PP Ed’s Blog: New England/ HIMDF Results/ Colin Thomson/ Gransha

Just to clarify things and avoid any confusion, the dates of next month’s New England Pipe & Drum Academy are June 16 -21. Publicity material with anything other than these dates is incorrect and apologies for any confusion.

Everything is shaping up well for another fine week at the superb Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Centre. We are delighted to have drumming expert Tommy Johnston with us this year as our percussion instructor.

Tommy’s bio: ‘Tommy Johnston started drumming in 1963 with the then Grade 4 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. With various bands, Tommy has won all the major pipe band drum corps titles with the exception of the World Championship.

Tommy (centre left) with fellow instructor Andrew Adams (centre right) and the drumming class at the recent, very successful, South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy

‘Since retiring from competing in 1996, he has been teaching and judging. He is presently the Leading Drummer for the Scots Guards Association Pipes & Drums and a senior partner in Pipe Dreams, the manufacturers of the world famous ‘Ezeedrone’ drone reeds. Tommy’s son Finlay is a double Gold Medallist, holder of the Gold Clasp at Inverness, and one of the leading pipers of today.’


More results added to the Highlands & Islands Festival. Still some gaps; please forward info if you can help. Read the report on the playing here.


Colin Thomson in 1896

New letter posted on Colin Thomson. How strong was the Argyll connection and how did it come about? Gold Medallist Thomson was born in Cromarty, Easter Ross, in 1869 and enlisted in the Seaforths in 1889. He served as a P/M in the Argylls in the Boer War and from 1908-1918 was P/M of the 5th Seaforths. He is the subject of the classic 2/4 march by Roderick Campbell, Edinburgh, and published in Willie Ross’s Book 3. I remember competing with the tune many times with varying degrees of success. Read the letter here.



John Kelly: Gransha Pipe Band held their annual ‘Country and Gospel Concert’ in Dromore High School on Friday 28th April.  Appearing alongside & supporting the band at the concert were a line-up of country music’s biggest stars including Crawford Bell, Leon, Country Harmony & local up-and-coming artists James Boyd and Kerri Smyth, with comedian Leonard Shields adding a touch of laughter to the evening.

Drum Sergeant Samuel Smith and Gransha Pipe Band Drum Corps pictured during their performance at the band’s ‘Country and Gospel Concert’ in Dromore High School

Gransha Pipe Band performed some set pieces from their forthcoming competition repertoire including a feature set from their young Drum Corps and there was a special guest appearance by Ulster Solo Piping Champion Ashley McMichael (Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band).  The whole evening was compered by local radio personality and country & gospel singer, Warren Smyth.

In the top picture Pipe Major James Knox MBE (blue shirt) and Gransha Pipe Band are pictured during their performance.