Band Formations Poll/Nicol-Brown Information/Hawick BB

There was considerable response to yesterday’s essay on pipe band formations and to further gauge opinion we have a new poll. We hope as many readers as possible will respond:  
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Our last poll on 2/4 marches posed the question: ‘Should we be free to alter music for 2/4 marches as we see fit’. 33% said ‘yes’, it was traditional music after all; 31% it depended on the tune; 29% ‘no’, we should honour the composer’s work, and 7% said it was different for bands as they had to think of drummers.

Hawick BB

Up top you’ll see a nice picture of the Hawick Boys Brigade band from the 1940s. Intriguing that there are two ladies seated in the front row. Presumably they were Lifeboy officers (the Lifeboys were then the feeder organisation for the BB and officers were often women). The picture is from the Piping, Drumming and Highland Dancing Journal. The accompanying story reads:

‘Hawick Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band was founded in 1937 by Mr Robert Short. The idea of a boys’ pipe band was a new one for the town and local support was quickly forthcoming. By practising hard the band acquired a good repertoire and their services are requested at functions all over the North of England and South of Scotland. In March 1946 they had a seven-day engagement in Nottingham commencing with a civic welcome by the Lord Mayor in the Council Chambers. In May 1947 the band was engaged along with the Squadronnaires Dance Orchestra and other famous bands for a ten days’ display at Torquay, Devon.

‘Living so far from the contest centres, entries to competitions are rare, but they have won the Border Boys’ Brigade Championship three times since 1945. At Ormiston last September they won the first prize for Juvenile bands. The tartan worn is MacKenzie, with very smart navy-blue tunics complete with full BB uniform and badges. The pipers are taught by Mr Short, the drummers by Mr A Nelson and Bailie JR Elliot, 30 High Street, Hawick, is the Band Secretary. The band has also broadcast on the Western Regional and the Scottish Home Services of the BBC.’

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Nicol Brown Competition 

Organisers of the 33rd annual Nicol-Brown competition weekend in the United States have sent this: ‘Dear Friends of the Nicol-Brown, We’re pleased to announce that the 2015 Nicol-Brown Competition will be held in Albany, New York on Saturday, October 10, and will be judged by Gold Medallist and Clasp Winner, Callum Beaumont, from Linlithgow, Scotland. We hope you’ll join us for the weekend!

The magnificent Nicol-Brown Chalice

‘On Friday, October 9, the Nicol-Brown committee will be hosting a judge’s recital and reception for the competitors, where they will be given their tune submissions for the following day. We hope you’ll be able to join us for this excellent evening of music from Callum Beaumont at  St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 21 Hackett Blvd., Albany, NY 12208

‘On Saturday, October 10, the contest will begin at 9:30 am, and the award ceremony will be held at approximately 6:30 pm. Ten of the finest Amateur pipers from across North America will be selected to play in an elite invitational contest with three events: 6/8 Marches, Piobaireachd and MSR. The contest is dedicated annually to the memory of Robert U. Brown and Robert B. Nicol. For more info, contact Barb McCarthy: 518-682-2814

trohopy-3‘On Sunday, October 11, the Nicol-Brown will host a Master Class at Celtic Hall from 10am to noon. Nicol-Brown competitors will be given the privilege of receiving instruction from Callum Beaumont, and pipers at all levels are encouraged to observe the Master Class. Topics will include musical expression, technique, and improving performances toward the professional level. Contact Maureen Connor: 518-374-6034 or email:

‘We are always looking for prizes that will be meaningful rewards for our talented competitors. Cash is especially welcome to help us with travel expenses for our judges, and for scholarships for our prizelist. The Nicol-Brown is a 501c3 organization, so your donations may be tax-deductible.

‘Please let me know if you’re interested in running an ad in the 2015 Nicol-Brown program or sending a prize for our prizelist. If you’ve been a sponsor or advertiser before, please let me know if you have any questions, and if you’ll be willing to repeat your ads and/or donations. Donations may be sent online using our PayPal button:
Checks should be made payable to Nicol-Brown ChalicePlease mail checks or prizes to:
Barb McCarthy, 5 Ascot Circle, Apt. 9,Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

‘We encourage you to help us by forwarding this email to your friends. Please consider joining us in Albany for the Nicol-Brown to see how much the weekend’s events mean to the competitors. If you are teaching young pipers, what better motivation than for them to listen to some of the best amateur pipers in North America, and one of the world’s premier pipers, Callum Beaumont? Thank you! Paula Glendinning’

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