PP Ed’s Blog: Pipe Cases/ Neil’s Run/ Glasgow Tattoo/ Band Indoors/ SA School

Noticing the advert for the new RG Hardie pipe cases I was wondering what happened to the old wooden pipe box. I mean what do pipers sit on these days when they are waiting for a bus? Sorry, I forgot; they don’t do that any more. If you turn up at your band practice in anything less than a Ford Fiesta Titanium you get frowned on.

Taking the boat to Cowal, the old case was perfect protection against sea spray and seagulls and again you always had something to sit on when the decks were packed. There was always space for your pieces too (sandwiches to you cultured types) and if the contents spilled a quick wipe and problem solved. Now its all fancy colours, fancy padding, a separate compartment for everything, chanter here, kitty litter there.

And tell me this; what do drummers practice on these days? The old upended case made a quality sound that worked perfectly with combined practice chanters. Or is that me giving my age away again? 

John Kelly, Northern Ireland, has sent this: ‘Glasgow hosted its first Tattoo with the Opening Night on Thursday 19th January, followed by performances on both Friday 20th & Saturday 21st January.  With over 600 performers taking part each night, it showcased some of the finest marching bands, musicians, and dancers from across Scotland, Ulster and Europe, in a three-hour show, building up to the Grand Finale of the massed pipe and drums.  

‘The headline act was the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines who are world-renowned for their musicianship and precision marching performance.   Their appearance marked their debut Tattoo performance in Glasgow, following their performance at The Belfast Tattoo in 2015.  Other highlights at the Glasgow Tattoo included the first UK Tattoo performance by Fascinating Drums (Germany), together with an 80-strong dance troupe of Highland dancers and Irish dancers.  The 2017 Glasgow Tattoo also featured a packed list of international and local performers.  With the playing of bagpipes, drums, brass and flute bands, precision marching, the style and grace of Highland & Irish dancers and exciting displays from European performers – The 2017 Glasgow Tattoo was a spectacular event enjoyed by young and old; something for all the family.’  See massed bands pic up top.

News of a super fundraising effort by Neil Clark of Great Glen Piping. Neil writes: ‘On 21st March last year, my mate Brian Aitchison passed away after a six month battle with Cancer. Brian was my best mate from 1981, when I first met him in the [Scots] Guards. He was really just like an extension of myself. Brian was a Falklands Vet, and latterly P/M of Newtongrange Pipe band. He taught loads of kids from his home in Gorebridge.

‘In 2016, I signed up for this thing called the 5×50 challenge, which meant I had to run five kilometres every day for 50 days. I did this in memory of Brian, and raised around £1700 for Macmillan Cancer Support. I piped the last 5k non stop from the Dobbie Hall in Larbert to Falkirk Trinity Church. It turns out one of the Macmillan Fundraising people is Shirlie Geddes, who is the wife of Chris Thomson who teaches piping in Strathspey for Highland Council. Chris was at one time, a piper in Strathclyde Police Pipe Band.  Macmillan kind of became the main charity for Great Glen Piping. The first Stirling Marathon is on 21st May this year. Then my brain got working overtime, and I thought, as a fundraiser, why not do one every month?  So… I have a Facebook page all set up…. 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Macmillan, and a Just giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Neil-Clark18

‘My target is £2000 I start with the first marathon in Blackpool on 23rd April, then: May 21st… Stirling; June 15th… Strathearn; July 30th .. Fort William; August… TBA, probably a section of the John Muir Way; September 3rd… Moray Half marathon…. twice; October 15th… Rannoch Marathon; November… Glen Ogle 33… Ultra marathon, 33 miles; Dec.. TBA; Jan  TBA; Feb TBA; March.. if it’s on… Loch Katrine Marathon.’

A fantastic effort Neil and those who knew Brian will be delighted at your work in his memory.

A very good response to our poll on capping band sizes. Results soon and if you’ve not registered your vote here’s another opportunity:[polldaddy poll=9642153]

Some dates. The Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch of the RSPBA will be holding their annual indoor band and solo drumming contests on 29th April in Coatbridge High School. Dundee Perth and Angus Branch Mini Bands, Full Bands and Open Trio Piping will be held in Craigie High School on April 22. Entry for the Lothian & Borders indoor solos and band contest non April 1 is now open. Details on how to enter all of these contests here.

Nicholas Taitz reports on a piobaireachd weekend in Jo’burg: ‘Chris Terry held a very well-attended piobaireachd school in Johannesburg over the weekend of 14 and 15 January 2017 at The View, Parktown.  The school catered to all levels of piobaireachd player, from beginners through to advanced players.   Tunes taught spanned simpler tunes for beginners, including the Massacre of Glencoe, the Glen is Mine and Corrienessan’s salute, to the King’s Taxes, Lord Lovat’s Lament, Lament for the Viscount of Dundee and the Old Men of the Shells for the more advanced. 

‘The school ended on Sunday afternoon with each attendee giving a tune on the pipes in a mock-competition format, and having comments and advice from Chris Terry and others on each performance.  On Sunday afternoon Joshua Hogg gave a spell-binding rendition of the Lament for the Viscount of Dundee which was greatly enjoyed by everyone present and which rounded off the school in fine style.  These workshops will continue throughout the year.  We are very fortunate to have this level of piobaireachd tuition available to us from Chris Terry.’

Listen to Chris playing in the PP Audio Archive. Whilst on the audio archive I noticed that the feature on Willie Lawrie had for some reason vanished from the list. app to report it is now available once more.

Finally and to re-iterate, new legislation banning trade in all products made post 1947 which contain elephant ivory is about to be enacted by the world authority on species protection, CITES. All signatory countries will, once the new regulations are on statute, no longer permit this trade. So if you have pipes that fall into that category and you wish to sell them or maybe you have your eye on such a set, then the advice is to move quickly to complete the transaction.