PP Ed’s Blog: Shotts 1952/ SPA Pro/ Kintyre Solos/ P Lodge/ Lisnamulligan/ Dunedin Pic

The National Museums of Scotland film archive have put out some new silent shots of Shotts Highland Games from September 6, 1952. Mostly of smiling faces in the crowd, there are one or two clips of bands. The one up top shows, I think, P/M Tom McAllister Senior leading the Shotts band. Is that JK McAllister right behind him?

The other band shown on parade and very smart in their balmorals (whatever happened to this traditional headgear?) is not known to me. Suggestions please. Here they are: 

Check out the film here and remember your tickets for the Shotts concert during Worlds Week.

Don’t forget the SPA Professional at the College of Piping tomorrow.  Healthy entry and the piping begins at 9am with results here as we get them. Judges are Andrew Frater, Roderick Livingstone, Ian McLellan and Andrew Wright. Also tomorrow are the Kintyre Junior Solos in Campbeltown. Secretary: please forward results and pic if possible.

Northern Ireland correspondent John Kelly reports: Lisnamulligan Pipe Band held a fundraising concert in Ballymore Inn, Tandragee, on Saturday 1st April.  The band last competed at Portrush in August 2012 and will make a welcome return to the competition arena at the first pipe band contest of the 2017 season at Bangor on Saturday 13th May.

The compère on Saturday evening was Alan Kerr (of the band). Under the direction of their new pipe major, Dylan Walker, and their new Drum Sergeant, Alan Kerr, the band (pictured) kicked off a great evening of entertainment as they played a selection of foot tapping tunes.  Also taking part were: Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band (Ballyclare), Marlacoo & District Pipe Band (Co Armagh), Ardarragh Accordion Band (Rathfriland), Downshire Flute Band (Banbridge), Hamiltonsbawn Silver Band (Co Armagh) and Co Armagh Drum Majors.  There was a disco held after the concert.

Drummers Neale Henning, Alan Kerr, Steven Bready and Lindsay Brady get serious

Lee Moore reports: Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band hosted the 4th East Lothian Solo Piping and Drumming Competition on March 18. The event attracted a good entry of soloists from across East Lothian Schools. It was good to see an almost full school hall of participants, friends and family for prizegiving at the end of the day.

11 & under Chanter: 1 Harry Hawkins, Loretto 2  Harry Lee, Yester Primary 3 Jamie McCallum, Prestonpans Primary
Stick/Pad 11 & under: 1 Archie O’Brien, Law Primary 2 Rebecca Wilson, Law Primary 3 Amy Douglas, Sanderson’s Wynd Primary Piping 12 & under: 1 Michael McDermott, Longniddry Primary 2 Ben McGregor, Preston Lodge 3 Michael Williams, Loretto
14 & under Drumming: 1 Tyler Dryburgh, Preston Lodge 2 Clara Wilberforce, Knox Academy 3 Kieran Dryburgh, Preston Lodge Junior Piping 14 & under: 1 Fergus McClintock, North Berwick High 2 Freya Morris, Preston Lodge 3 Blair Scott, Preston Lodge

Open Drumming 18 & under 1 Hannah Yorkston, Preston Lodge 2 Aaron Hall, Preston Lodge 3 Cal Molloy, Loretto
Junior Bass Drumming 14 & under: 1 Liam Till, Preston Lodge; Open Bass 18 & under: Becky McKean – Preston Lodge
Junior Tenor 14 & under: 1 Hannah Donaldson, Preston Lodge 2 Erin Read, Preston Lodge 3 Olivia Pryde, Knox Academy
Open Tenor 18 & under: 1 Emma Lacey, Preston Lodge 2 Kate McKay, Loretto
Open Piping 18 and under: 1 Blair Scott, Preston Lodge 2 Erin Ritchie, Preston Lodge 3 Ruari Black, North Berwick High
Piobaireachd 18 and under: 1 Erin Ritchie, Preston Lodge 2 Sam Addis, Broughton High  3 Saul Sweeney, St David’s High

Professional piper John Angus Smith was a visitor to the recent Dunedin Highland Games in Florida and sent this snap. It proves there are no cultural barriers in this piping game:

European Pipe Band Championships Launched

The promoters of the European Pipe Band Championships, ‘Piping at Forres’ have sent this on launch day for the championship:

‘The countdown to Moray’s biggest one day event which attracts visitors from all over the world is on, with tickets now on sale. Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place on June 24 in Grant Park. Organisers of the event, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, marked the run up to the Piping At Forres with an official launch party held in the distillery.

‘Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world-class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs. Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and re-enactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

‘Alan James, chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises Piping At Forres said: ‘The launch event was a huge success and marks the countdown to what is now a firm fixture on the piping calendar and also a key date in the diary for locals and tourists alike who come and spend the whole day in Grant Park soaking up the atmosphere.’

‘He added: ‘Since the first Piping At Forres in 2013, the event has grown and each year there is something new. This year we are delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the park will be cast back in time when re-enactors from various historical periods descend on the arena. We have also commissioned a historical walking app which will not only get people moving around Grant Park and learning about its history, but also get people out into the town itself, creating a real carnival feel not just in the park, but throughout the whole of Forres.’

Forres Chieftain, Major-General Seymour Munro

‘Major General Seymour Monro who will act as this year’s Chieftain also spoke at the ticket launch event. He said: ‘I am really delighted to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this year’s European Pipe Band Championships. It is a spectacular event which has put not only Forres but Moray on the map. From across the world, pipers and drummers travel to Forres to take part. The people of Forres and the organisers of Piping at Forres are now renowned for putting on a fantastic show. As a local man it is a real honour to be able to support this superb event and the launch party has kicked that off very nicely.’

‘Last year, Piping at Forres drummed up over £1 million for the local economy and was shortlisted for the Best Cultural Event or Festival award in the 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. Laurie Piper, Tourism Operations Manager for Moray Speyside Tourism attended the launch party and spoke about the economic and cultural benefit of events such as Piping At Forres. He said: ‘Piping At Forres has established itself as one of Moray’s key annual events, attracting patrons from across Scotland and beyond and offering a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy a truly authentic taste of this most special part of Scotland.’


‘On behalf of Benromach, Ian Chapman, Marketing Director, added: ‘We are very proud to have been involved from the very start with Piping At Forres. Piping At Forres promotes the local community and this is something Benromach is keen to support. We are looking forward to this great day out in June.’

‘Special guests at the launch party were the McNab family from Pitlochry who won a contest to find the family with the most poignant links to piping. The McNabs currently have 11 family members spanning three generations playing in the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band (see main picture up top).

‘The contest which saw nominations coming in from as far afield as Canada also ties in with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Piping At Forres is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.’

In all of this we must not forget that the organisers of the championship are the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.