PP Editor’s Blog: UK Champs Draw/ Willie Lawrie/ PP Audio Archive/ SPA KO

The draw for the UK Pipe Band Championships in Belfast on June 11 has been posted on the RSPBA website. First on in Grade 1 are Dowco Triumph Street from Canada. I presume they are giving the Worlds a miss this year given the expense involved in getting to Stormont two months before. 

If this is the case it is a loss to Glasgow Green. This band is always very impressive there and often I have felt that they did not get the credit they deserved. Always as smart as paint too. They’ll be missed.

Grade 1 judges at the UKs are Donald MacPhee, John Wilson, Alex Dudgeon, John Moles. It is not so long ago that we saw big Donald and Field Marshal marching from the Green with another Worlds title under the waistbelt. Credit to Donald, and all our adjudicators,  for putting something back.

With the British at Paisley only a fortnight away they will be glad to get back to real pipe band business after the recent controversy. Get the rest of the UK draw here.

A rare shot of Willie Lawrie pictured during WW1
A rare shot of Willie Lawrie pictured during WW1

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, pipes belonging to the composer of the famous retreat march of the same name, Willie Lawrie, have been flown to London where they will form part of a poignant memorial in the Guards Museum at Wellington Barracks (see picture up top).

Ordinarily P/M Lawrie’s pipes and medals can be seen in a special display at the Argylls Museum, Stirling Castle, to where they will return after the London sojourn. The museum is well worth a visit.

Willie Lawrie's WW1 campaign medals
Willie Lawrie’s WW1 campaign medals

Willie Lawrie, P/M of the 8th Argylls,  died after the battle from injuries he received in the trenches. He was only 35. He was one of the greatest ever composers for the bagpipe and, in addition to the  Battle of the Somme, gave us Inveraray Castle, John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Castle, Braes of Brecklet, Pap of Glencoe, Mrs MacDonald of Dunach and many other fine works.

P/M Lawrie won the Oban and Inverness Gold Medals in the same year, 1910, one of the few to achieve this feat. He had been taught by his father and John MacColl, another outstanding Argyllshire composer.

On display...Willie Lawrie's pipes in the Argylls Museum
On display…Willie Lawrie’s pipes in the Argylls Museum. They look like a set of silver and ivory RG Lawrie pipes or perhaps Henderson

Check out this video from Forces TV for the full story on the pipes and their ceremonial handover. The film clip has a nice scene of a Guards piper playing at P/M Lawrie’s grave in his native Ballachulish.

The PP Audio Archive is just short of 10,000 plays since its launch in November 2014. The archive features some band stuff and a lot of solo piping both of ceol mor and ceol beag. We will continue to add to what we believe to be an interesting resource in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any clips you would like to share with our thousands of readers worldwide then please forward them to the usual address.

John MacFadyen...Top of the Pops
John MacFadyen…top of the hit parade

Top of the pops is John MacFadyen’s rendering of Too Long in this Condition, closely followed by Donald MacPherson then Jimmy McIntosh. Here’s the top 20:

1   John MacFadyen – Too Long In This Condition 503 plays
2   Donald MacPherson 487 plays
3   Jimmy McIntosh – Lament for the Children 485 plays
4   Alasdair Gillies in Recital 475 plays
5   Captain Andrew Pitkeathly Plays Light Music 330 plays
6   John MacDougall – Former Winners MSR, Oban  322 plays
7   Bob Brown: MSR 313 plays
8   P/M Donald MacLeod Jigs 306 plays
9   Angus MacColl MSR, 2015, Oban 305 plays
10  Chris Terry: The Glen Is Mine 295 plays
11  John MacDonald, Inverness – Lament for Patrick Og 294 plays
12  Robert Wallace: Company’s Lament 285 plays
13  Robert Reid: MSR 272 plays
14  Donald MacPherson – Lady MacDonald’s Lament 259 plays
15  Muirhead & Sons, York University 1978 – MSR 259 plays
16  Donald MacPherson, MSR, Oban, Early 1970s 236 plays
17  Govan Police PB: first ever pipe band recording 214 plays
18  Robert Wallace: MacDougall’s Gathering 213 plays
19  Jimmy McIntosh, Earl of Seaforth’s Salute 212 plays
20  Lament for the Children, J McDonald, Inverness 193 plays

Like all resources on Piping Press, the audio archive is completely free to all readers and made possible by your support for our advertisers and the Piping Press Shop.

Don’t forget tonight’s SPA KO final at the College of Piping from 7pm where Stuart Liddell takes on the holder John Patrick. Bar and refreshments, raffle.

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