PP Editor’s Blog: White House Honour/ Craig Sutherland/ Easter School/ Drum Major Hughes

Happy  St Patrick’s Day to everyone. John Kelly in Northern Ireland has sent this from his local paper: A local piper helped kick off the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the USA by playing at a special event hosted by President Barack Obama.  Grahame Harris, from Templepatrick, was among a small group of musicians from the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland invited to play at a lunch hosted by Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day festivities in Washington DC. 

Delighted….Grahame Harris of Maj. Sinclair Mem.

‘The 23-year-old and his fellow musicians accepted the last-minute invite from Mr Obama to play a special programme of Irish music at the St Patrick’s reception in the White House on Tuesday afternoon (March 15).  Grahame, Director of Music with the Ballyclare-based Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band, has been a member of the youth orchestra since 2006. After taking a break while studying for his mathematics degree at Imperial College, London, he returned to the orchestra in 2014.  Grahame said: ‘I only heard about the invite on Tuesday afternoon (March 8) to say there was a possibility that we could be playing at the White House this week. I was asked if I’d be interested in going and I jumped at the chance. It was very much a last-minute call, but it’s a call I’m delighted I got.’  A group of just 12 musicians – Grahame on Highland pipes, a uilleann piper and 10 violinists – from the 100-strong youth orchestra were chosen for the US trip. They performed a special programme of 18 pieces of music in the library at the White House as the President and Vice President welcomed around 600 guests, including a number of foreign dignitaries, to the reception.’

Allan Sutherland is rightly proud of his son Craig’s progress up the piping ladder. Craig, P/Sgt at the Vale of Atholl when I last looked and pictured top, qualified for the former winners MSR at Oban last year for the first time after winning both the March and S/R in 2014 – no mean feat. Allan has sent on Craig’s performance from the Corran Halls last August and although he didn’t figure in the prizes, I am sure you will agree he played very well:

Iain Wood, centre, with Jimmy Banks, left, and P/M Angus MacDonald
Iain Wood, centre, with Jimmy Banks, left, and P/M Angus MacDonald

Re my query on Scots Guardsman Iain Wood, Neil Clark has sent this: ‘I don’t know Iain Wood, but through the SG network he is alive and well and living in Glasgow. He’s on Facebook, and is a regular poster.’

scottish schools pipes and drums trust logoLee Moore has sent this about his forthcoming Easter School in East Lothian: We are holding a five-day piping and drumming workshop at Cockenzie and Port Seton Royal British Legion. The workshop is open to all young pipers/chanter players, snare drummers and bass and tenor drummers in East Lothian.

The Bagpipes/Chanter and Snare Drumming will run from Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April, 10am – 3pm at a cost of £75. The Bass and Tenor Drumming will run from Wednesday 30 March – Friday 1 April, 10am – 3pm. Tutors for the workshop will be the Preston Lodge team of tutors, Lee Moore and Eilidh Alexander (Pipes), Simon Grant (Snare Drum) and Rachel Cook (Tenor and Bass Drums).

Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust will consider helping out those in financial need and applications for help will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Please contact Paul Heward on paul.heward@sspdt.org.uk to enquire about financial help.

There will be a short performance on the Friday at 4pm for friends and family when the pupils will be able to show off their skills. Refreshments will be provided for break times and pupils should bring a packed lunch. Please return the booking slip and permissions slip with a deposit of £15, cheques made payable to Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust to: Lee Moore, Preston Lodge High School, Park View,Prestonpans EH32 9QJ. Early booking is advised as places are limited. Closing Date – 21 March 2016.

SSPDT are grateful to the Cockenzie & Port Seton RBL for once again providing us with an excellent venue free of charge.
More info: L. Moore:  07720261306/ bagpipetutoring@gmail.com.

Download the ELPDT Booking Form

D/M Hughes in one of his last engagements leading the RHF Pipes and Drums in Berlin in 1985 after 21 years service

Pipe Major Gordon Walker has been in touch to say that he is playing at the funeral of an old comrade, D/M Ronnie Hughes Snr., 1st Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers, this Saturday (March 19).

Gordon says the service will start at 9.30am at Craigton Crematorium (G52 1SJ) 10 minutes from Cardonald train station in Glasgow. A reception will be held afterwards in the Neptune Social Club (G51 1QP) to which all mourners are welcome.