PP Ed’s Blog: Inveraray-Kemper Concert/ Jimmy on Camel/ Poll Findings/ David Murray

The big event today is the joint Celtic Connections concert being given by Stuart Liddell’s Inveraray & District Pipe and Bagad Kemper from Brittany, France.

Tickets have sold very well and there will be a large crowd at the event which kicks off at 12.30pm in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, but some places are still available. Here’s the link.

Writing about Jimmy Anderson last week I forgot to mention his time as a piping instructor in Oman many years ago. Let’s just say neither the pipers nor the camels were quite the same again. Here the bold Anderson charms the beasts with a tune, the ‘Camels are Coming’ of course.

Our poll on pipe band sizes showed an overwhelming vote in favour of some restriction on the number of pipers that should be permitted in any competing band. More than half, 53%, said a cap was necessary and would produce more quality bands, with a further 19% calling for a ‘slight pruning’. Added together 72% of respondents felt something needed to be done.

Nothing of course will come of it. The one thing the pipe band movement abhors above all else is change. Like so many things it will take the Americans or Canadians to successfully trial such a rule before we contemplate it here. The fact is that the most powerful bands are the winning bands. It follows that they will be extremely reluctant to change anything that could compromise their success.

It is one of the weaknesses of the RSPBA that they only legislate at the bands’ behest. This is as it should be, but there are times when the Chief Executive or Chairman should have the power to institute change as he sees fit. He then stands or falls on the success or otherwise of that change.

Capping the sizes of  bands would unquestionably benefit the wider movement and our readers agree. Without it bands will always covet the best players and strive to get as many as possible on their ‘books’. Whether they all get a game is another matter. Judges are listening for lapses in unison all the time – unison that is all the more difficult to maintain the larger the band. So perhaps this musically ‘organic’ cap will keep the numbers of pipers performing in the arena at around the 25 mark.

Pleasing to see the national press recognising the passing of Lt. Col. David Murray. This obituary appeared in the Daily Telegraph where I’ve left a comment: