PP Ed’s Blog: Chris Terry/ P/M Andrew Donaldson’s Funeral/ Letter/ Lohheide Winter School/ Queensland/ FMM Bass Drummer

A lot of interest already in the Shasta Piping Society’s Piobaireachd Composing Competition. The organisers like to keep the panel international and this year it will comprise myself, Bill Livingstone and South African Chris Terry (pictured above).

Chatting to Chris at Inverness he said he believed he held a rather unenviable record of being placed in the Gold Medal more times than anyone else without actually winning it.

He got eight places in total in about 20 attempts. 2014 double Gold Medallists Douglas Murray also had eight places and had been on the verge of packing it in before actually hitting it big. Chris said: ‘Of course lots of others will have been placed more times than me but they did actually win a medal. Malcolm McRae for one was almost always in the list but he won the medal at Oban. I remember John Wilson telling me years ago of someone who was placed second something like 10 times.’
I think John would have been referring to either Jimmy Young or John Garroway Chris, neither of whom got the medal after many years of hitting the crossbar.


I hear from promoter Ronnie Bromhead that his Northern Winter School to be held at Lohheide in Germany from November 10 – 17 has proved very popular with pipers and drummers from all over, particularly those in that part of the country. World class tuition is guaranteed and all for a measly €470 for the week! A full range of PDQB exams will be available too. The tutors are:

  • Barry Donaldson
  • Brian Lamond
  • Craig Munro
  • Jim Semple
  • Robert Wallace
  • Ronnie Bromhead
  • Paul Turner

P/M Andy Donaldson’s funeral is on Friday (Sept 29) at 10.30am at Auchterderan Parish Church and thereafter to Bowhill Cemetery. All welcome. Read our short obituary on a piper, teacher and pipe major who did so much for piping in his native county and beyond here.



Letter re bagpipe tone published today. It relates to Ian McLellan’s comments on bagpipe sound published a couple of weeks ago.


Over in Queensland, Australia, Maurie de Hayr sends a reminder that the QHPS Piobaireachd Group meets this Sunday in Rochedale High School where the discussion tune will be Too Long in This Condition. The group’s  Recital Day this year is on November 19th at Ipswich.


Former PSNI band member Robert Smyth is the man with the difficult task of following Chris Pollock as bass drummer with FMM. There’s no doubt Robert is up to the challenge. In a Facebook post he said, ‘The decision I must confess was hard for me to make as I’m sure it was for Chris also. I have been with the Police Service of Northern Ireland for a long number of years, 13 to be precise.  As most of you will know I started out as leading drummer along with Pipe Major Colin McClelland and got the band out competing in the local and Scottish competitions in Grade 3 and then took the band into Grade 2.  I have been very lucky to have played with Pipe Major Robert Cupples and leading drumming Brendan McGoran over the past recent years and sharing in their success of getting the band into the Grade 1 championships. This has been truly an unbelievable journey.  It’s now time for me to move on and play with FMMPB. I sincerely thank L/D Keith Orr for offering me this once in a lifetime opportunity……..  Best wishes to Robert and Brendan and all the guys as they continue to grow the PSNI Pipes & Drums from strength to strength.’


McDonald Memorial Pipe Band, Dromore, took part in a concert at the Discover Ulster Scots Centre in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter as part of Culture Night Belfast on Friday 22nd September. Pipe Major Norman McDonald is pictured on stage with his young band. (Credit John Kelly).