My Tune for P/M Richard Parkes of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

A couple of weeks ago the editor mentioned on his blog a new piobaireachd that had been composed by piper, adjudicator and professional reedmaker Donald MacPhee. The tune commemorates the remarkable achievements of P/M Richard Parkes of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and here Donald gives us the background to his composition…..

By Donald MacPhee

Many thanks for your kind thoughts on the tune. The story behind it: I was a piper in Field Marshal Montgomery during the 2011 season when FM won the Grand Slam.
At the end of that season the band had a celebration at a Christmas/end of year band get together in Northern Ireland. Richard had become the first Pipe Major to lead a band to two Grand Slams (1993 & 2011), an achievement that I was privileged to be a part of.

Whilst at the workbench in March 2012 this melody came to me and I quickly picked up the practice chanter and let the fingers go. I thought it sounded a nice tune so got my personal voice recorder out and played about 90% of the ground and had it at least to where I could develop it further and, more importantly, put pencil to stave.
Donald on FMM duty at the Worlds 
I finished off the tune that night and after some work confirmed that I hadn’t plagiarized another tune. The naming of it was quite simple. There is a recording on Facebook name Kitty Coenen a video recorded it at a school I did in Germany a couple of years ago that has over 16.5k views. It is a nice recording of the tune.
When you hear the tune it’s definitely a salute. Putting two and two together, I called it Salute to P/M Richard Parkes MBE commemorating the only P/M to win two Grand Slams. This was quickly overtaken: in 2013 Richard became the only P/M to win three Grand Slams. I was a member of that band also.

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I retired from competing in pipe bands at the end of 2014 and moved into full-time pipe band adjudication. As a side note, when requests came in for manuscripts of the tune mid-2015, I made a note at the bottom of the manuscript that Richard, through the 2014 season and as of April 2015, had achieved 10 World titles, 13 Champion of Champion titles, 58 major championships and three Grand Slams.

Donald plays his tune:

He has since added to that and from the website has to date 11 World titles, 14 Champion of Champions titles and 63 major Championships. I had nine great seasons with FM winning six World titles, eight Champion of Champions, 33 major championships and two Grand Slams.

My endeavour now is the RSPBA Adjudicators panel of which I am the piping representative on the Adjudicators Panel Management Board. Integrity and impartiality are what I would like the pipe band community and competitors within the RSPBA and throughout the world to remember me by for the duration of my adjudication years.Download a PDF hereSalute to P:M Richard Parkes
More about Donald: Donald MacPhee is an American who moved to Scotland in 1997 from Florida. A reed maker for over 20 years. Donald  has achieved the pinnacle of success at both the solo and pipe band scene. He was Gold Medallist at the Northern Meeting in 2005.
Donald holds Graduate and Senior Teacher’s Certificates with the Institute of Piping. He has his Advanced and Teacher’s Certificate with the RSPBA. A fully qualified RSPBA Adjudicator and a solo adjudicator on the CPA list of Active Competitive Adjudicators, Donald is also a PDQB Assessor for the RSPBA and now a member of their Adjudicator Panel.
He lives in Alexandria west of Glasgow with his wife Christine a former World Champion Highland dancer and now a much sought after teacher and adjudicator in her own field. Donald’s website reads: ‘Donald has been piping for dancing for nearly 35 years. Taught piping by his father Alexander ‘Sandy’ MacPhee. From a very early age Donald’s dad encouraged him to pipe for his sisters (Diane MacPhee Krugh and Donna Cusack [wife of the famous piper Mike Cusack, Texas] in their dance classes. Before long Donald was piping all over the world at dancing competitions and championships. In 1995 Donald brought out his first piping for dancing CD called  ‘The Competitive Highland Dancer’s Champion’s Choice’ a favourite of many dancers and teachers the world over. It was in this idiom where he met and married Miss Christine Lacey a former six-time World Champion.’

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