PP Ed’s Blog: Ian’s Birthday/ Florida Sell Out/ New Piobaireachd/ Patrick Mor

Firstly congratulations to P/M Ian McLellan BEM on his 80th birthday. It hardly seems anytime at all that we used to see him marching off with his brilliant Strathclyde Police Pipe Band and yet another Worlds trophy. Ian remains the most successful Worlds winner of all time though the equally brilliant Richard Parkes and FMM are running him close.

Whatever; no one can change history and the music Ian’s band produced and the aplomb with which they achieved their success will not be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

Ian (pictured above in his heyday) is still a very active solo adjudicator (the RSPBA has an age restriction of 75 or he would probably still be doing bands too) and is one of the editors of the new Argylls book of music due to be published this summer at Piping Live. You can read much more about Ian in our Famous Pipers column here and have a listen to his band here:

Those so inclined may like to leave a birthday wish at the bottom of this column. Many happy returns maestro.


Congratulations too to Noah Morrissette and his team at the sell-out South Florida Pipe and Drum Academy which takes place in Boca Raton in two weeks time. Noah has sent this: ‘Two weeks ago I sent a message saying if you have been thinking about coming to the pipe and drum academy, now was the time to register.  Well…..the bagpiper and chanter classes have sold out, the tenor and bass classes have sold out, and we only have ONE snare spot left in that class. We have closed out the registration on the website. If you would like to have the last seat available at the 2017 South Florida Pipe and Drum Academy, email us at PipeAndDrumAcademy@gmail.com to sign up!’

This will be our third annual Academy in Florida and my fellow instructors, Barry Donaldson, Matt Pantaleoni, Donald McBride, Tommy Johnston and Andrew Adams are all looking forward to yet another rewarding week in the sun. The aim is to create a critical mass of well-taught pipers and drummers who can go back to their bands and spread the word about correct technique, tuning, band craft, maintenance and all the many other aspects of pipe banding and solo work that we take for granted but which are so important for the novice.

The curriculum followed is from Bagpipe Tutor Books 1 -3 and RSPBA Structured Learning and a full range of PDQB/SQA exams is available for students. Sincere thanks to our main sponsors David Naill & Co, Pipe Dreams, Chris Apps Reeds, Tyler Fry and RT Shepherd & Sons.



New letter today about a new piece of ceol mor composed by Janette Montague. Read it here.


The ‘King’s Hand’ event as depicted by artist Fyffe Christie in the mural in the College of Piping, Glasgow

Reader Brian Devine: ‘I was half-listening to a Gaelic radio programme a few years ago when the commentator related a story which has stayed in my head ever since. He told of a piper playing before a King and being asked why he had not removed his bonnet when doing so. The reply was: ‘A king does not remove his bonnet before another king’ – or words to the effect that they were equal as he, himself, came from a royal line, or clan. I should be very grateful for any information regarding the anecdote! Which clan was it and which king? If you have the story in any of your back issues I should be very glad to buy that/those magazine(s). Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you,’

The incident the commentator was referring to Brian was probably pre-Battle of Worcester in 1651 when Patrick Mor MacCrimmon (part of the Highland army on the Royalist side in the English Civil War) is said to have been in the presence of King Charles ll. Etiquette required that Patrick Mor remove his headgear but he refused saying that he was ‘King of Pipers’, an equal, and had no need so to do. Rather than have him carted off, strangled by his drone cords and hung by his privates, HRH seemed rather pleased. He called P Mor forward and proffered his hand. Kneeling to kiss it, MacCrimmon is said to have composed the piobaireachd I Gave a Kiss to the King’s Hand in commemoration. Probably all nonsense, but a good story and a great piobaireachd.


SOLD OUT!