Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes has sent this re Saturday’s gala concert by Johnstone Pipe Band: ‘The band are delighted to have been invited to perform on the main stage at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Saturday the 20th January as part of the city’s 2018 Celtic Connections festival.
‘It’s the first major concert for the band under Pipe Major Keith Bowes. All three of the competing bands in the Johnstone organisation will be playing McCallum chanters in 2018. Good luck with the concert guys, it will be a great day of music for this very young Grade One pipe band.’
The Johnstone band was founded by ex-Provost of Johnstone Burgh, James McKay, in 1943, and has been going strong ever since wearing the blue McKay tartan in recognition of its founder. The senior band won the World Pipe Band Championship in Grade 3A in 2014, and the following year, in their very first season in Grade 2, they won the G2 World title, a success they repeated in 2016. This saw their promotion to the top flight of Grade 1.
Pipe Major Keith J Bowes said: ‘We are really excited that the opportunity has come our way to showcase the band on the platform of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It is an occasion for us to celebrate as 2018 is the band’s 75th anniversary. We will be joined on stage by our newly promoted Grade 3B band and also our Renfrewshire Schools band, as well as backing musicians and dancers. We are also delighted to have secured John Mackay from STV as our compère.’
The first half of the concert will feature pipers Finlay MacDonald with Ross Martin, father and son Angus MacColl Senior and Junior (pictured above), and Jarlath Henderson. Tickets can be purchased from http://www.celticconnections.com, by visiting www.glasgowconcerthalls.com or by phoning the Royal Concert Hall box office on 0141 353 8000.
Another event on Saturday will be a presentation of a historic photograph to former Muirhead & Sons piper Tommy Anderson. The presentation will be by P/M Ian Duncan (Vale of Atholl) and senior solo piping judge and will consist of the handing over of a framed photograph of Muirheads after the band’s historic win at the Worlds at Perth in 1969. Thius victory completed Muirheads five-in-a-row Worlds run – still a record for a civilian pipe band.
Says Ian: ‘This is the photo that used to hang in the Victoria Bar Perth, the ‘training area’ for the Muirheads when they were in Perth that day. When the Vicky changed hands in the 80s the new owners passed the picture to the Railway Tavern – the Vale training area. The ‘Tav’ closed some 20 years ago and the picture ended up with me via a skip!
‘I’ve decided to present it to Tom Anderson who, with his brothers Jimmy and Peter, played with Muirheads that day. The handover will be at the pipe band concert on Saturday. It is more appropriate the Anderson family have it rather than me. Looking for a young Rab in the photo. Are you there?’
The editor: ‘No not there Ian; I didn’t join until 1970. It was great day at Perth however as my band, the 214 BB, won the Juvenile title and a friend of mine who played in the Cumbernauld Caledonia band won Grade 3. Can someone name all the pipers in the Muirheads photograph? The colour version has a couple of blemishes but the men in the gaps can be worked out from the black and white.