PP Ed’s Blog: British Draw/ Gordon’s Tune/ Queensland Pipers/ Reay MacKay/ HIMDF

The draw for the first major of the season, the British at Paisley, has been published by the RSPBA. First on are PSNI and last, the defending champions, Inveraray. Interesting to see Dowco Triumph Street and Simon Fraser from Vancouver making the journey and good on them for that. I am sure they will find the trip worthwhile and being adjacent to the airport means travel costs will be reduced if only a little. Pipe Major Alan Bevan is pictured above leading SFU at last year’s Worlds.

Far too early to make any predictions but I can’t help myself. Top four I can’t see past FM, I’ray, SLoT and Shotts. Next two places? SFU, Fife Police, Boggies, Dowco, Glasgow Police, Power are all in the mix. The newly promoted bands such as PSNI and local band Johnstone will be doing very well if they make mid-table.

We should have a Premier Grade of the top eight folks; you know it makes sense. Here is the Grade 1 list and the band playing times:

1 14:15 Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
2 14:25 Dowco Triumph Street – Canada
3 14:35 Field Marshal Montgomery
4 14:45 Simon Fraser University – Canada
5 14:55 Johnstone
6 15:05 Glasgow Police
7 15:15 St Laurence O’Toole – Eire
8 15:25 Peoples Ford – Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia
9 15:35 Bleary and District
10 15:45 Police Scotland Fife
11 15:55 Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia
12 16:05 Ravara
13 16:15 Vale of Atholl
14 16:25 Scottish Power
15 16:35 Buchan Peterson
16 16:45 Inveraray and District

Adjudicators: Colin Moffett, John Connor, Alexander Russell
Cameron Edgar. Get along to the St James Playing Fields on May 20 to cheer these and the other bands on. Get the full draw here. Read last year’s report from the British here.

We have obtained a copy of Gordon McCready’s winning tune in the ceol mor at last Saturday’s Scottish Pipers’ Association piobaireachd competition. Gordon has kindly agreed that we can publish it. He gives a strong performance on a fine instrument. Check it out here. There is another fine performance of the tune on the PP Archive, this time from Iain Speirs. This was Iain’s winning Gold Medal performance from all those years ago. What is interesting is that both performances return almost exactly the same time, just under 12 minutes.

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The latest newsletter from the Queensland Pipers’ Society reports: ‘The March meeting of the [piobaireachd] group for 2017 was held in Rochedale State High School….the meeting commenced with Ross Campbell playing the Battle of Bealach nam Brog as usual on a fine pipe and was followed by David Mariner who chose Salute to Donald played on a well set up pipe a little stronger than that of Ross. Bruce McLeod added to the music with The Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonell of Glengarry showing good feeling for this tune.

‘Mark McKenzie had managed to come to the meeting and with his instrument well set and holding throughout gave us an excellent rendition of the lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay. After morning tea  which nearly emptied my cold water container  we returned to discuss the Glen is Mine the well known tune said to have been composed by John MacCrimmon, one of the last hereditary pipers to McLeod of Dunvegan. Discussion and singing set in well and just left time for the last tune of the day. Tom McGirr thought he would miss out but we had just enough time left to hear his tune which was the Battle of Auldearn No. 2. Tom again played on a well set up pipe and provided a good finish to the meeting.’

Mitch McDowell in Ontario has sent us this front cover from the PPBSO’s now defunct Piper & Drummer Magazine. Says Mitch: ‘I thought you may be interested to have this photo of the late Pipe Major Reay MacKay of Toronto, Ontario.  He is pictured here in the full dress uniform of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, and the photo is from the April 1990 issue of The Piper and Drummer magazine.’
Thanks for that Mitch and please keep the Ontario news coming. PP has a big following in eastern Canada and naturally these discerning readers are always hungry for unspun news and information. It’s a great picture of Reay.

I hear that the Highlands and Islands Festival had a very successful press launch in Oban on Monday. Sorry I couldn’t manage. Everyone is keyed up for four days of competition to be held from Friday 28th April until Monday 1st May.

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