PP Editor’s Blog: Band Majors/ Herald Story/ Letter/ SPA

Calling all band secretaries: a substantial number of pipe band contest entry forms are now available. These include those for all the major championships. You can access the forms via the events calendar on the RSPBA website. Please don’t forget the minor contests. They need your support.

Hard to believe that it is only seven weeks or so to the first major, British, at the new venue at Paisley. If you don’t already know them, here are the dates of all the 2016 Major Championships:

May 21 – British at Paisley
June 11 – UKs at Stormont
June 25 – Europeans at Forres
July 30 – Scottish at Dumbarton
Aug 12/13 – Worlds at Glasgow Green

Just to remind everyone, the April edition of Pipe Band Magazine will be available a week from now via the RSPBA website.

Don’t forget the Kingdom Thistle solos this weekend in Fife or the RSPBA  Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway Branch solos and full band contest. Click on the links for info and draws.

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The nationalist-leaning Herald newspaper had a feature the other day on piping. The writer, Ron McKenna, lamented the lack of piping tuition in our state schools: ‘You’re lucky if there is a pipe band near you. But what about in school? Well, there are schools pipe band championships doing great work, and pushing bands in schools, but..apparently they’re pretty much privately funded by pretty much one person. The Scottish state? It’s promotion of our culture into our children’s lives? Hmm.

The far travelled Sgoil Lionacleit from Benbecula in the Western isles
Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band from Benbecula in the Western isles

‘There are however, just shy of 300 teachers of strings, percussion and guitar in Scottish schools. Almost 180 of them violin teachers. Chanter or pipes? Just 34 teachers for around 700,000 pupils. And they’re seldom seen in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Councils push kids to learn instruments that they have teachers for. But why do they not have teachers for the pipes? In Scotland? Nicola? We should be told.’

Well done to Mr McKenna and his paper for taking up the cause.

Sandy Hain in Ohio has sent us a short letter and some photographs including the one up top up of him playing at Edinburgh Castle. It was taken as a publicity shot for the Black Watch’s tour of the US in 1957. Read the letter and see Sandy’s other pics here.

Due to a small entry, President Tom Johnstone has announced that Saturday’s Scottish Pipers’ Association Adult Amateur/ Veterans competition will now start at 12 noon instead of 10am. Venue is the College of Piping.

Some free press for the South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy. Check it out here.

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