PP Ed’s Blog: Judge’s Decision/ SPA Recital/ Shotts Contest/ Poll Outcome/ QOH Names

Sunday’s decision by the Joint Committee (a committee representing judges, promoters and pipers) to ‘fully endorse’ the no pupil/judge benches dictat from the Solo Piping Judges Association really does not change a great deal in the short term. Long term it is worrying.

Though the promoters state that they ‘fully endorse’ the rule change they do not say that they will maintain an absolute ban under all circumstances. I believe they will retain the right to select benches as they see fit and will not be brought to book over their composition.

They are already doing what they can to keep everyone happy as far as is humanly possible. Switches of benches are a regular occurrence as adjudicators express their views and organisers move to accommodate their wishes. Granted there may be more pressure on the promoters now to get it right, but that will be easily solved by hiring fewer senior judges and those who have no students, a number that will soon grow thanks to this ruling.

The new stricture will be policed by the Association themselves and if this year’s competitions were anything to go by the ‘piping polis’ are going to be very busy. There were ‘conflicts’ at Oban, Inverness and  London (Gillies Cup included). I can also throw in at least three other indoor events if you like and a host of Highland games. Names and addresses on application. I don’t have a problem with any of it.

This whole exercise will prove to be a complete waste of time, will lessen the quality of benches, lead to poorer decision making and reduce the number of top-level individuals who are prepared to pass on their knowledge. The consequences of the latter will not be felt for a while perhaps but will be felt nevertheless. Far better if this diminished Association had spent their time revising their poorly structured adjudicator grading system.

Tom Johnstone, President of the Scottish Pipers’ Association, has sent this reminder:  ‘As usual our meetings are the first Friday of each month at 7.30pm so the next one is Friday 2nd December at the College of Piping. All welcome to play, listen or just chat. You may remember that the final of our knockout was held on 7th May 2016 and it should have been between John Patrick and Stuart Liddell.

‘Unfortunately John took ill and was unable to play and the contest was won by Stuart Liddell who really pushed the boat out by playing what amounted to two recitals! John has now agreed to perform a recital on Saturday 10th December. There will be a full bar available and we hope to have other piper(s) to support John.’ www.scottishpipersassociation.co.uk[wds id=”2″]

The professional season may have come a close but the kids are still hard at it. Saturday sees two contests in the central belt, the first at Craigmount High School in Edinburgh and the second the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band Junior Championship from 9am in Calderhead High School, Shotts. This is very well run by the Grade 1 band, the 2015 World Champions (pictured top) and has a terrific entry. The draws are available here. Well done to this band and their sponsors for investing so heavily in the future of piping and drumming. shotts-poster

I forgot all about our poll on the William Grant Foundation (sponsors of the Glenfiddich Championship etc.) and how they spend their money. Interesting results, with two-thirds of respondents saying they should do more for our youngsters. Here, here, to that. Given the money they have lavished on the top professionals over the years I think it is surprising the number of readers who felt they ‘needed all the support they could get’. Here are the stats:poll

Thanks to Jimmy Stout for identifying the Queen’s Own Pipe Corps for us: The Pipe Corps l-r is: Pipe Major Nicky Gordon, Bruce Hitchings, John MacDonald, Gordon Thow, David MacKenzie, Neil Finlayson, Donny Peacock, John MacDonald, Alasdair Gillies, Paul Kellett, Jim Elliot, David Sutherland, Peter Fraser, Roddy McCourt, Ally Reese.qoh