PP Ed’s Blog: Live in Ireland/ Angus Nicol/Wallace Success/ RSPBA Results/ South Florida

live-back-in-ireland-logoThe Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA have sent this: ‘Live ‘back’ in Ireland 87 Concert at Belfast Waterfront Hall –  30 years ago, the soon-to-be World Champion Pipe Band, Toronto-based, 78th Fraser Highlanders performed and recorded the now-legendary ‘Live in Ireland’ concert. An all-star cast of guest players along with many of the original performers are once again coming together, for the final time, to celebrate the music of that extraordinary mid-August evening in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI) are proud to announce that the ‘Live ‘back’ in Ireland 87’ show will be staged on Saturday, 25th February 2017 at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. Tickets will be available from Monday 21st November 2016 on the Waterfront’s website. People wishing to buy tickets in person should do so from the Box Office, Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast. Music from that seminal concert, and subsequent recording, will be performed and celebrated – including composer Don Thompson’s evergreen piece, ‘Journey to Skye’. The band will be led by Pipe Major Bill Livingstone and Leading Drummer J. Reid Maxwell along with a large group from the original Ballymena team including Michael Grey.

‘Among those guests joining the cast of the show are Glenn Brown (Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia), Stephen Creighton (St Laurence O’Toole), Ian Duncan (Vale of Atholl), Stuart Liddell (Inveraray & District), Ian K MacDonald, Sean McKeown (Toronto Police), Steven McWhirter (Inveraray & District), Duncan Nicholson (Glasgow Police), Richard Parkes, MBE (Field Marshal Montgomery), Alen Tully, Terry Tully (St Laurence O’Toole) and Ross Walker (Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia), Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE remarked: ‘I was among the lucky ones who attended the great Ballymena concert; this music in many ways stayed with me and certainly had an influence on my own pipe band thinking. I’m genuinely excited to be a part of this project.’

This will be a not to be missed night and if it is anywhere close to being as good as the Glasgow show then the ticket price is a bargain. Read my review here. The picture up top shows P/M Livingstone leading the band at the Glasgow concert.


angus-feat-imAs promised we have now published the late Angus Nicol’s article on Gaelic pronunciation of some pipe tunes. I would suggest all piobaireachd players have a look and listen. Angus and his beautiful diction live on. Click here.


Craig Munro of one of our advertisers, Wallace Bagpipes, has been in touch: ‘Hi Rab. I’m not sure how much you’d class this as news but I’m extremely proud of the fact as of Monday this week our order capacity for 2016 is completely full, we can’t physically make anymore pipes! It’s a great position to be in when your capacity is full with seven weeks left to go. For me, it confirms our deserved presence in the marketplace through hard work, pride & determination in all that we do at Wallace Bagpipes.’wallace


Results of the RSPBA West of Scotland Branch’s Graeme Johnston contest on Sat 12th November were as follows:

Event 1 14yrs and under
1st Ross Conner – Kintyre Schools
2nd Luke Kennedy – Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia
3rd Brodie Watson-Massey – George Heriots School

Event 2 15 to 18yrs
1st Jordan Ednie – Mackenzie Caledonia
2nd Jamie Niall Campbell – Johnstone Pipe Band
3rd Holly Fredlander – City of Edinburgh Pipe Band

Willie Ferguson Memorial Competition
1st Holly Fredlander – City of Edinburgh Pipe Band (Lothian and Borders Branch)
2nd Jordan Ednie – Mackenzie Caledonia (Dundee, Perth and Angus Branch) 
3rd Luke Shearer – North Lanarkshire Schools (Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch)


south florida logoNoah Morrissette of the South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy has sent this: ‘The holidays are upon us…soon the Academy will be too! What are you hoping to get for the holidays? Are you crossing your fingers for something to collect dust in your closet, or perhaps an opportunity to become a better musician? The gift of a solid musical education is always a good choice!  So, join us in February for a pipe/drum education that can’t be beat! You will clean up those embellishments, learn that tricky part of the tune you have been practicing all year, learn tuning techniques from the pros, instrument maintenance, play with a mass band comprised of pipers and drummers from all over, and in the end become a better musician! The price of the academy will remain $400 until December 31. The price will increase to $450 after January 1st.

‘From the first two years of the academy we have learned that there are a lot more entry-level pipers/drummers here in South Florida than there has been at other schools our instructors have taught at. This is not a bad thing! This means that our new pipers are learning the correct ways to play, and they are excelling much faster and more proficient than anyone would have expected. Our first academy, which took place in March of 2015 was the first time a few pipers ever touched a set of bagpipes. Recently, only a year and a half later, one of those pipers played flawlessly for hundreds of people at a funeral of someone he knew. Any piper will tell you playing solo at an event such as friend’s funeral is difficult. South Florida Pipe and Drum Academy gives you the knowledge to correctly learn tunes, play the tunes, keep time, tune your instrument, and the knowledge to know that you sound good, and the confidence to play for the world.

‘This year we would like to tailor the learning experience to giving the students information for the year…perhaps too much information to process during the week. At the end of the week you’ll be better, but you’ll also have the knowledge as to what you need to work on, and how to achieve that next level. We have all the same instructors returning this year.  Due to a huge number of student registrations last year, we had to hire an additional piping instructor last minute. This year we are limiting the number of pipe and drum students so we don’t have to do that again, and expect to sell out. If you are planning on attending, please register and pay. If you are being sponsored, please register and email us your payment situation.

Registration is now open.  Please don’t wait until last minute to sign up. As of now, we have already had multiple people sign up, and we expect to sell out.  We look forward to seeing everyone in February!’