PP Editor’s Blog: New England Academy/ UK Champs/Tune Search/BB/Rod McFadyen

The New England Pipe and Drum Academy began last night with a two-hour workshop at the Clan MacPherson band’s practice. They’re going to the Worlds to play in G4b. I spent some time with them going through their tunes on practice chanters and then sorting pipes.

They have been good supporters of the Academy but the cost of going to Scotland has meant many of them couldn’t attend individually this year. They will be back in 2017. This year’s classes start today.

The school is based at Adelynrood a religious retreat north of Boston and the ladies who run it have made us very welcome. They tell me that after the American Revolution US Episcopalian Bishops could not be ordained in England where they had to swear allegiance to the King, so they had it done in Aberdeen and therefore they, the ladies, felt the presence of bagpipes in their centre quite apt.

Looking at the lists for the UK Championships at Stormont I think it would be remiss not to mention the good showings for Scottish Power and the the Spirit of Scotland bands in Grade 1. The Power made it back into the top three and the Spirit improved on their fifth place at the British to take fourth. An outstanding performance by them – and by Jim Kilpatrick and his corps to take the drumming. In Grade 2 we had the Police Service of Northern Ireland coming out on top again, and according to all reports sounding like they could be on the way to Grade 1. And what about Glasgow Skye? Second in the grade and winning the drumming – and this against very good outfits such as Lomond & Clyde, Johnstone and Buchan Peterson. This season just gets more interesting by the day and well done to all of these bands.

SPA President Tom Johnstone has passed on the sad news of Rod McFadyen’s Rod McFadyen copy 2passing. Tom:

‘Sorry to report the death of Rod McFadyen [pictured] who played with the London-based British Caledonian Airways band for many years. He died on Saturday (June 4) and had been suffering from prostate cancer. Rod was a larger than life character and worked in the newspaper printing industry all his life.’

Rod was indeed larger than life. He enjoyed attending the Bratach Gorm each November and he and I would often spend time swapping newspaper stories. Rod had printing ink in his veins as they say, and was with The Times/ Sunday Times through the turmoil of the Murdoch era. Condolences to his family.

The picture up top shows Rod in the B. Cal standing to the right of the bass drum. Far left is Pipe Major Robert Richardson. To his right can be spotted Ronnie MacShannon.

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New letter posted today about a search for a tune called the Menzies March. Read it here.

army school logoMajor Steven Small of the Army School has sent this: ‘A team from the Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drumming took part in this year’s Moon Walk (June 11) to show support for those soldiers and their spouses and families affected by cancer. Please help us to beat this dreadful disease – any help will be gratefully received. Anything you give will make a huge difference. Thank you in advance. You can donate here:
www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TheTrippleBs (Breasts, Bass drums and Birls).

Those like myself with an interest in the Boys Brigade may like to have a look at this story of their Beating the Retreat in Edinburgh.
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uspf logoMike Rogers of the US Piping Foundation has sent this: ‘The United States Piping Foundation (USPF) is pleased to announce that once again the USPF Maclean Macleod Memorial Piping Championship, to be held on Saturday 18 Jun 2016, will be the North American qualifier for the MacCrimmon Trophy competition. This year’s event will be held at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany on August 7th 2016. The Festival Interceltique de Lorient (https://www.facebook.com/festival.interceltique.lorient) will provide the overall USPF Professional Champion an invitation to compete, as well as airfare and accommodation for the trip to Lorient, Brittany. The MacCrimmon competition takes place during the Festival Interceltique, which runs from 5-14 August 2016 in Lorient.

‘The aim of the MacCrimmon competition is to encourage top pipers to explore the piping traditions of Scotland, Ireland, and Brittany by requiring competitors play three medleys, one from each of three piping traditions (Breton, Irish, and Scottish), not to exceed six minutes each.’