PP Editor’s Blog: Willie’s Funeral/ Willie Ross/ Frazer’s Gesture/New Letters etc.

P1000311The funeral of Willie McCallum Senior will be held on Saturday, 16 April, at 1pm at Highland Parish Church, Campbeltown. 

Willie (87) passed away after collapsing after attending the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Willie was an unfailing servant of piping, though not a player himself. He was instrumental in establishing the Kintyre Piping Society and dedicated himself to its promotion over a 60 year period.

The address of the church is Highland Parish Church, New Quay St., Campbeltown PA28 6BN.map to church

Two new letters published today, the first from the US Coastguard on our series on the funeral of US President John F Kennedy and another searching for information on P/M Davie Black MBE BEM. Read the JFK articles here and the letters here.

We are a sucker at Piping Press for old newspaper cuttings about piping – and judging by the response to the one on Roddy and Kenny MacDonald, so are our readers. Up top is a picture of Willie Ross and his Army Class which I think is from the Scotsman and must date from either the 1940s or 50s. The caption reads: Pipe Major Ross teaches his class the rudiments of piping. Here, the men, five Scots and a Canadian, are receiving preliminary training on the chanter. Pipe-Major William Ross, doyen of pipe majors and world famous wherever bagpipes blow, first fingered the chanter in Glenstrathfarrar some 66 years ago. Today he rules as Principal of the Army School of Piping perched high on the topmost tip of Edinburgh Castle where the Army sends its pipers and Pipe Majors to learn just a little more of their art from the man whose life has been all Army and all piping. Pipe Major Ross joined the Scots Guards in 1895; he was a pipe major in 1903 serving through the Boer and Great Wars, and taking his Edinburgh appointment in 1919. Not only Scots come up the steep High Street and climb the winding turret stone stair to the band hall to attend these classes – run by the Army and the Piobaireachd Society jointly – Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans, even Russians, are also interested. The School of Piping, the only one of its kind in the world, is a joint effort to keep the art alive.

Grateful for any info on those in the pic.

frazer leafletFrazer Warnock, the well-known and successful reedmaker from Northern Ireland, has initiated a generous scheme which will benefit two of his local charities. Frazer will donate 20% of the proceeds from the sales of his popular silicon blowstick valves to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital – where his sons received neonatal care – and to a breast cancer charity. See the leaflet above and well done Frazer.

As reported the first major of the season is the British at Paisley but before that there is band action out east with the RSPBA Lothian and Borders Branch Solos and Full Band Competition – James Young High School – Livingston this Saturday (April 16) and next month RSPBA Lothian and Borders Branch Full Band Competition – Dunbar (May 14). Also on the 14th are contests at Kinross and Bangor, NI. Before that we have Gourock on May 8th (seems very early this year).  Please support these contests if you can. Get full details of all pipe band contests in Pipe Band Magazine and check out the majors here.