PP Ed’s Blog: St Thomas’/ Stuart & Finlay/ Union Pipes/ Grampian League

Lyric Todkill of the flood-hit St Thomas’ Episcopal Pipe Band: ‘Thank you again for such a great article. I think it will help our cause.If anyone has difficulty with donating through the website, international donations can be made with the following account information.
International Wires with SWIFT code instructions:
Prosperity Bank
ABA: 113122655
Beneficiary: St. Thomas Episcopal Church & School Flood Relief Fund

Acct #217165824

Finlay Johnston winner of the March, Strathspey & Reel at this year’s Uist & Barra competition

Finlay Johnston and Stuart Liddell are off to Australia this week on a teaching and recital trip. The Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society are promoting their concert in the Regatta Hotel, Toowong, on Monday (Sept 18) at 7pm. Tickets to hear these two master players are a very reasonable A$10 (£6.50 approx.). Suporting them will be Kyle Warren.

Heartening to receive this about a set of union pipes (above) I sold to  collector Andreas Hartmann-Virnich a couple of years back: ‘I just got the Donald MacDonald Pastoral Pipes back from restoration by Andreas Rogge. He is very happy with the result. The sound is amazing, deep and warm. Andreas did do a great job with the missing treble drone that he reconstructed, and the missing chanter foot. He also made a new bag, reeds, and a blowpipe, all visually matched.

‘The setup is extremely air-efficient and pressure-friendly. The chanter in the picture plays two fully chromatic octaves – if you know how to play it correctly; I don’t. I believe that we will see the reproduction on the market in the near future. There are only two MacDonald Pastoral pipes world-wide that I am aware of (Hugh Cheape confirms), and yours is now the only playable set, the other one from the Scottish west coast being but a bunch of damaged parts. You may be confident that this set has been taken care of in the best possible way, and it is a truly wonderful instrument.’

I have asked Andreas for a recording so that we can hear what the pipes sound like. From my own not too successfukl attemots at getting them going I believe they will be similar to the Irish uillean pipe. The great thing for Highland pipers is that the fingering is very similar to ours. If this instrument goes into production I think we could see another important development in the bellows pipe world, something to match the smallpipe boom. I bought this instrument at auction in 1990 and loaned them to the College of Piping Museum for the 15 years I was there.

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Patricia Grant compiler of the John Milne Fine Arts Grampian Piping League: ‘It was a good day at Braemar and the standard of piping was very good. I have attached the final placings and I would be obliged if you could advise any changes.  We were presented with a new trophy for the Junior Piobaireachd which was won for the first time by Liam Brown.  Unfortunately he was not able to attend but this addition is very much appreciated.  Good to see so many names figuring in the list of prizewinners and we can only hope that next year there more youngsters come to play in the various Games competitions.  Thanks to all the judges for their help and patience with me arriving possibly at inappropriate time to see if I can get results and to the Games Secretaries who send me the results.  Hope for a good year in 2018.  Patricia.’

Piobaireachd (senior):
1       Anna Kumerlöw                                           10
(Anna is pictured top after winning the 2017 Braemar Gold Medal)
2=    Allan Russell                                                    8
2=    Edward Gaul                                                    8
3=    Gordon McCready                                       7
3=     Ben Duncan                                                     7
4       Calum Brown                                                   6
5=     Faye Henderson                                            4
5=     Alan Clark                                                         4
6=     Raphael Mercier                                           3
6=     Sandy Cameron                                             3
7=     Andrew Hall                                                     2
7=     Ursa Beckford                                                2
7=     Gordon Barclay                                             2
8=     Bruce Macdonald                                         1
8=     Jamie Dyson                                                    1
8=     Duncan Watson                                            1
8=     Dan Lyden                                                         1
Calum Ian Brown, winner of the Grampian League senior ceol beag

Ceol beag (senior):
1        Calum Brown                                              50
2        Ben Duncan                                                 23
3        Allan Russell                                                22
4        Alan Clark                                                     20
5        Eddie Gaul                                                    17
6        Gordon McCready                                 16
7        Brighde Chaimbeul                                  8
8        John MacDonald                                       7
9=     Lewis White                                                 6
9=     Robbie MacIssac                                       6
10=  Andrew Donlan                                         5
10=  Anna Kumerlöw                                        5
11=  Struan McLennan                                     4
11=  Ross Shand                                                   4
11=  James McHattie                                        4
12     Sandy Cameron                                         3
13=   Andrew Hall                                               2
13=   Gary Murray                                              2
13=   Gordon Barclay                                        2
13=   Kris Coyle                                                    2
13=   Jonathan Greenlees                              2
14=    Kate Kimove                                             1
14=   Peter McCalister                                     1
14=    Nick Hudson                                             1

Piobaireachd (junior):
1     Liam Brown                                                    11
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 5
3=  Jordan Ednie                                                    4
3=  Andrew Ferguson                                         4
4=  Angus MacKay Robertson                       3
4=  Finlay Cameron                                              3
4=  Lee Taylor                                                           3
5=  Tom Spencer                                                     2
5=   Bobby Allan                                                      2
6     Angus Duffy                                                      1Ceol beag (junior):
1      Liam Brown                                                      46
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 11
3=   Robert Howie                                                   8
3=   Daniel Ferguson                                              8
4=   Robbie MacIssac                                             7
4=   Finlay Cameron                                               7
5=   Lee Taylor                                                            6
5=   Angus Duffy                                                       6
6=  Angus Mackay Robertson                          4
6=  Jordan Ednie                                                      4
6=  Andrea Yeats                                                      4
6=  Adam Reid                                                            4
7=  Andrew Ferguson                                            3
7=  Peter McEwan                                                   3
7=  Archie Downie                                                   3
8     Lewis Russell                                                       2
9=  Tom Spencer                                                        1
9=  Bobby Allan                                                          1[wds id=”3″]

2 thoughts on “PP Ed’s Blog: St Thomas’/ Stuart & Finlay/ Union Pipes/ Grampian League

    1. From memory they were dated 1805 or 1815 Robert and let’s hope we get more teaching in the US. We have two good schools in new England and South Florida and there are others doing good work too so hopefully things will improve over time.

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