PP Ed’s Blog: Joe Rafferty, Darach & Helen/ RSPS/ W Storm/ Robert Turner

George Barlow in the US has asked for information on P/M Joe Rafferty:

‘Could you please check this with your readership. At the annual competition at Inchdrewer House the Army School has a piobaireachd award named after Pipe Major Joe Rafferty whom I met in the 1980s when the Black Watch was on tour here. The P/Sgt. was Alex Brown whom I saw on YouTube doing a recruitment film for the regiment and who is now a captain. I’ve been trying to find out whatever became of P/M Rafferty.’

As far as I know Joe was, until fairly recently, the highly regarded piping tutor at Fettes College in Edinburgh. Any update would be gratefully received.

Darach, Helen and ring with the mystical pools in the background

Congratulations to leading piper Darach Urquhart and his bride-to-be Helen on the announcement of their engagement. I hear that Darach got down on the bended knee at the Fairy Pools at Carbost on a rainy Skye. The pools are meant to bring good fortune to whomsoever goes there to touch the water. Knowing them both, I am sure their happiness is guaranteed anyway.

Darach’s most recent piping success came when he won the Ram’s Horn Snuff Mull at the London Championship (see picture up top).

rsps logoFrom the archives –  results from the May 1980 ‘International Piper Magazine’:

Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society Annual Competition
P/M WILLIAM ROSS CUP – for most points: RAS Frater
6/8 March: (Ross-shire Buff’s and Duke of Albany’s Trophy)
1 N Mulvie, Angus McKinnon, 2 NA Malcolm-Smith, Leaving Port Askaig, 3 JJ Burnet, Major John MacLennan
Senior Member’s March: (Society’s Silver Cigar Box)
1 J Campbell, Miss Elspeth Campbell, 2 SE Bell, Mrs MacDonald of Dunach, 3 TAM Watson, Atholl & Breadalbane Gathering
JIG: (Frank Adam Silver Cup) 1 N Mulvie, Allan MacPherson of Mosspark, 2 LM Craig, The Curlew, 3 RAS Frater, Donald MacLennan’s Tuning Phrase
Slow March (Westminster Quaich) 1 AR Forbes, Leaving St Kilda 2 N Mulvie, Fair Maid of Barra,  3 FG McLaren, Shoreline of Lewis
Piobaireachd 1 RAS Frater, Big Spree  2 AR Forbes, Lament for Mary MacLeod 3 N Mulvie, Corrienessan’s Salute 4  LM Craig Lament for Mary MacLeod
MSR (Society’s Challenge Cup) 1 RAS Frater, Mrs John MacColl, John Roy Stewart, Lexie MacAskill 2 AR Forbes, John MacMillan of Barra, Arniston Castle, John MacDonald’s Reel 3 LM Craig, Taking of Beaumont Hamel, Shepherd’s Crook, Rej. Suitor

[wds id=”2″]I believe RAS Frater is Robert Frater who has recently re-joined the amateur competing ranks after a few years out of piping. He is not to be confused with his sibling JKS Frater another top amateur piper. Both enjoy knocking lumps out of each other on the competition board and play to a standard which would please their late father, the respected amateur player and adjudicator Dr R Frater, a regular on benches at all the major gatherings in the 1970s and early 80s.

SE Bell is Sheriff Stewart Bell who used to glower down at the press benches from his lofty perch at the old Glasgow Sheriff Court in Ingram Street. Sheriff Bell was feared by the reporters almost as much as he was by the multitudes he consigned to enjoy Her Majesty’s hospitality at Barlinnie Prison. In my time, Glasgow Sheriff Court was reputed to be the second busiest in Europe (maybe still is) and no doubt Sheriff Bell saw his piping as a welcome release of an evening.

AR Forbes and N Mulvie are both prominent judges on the solo scene today and also make important administrative contributions to piping. Alan Forbes is the Piping Convenor at the Northern Meeting and Secretary of the Piobaireachd Society’s Music Committee. Neil Mulvie has taken over the late Angus Nicol‘s duties at the Highland Society of London.

Many will remember LM Craig, Dr Leslie Craig, a pupil of Donald MacLeod and formally a GP (General Practitioner) round Inveraray way. He was actively involved in the local games and a stalwart of the Glasgow Highland Club too.

The draw for the Winter Storm contest in Kansas has been announced here.

Great to see a contest down in NZ honouring my old 214 and Muirheads mucker Robert Turner. He deserves all the recognition that comes his way. In his day Robert was always accused by judges of ‘cramming’ – being too technical with his drum scores. In that sense he was ahead of his time. The complex beatings of today are just what he was doing 50 years ago but never got any credit for. Anyway, here are the results of the recent contest down in Waipu:

1 thought on “PP Ed’s Blog: Joe Rafferty, Darach & Helen/ RSPS/ W Storm/ Robert Turner

  1. Joe is now in semi retirement, his post had been taken by Cameron Drummond. I believe at least of last academic year he was still teaching part time, however Fettes might have found him a replacement to allow him to go into full retirement. Fantastic teacher whiles I was there 5/6 years ago.

    He left the army in the 90s, if I remember correctly, as WO1 Senior P/M ASBMHD.

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