As the 2015 pipe band season opens this Sunday at Gourock, we thought we would get everyone in the mood by having a look back at one of the majors from 2014, the Scottish Pipe Band Championships held at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton last June. Read the article here. Get the full run down of this season’s pipe band contests by downloading Pipe Band Magazine.
The draw for the UK championships came out yesterday and can be viewed on the RSPBA website.
Still in ‘looking back’ mode, it is hard to believe that it is 15 years since Mike Rogers became only the second American in history – after Texan Mike Cusack – to win the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal. Mike R’s big day was at Oban, the Argyllshire Gathering, in August 2000.
Both pipers were pupils of Jimmy McIntosh, the man who has done so much to put US solo piping on the world map. Mike’s success followed on from his winning the Silver Medal the year before. On this occasion his tune was the seldom heard Sobieski’s Salute. Learn more about this tune here.
Mike said: ‘When the result came out I was stunned to say the least. They read out the results in reverse order and when I didn’t feature in the lower prizes I thought I was out of it. I was very surprised to hear my name in the top spot.
‘Thinking back, I wasn’t exactly elated when I was given ‘Sobieski’ to play as there were better tunes in my list; but I did think I had played well and that the pipe had held.’
Mike paid tribute to Jimmy McIntosh: ‘Jimmy was my tutor for years and I owe him a lot. He was incredibly encouraging in my work towards the Gold Medal.
‘It was a great feeling to win it and being able to follow in the footsteps of all those great pipers who have won it. It takes hard work and determination.’
Other prize winners in the Gold at Oban that year were: second, Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, third Herve Lefloc’h from Brittany, fourth Stuart Shedden, Glasgow, and fifth Greg Wilson, NZ. The winner of the Silver Medal was Graeme Roy, Blanefield, and the Senior Piobaireachd Angus MacColl. James Beaumont won the MacGregor Memorial contest, William McCallum the Former Winners MSR, Chris Armstrong the ‘A’ March and Donald MacPhee the ‘A’ S&R. Gordon Walker took the Jigs.
* This year’s Gold Medal competitions are on August 26th (Argyllshire Gathering, Oban) and September 2nd (Northern Meeting, Inverness).