend lessons into Govan High School and Lourdes Secondary to ensure that all primary pupils can continue with their lessons in their secondary education within Govan and to ensure that a Govan Schools Pipe Band can be sustained in the longer term.

‘The success of this initiative is evidenced by the tuition now reaching 135 young people with 95 on piping and 40 on drumming lessons. The extension into the secondary schools has however put some pressure on the finances of the project and will delay the appearance of the Govan Schools Pipe Band in New York until 2016. We are however hopeful that a band will perform in the Old Govan Fair Parade in June……With the challenges for fund-raising, acquiring instruments and fundraising the GSPA is well prepared and ready for the challenges ahead.’

The work being done in Govan is being mirrored in our schools elsewhere in Scotland and any reader who would like to support school bands may like to attend the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Edinburgh next month.