PP Editor’s Blog: Wheel of Fortune/ Falkirk Piping/ RSPBA Entries/ S. Florida Expands/ Pipes Donated

Get along to the Wheel of Fortune contest this afternoon if you can. Top class solo piping in a relaxed and good-humoured atmosphere guaranteed.   The pipers are Finlay Johnston, Douglas Murray, Callum Beaumont, Chris Armstrong, Angus Nicholson, Brian Lamond, Jonathan Greenlees and Alasdair Henderson. Venue is Danderhall Miners Club south of Edinburgh.

Neil Clarke of the Falkirk Trinity Piping Society has sent this:
‘The Society is very much in its infancy, having had our first weekly practice night in Falkirk Trinity Church, Falkirk High Street, on 2nd February 2016. Classes will continue every Tuesday at the Church between 6 and 9, and are split into three 55 min sessions, at a cost of £5.

‘The aim is purely to teach bagpipes to persons of all ages and abilities, with a specific focus on young people. In the near future, pupils will be encouraged towards solo competition. Local bands support this project, and existing band players are welcome to attend, but Falkirk Trinity PS  is not a band!

‘Instructors John Cameron and myself are Piping and Drumming Qualified teachers and current professional graded solo competing pipers. In 1781, Falkirk was the venue for the first Prize Pipe competition, the forerunner of the Gold Medal competition of today. We would like to see the town continue to be an area renowned for quality piping, and run the classes with this long-term goal in mind. All welcome, whether prospective student, existing piper, or visitor. Before attending, please contact myself on 07796926556, or at info@greatglenpiping.com

Gordon Walker is in recital at the Scots Guards Club at Haymarket, Edinburgh, tomorrow from 4pm; tickets are £10 and include a curry after the performance. More great piping in the capital.

Lots of entry forms now available on the RSPBA website. I hope as many bands as possible will get out and support the smaller contests, not only the majors. Some of these wee contests have been struggling of late and I feel there is a responsibility on bands, especially those in the upper grades, to do their bit to help keep them going. They are where many of us cut our teeth in the piping/pipe band game. Use them or lose them as the cliché goes.
Playing requirements for the Majors here.

engrave-practice-chanterWe have 40 confirmed students for the second annual South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy in 10 days or so, and Matt Pantaleoni from St Louis, Missouri (pictured top), has agreed to join us at late notice as our fourth piping instructor. Organiser Noah Morrissette said: ‘We have added more students than expected, and as promised are keeping the student to teacher ratio low.  We will sell out, and we are bringing another piping instructor in.  We are dedicated to making this the best school possible. We have room for one more piper, two more chanter students, three more snare drummers, and four more tenor and/or bass drummers.  Last minute sign ups may not be available, register NOW!’

Sponsor McCallum Bagpipes have given the Academy  a beautiful engraved African blackwood practice chanter (left). This will be presented to the most promising piping student with a similar prize for the most promising drummer. Other very generous sponsors of the Academy are RT Shepherd, William Sinclair, David Naill & Co, G1 Reeds and Pipe Dreams reeds.

Can’t make Florida? Sign up now for the New England Piping & Drumming Academy next June. Dates are June 14 -18 inclusive, and the venue is once more the beautiful, peaceful Adelynrood Retreat.

I hope the Scottish Schools Pipe & Drum Trust have been successful with their appeal for old pipes for their young learners. Here’s one story that appeared in Glasgow’s ‘Herald’ newspaper (thanks to Alex McNair for sending it on):

‘A CAMPAIGN to find old or unused bagpipes to train young musicians has received a donation from more than 4,000 miles away. Andi Gamblin, from Kansas in the US, saw an appeal from the Scottish Schools Pipes & Drums Trust’s bagpipe amnesty on Facebook and quickly arranged for her Kintail pipes to be sent 4,227 miles from her home to Edinburgh. Ms Gamblin, 44, has no direct Scottish roots but has been piping for the last 15 years, and trav­elled across the US playing with various pipe bands. She currently plays with Kansas City St Andrews Pipes and Drums and said she wanted to donate her first set of bagpipes to help young people try the instrument. The donation adds to 14 sets of bagpipes and drums that have been handed into the trust since the appeal launch on Burns Night. Ms Gamblin said: “Piping can help change young people’s lives for· the better, so I think a bagpipe amnesty is fantastic.’  Scan