Followers of the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band (pictured below in 1974 under P/M Tom MacAllister Jnr. and L/D Alex Duthart) will be interested to read of the life and times of band legend Sandy Bell. Here’s a short excerpt: ‘At Shotts, a period of re-building started again when, at the end of the 1984 season, Tom Jnr. retired due to ill health. Sandy took on the position of Pipe Major, with John Scullion as leading drummer. When John left at the end of 1985, Sandy invited one of the band’s previous drummers, Arthur Cook, to join…….’
The headmaster of Preston Lodge High School has sent a letter lauding the benefit his school derives from having a pipe band: ‘The self-discipline that members of our pipe band display when practising and performing is also reflected in improved attitudes towards learning in the classroom. The application of our students….’ Our cover pictures (very top) features the band’s pipe major Dollar Millar.
The sad demise of the Lothian and Borders Police PB has been recorded at length in the magazine and this issue we reach the final chapter in the band’s long and distinguished history: ‘Throughout its existence the Edinburgh City Police/Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band was known and highly respected worldwide as a result of its performances in a variety of European countries plus Canada, USA, Japan, South Africa and Russia, the latter visit being in 1966 during the Cold War for an event to promote British industry. The band also appeared in five films…’
Tributes are paid to the life and careers of pipers Denver Cardwell and Douglas Elmslie: ‘Denver Cardwell joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) on 29 July 1957. After initial training he was stationed at Pennyburn, Derry City, and during his early service he also played football for the RUC for six years. Following promotion…’
‘Dougie joined the Kilsyth Thistle Pipe Band and then the non-competing Renfrew band. He also did many corporate and social functions in and around his home town of Kirkintilloch. Dougie Elmslie was one of the most genial….’
There’s the first part of an interview with RSPBA adjudicator Jim Wark. It’s full of interesting comment…‘Good ‘bandsmen’ are different from ‘good soloists’. They have to accept the plans set out by P/Ms, and Leading Drummers, and work hard at meeting the unified effect of the band, studying and memorising the music on schedule to allow the band…..’
The magazine also has a review of the new CD from Dundee’s MacKenzie Caledonian Pipe Band, a report on the City of Edinburgh’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ contest and a complete rundown of all the 2015 season’s dates. Add to that a fulsome report from this year’s RSPBA AGM and you will see why no pipe band enthusiast will want to miss this issue.