PP Editor’s Blog: Argylls Book/ Oban Pipe Band/New Pipe Band etc….

argyll-book-teamP/M Ian McLellan reports on progress with the new Argylls book of bagpipe music. Ian writes: ‘Hi Rab, I thought you might be interested in the above photograph of the personnel involved in compiling the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Collection of Bagpipe Music. 

‘From the left are  myself,  P/M Jimmy Banks, Captain Gordon Rowan, A & SH, Walter Cowan and James Henderson. Keeping you up to date on the progress, all the tunes have been picked and the next job is to go through the manuscripts to make sure the settings and the note values are correct before sending it to the printers for the first proof.  That should be completed sometime early in the new year. As you will know yourself, we will want everything to be spot on before we decide on a definite launch date. I will keep you informed on that.’

Thanks for that Ian. With that team behind it we know this is going to be a great production and a book every piper will want to have. As I have written before, the composers with an Argyll connection are legion: Willie Lawrie, John McLellan, Dunoon, George McIntyre, John MacColl, Ron Fleming…..the list goes on. But the book does not just contain tunes by Argylls composers. It also has many tunes written FOR Argylls and it will be particularly pleasing to me to see the tune by P/M Peter MacInnes ‘Capt. John Young, Assam Regiment’ in the book. A few years ago I ran a competition for a tune  to commemorate the incredible heroism of this Glasgow soldier, an Argyll, and Peter was the winner.jock-young

Glasgow City Council laid a plaque in the pavement outside his former home in Dryburgh Gardens in the city’s west end in 2011. I paid it a visit the other day and was disappointed to find it covered with fallen leaves and other bits of detritus. A few minutes with a heavy shoe and I had it clear and I would urge local residents to do the same each time they pass.

The plaque to Lieutenan., later Captain, John Young
The plaque to Lieutenant, later Captain, John Young

Oban Pipe Band RecruitmentP/M Euan Dewar: ‘Oban Pipe Band is currently looking to recruit experienced pipers and drummers ahead of the forthcoming season. After being crowned Scottish Champions, World Champions and Champions of Champions in 2011, the band gained promotion out of Grade 3A. It has since become an established Grade 2 band, and in its first two seasons was placed several times within the prize list at major competitions. ‘Following a transitional period last season, we have now successfully integrated a wealth of young, talented players to the ranks, who have found their feet at competition level in the grade. We now hope to strengthen both pipe and drum corps by adding a few more accomplished players to allow the band to reach its ambitions of becoming regular prize winners within the grade.

‘Although the majority of the band hail from Oban and the surrounding areas, we have a strong contingent in Dunoon and also the Glasgow area. In the lead up and during the season, the band has a practice in Oban every Tuesday night and a Sunday practice every second week. Having a Sunday session every couple of weeks is extremely beneficial to our players who need to travel. During the week the members of the band who aren’t based in Oban tend to get together in Dunoon or Glasgow respectively. During the competition season the band tends to double up practices during the week by also having a Thursday practice.

‘The band hopes to be performing a concert in the New Year, so now would be a great time to come along and learn the fresh material for the upcoming season. The concert venue is still to be confirmed. We compete at all five of the major pipe band championships, plus Gourock, Bridge of Allan and Cowal. The band also undertakes a small number of local engagements throughout the year.

‘If you are interested in joining Oban Pipe Band, then please do not hesitate to contact either myself or Bobbie Davie, the Lead Drummer.’

Pictured top is an old snap of the Oban band by renowned photographer Douglas Corrance. Can someone ID the personnel for us? The place is clearly Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and the boys have that hungry, ‘Mishnish here we come’ look about them don’t you agree!?

Oban pipe band in action
The modern-day Oban pipe band in action

News of a new pipe band forming in Glasgow. It is the idea of drummer Adam Wilson: ‘Just wondering if you’d be able to put out a post for the new People of Glasgow Pipe Band which is being set up. We are looking for players. We have just appointed a Pipe Major, and are looking to keep moving forward. We started planning at the beginning of the year. Previous bands I’ve played with are 145th Glasgow BB (not registered) and Rothesay & District Grade 4. I led the drum corps in the Boys Brigade Glasgow Battalion (where we won best BB band and best BB drum corps at Cowal), and am currently at Williamwood. We intend to compete in Grade 4B to start in 2017, with the expectation of moving into Grade 3 before or by the end of the season.

‘The practices will be in Glasgow City Centre, though a permanent venue has still to be established; practice nights will be whatever suites the players. No drums yet, but soon; uniforms not purchased yet but have been selected. They are light grey tweed, waistcoat and jacket, white shirt, muted Stuart of Bute tartan. Currently working on a tune list; we will have marches, MSR & Medley, but whether we play them all in the first year, has still to be decided. Currently have five pipers and three drummers come in just from enquiries, which is why we are looking for your help to get the word out. Anyone interested should contact this email.’


I See the Land.Re the tune ‘I See the Land’, Ewen Binnie has written: ‘Many thanks for the tune. I am from South Uist and used to work on St Kilda years ago. In the summer time we used to sail to St Kilda from Loch Carnon in South Uist through the sound of Harris where we passed all the places in the song Chi mi’n Tir.’ 
Sounds idyllic Ewen.


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