PP Ed’s Blog: Alasdair at the Games/ MacDonald Mem./ Indian Lady Piper/ Masters of Piobaireachd/ Corby Change

Our Guide to the Games is proving very popular even after only one day. It gives me the opportunity of running the picture above from the collection of reader Duncan Watson. It is of a young Alasdair Gillies playing at Cawdor Castle games in the 1980s.

Alasdair was a supporter of the games even after he achieved what you might call piping’s equivalent of superstar status. Too many of our top professional shun the smaller games today. Not Alasdair; nothing he enjoyed more than having a tune and some crack in the outdoors. With the Gold Medals, Clasps etc comes a responsibility to support piping in every way possible and that includes getting out to Ceres, to Blair, to Pitlochry, to Morar and to Arisaig.

So come on you big boys, make a pledge for this summer not to confine your fresh air activity to Inveraray. If the games were good enough for the great P/M Alasdair Gillies they are good enough for you.

Read more about Alasdair in our ‘Famous Pipers’ column here and here he is performing at Luss:


If any reader has old piping or pipe band pix they’d like to share with the rest of our community please forward them on to the usual address. Having these pictures published is a rewarding way of re-kindling memories. And the pictures needn’t be from the top end of our endeavour. Everyone makes their contribution, therefore we are interested in snaps from all levels of the piping and pipe band spectrum.



MacDonald Mem

Northern Ireland correspondent John Kelly: McDonald Memorial Pipe Band and McDonald Academy Pipe Band hosted a great evening of food and craic at a Quiz and Social Night in Dromore Rugby Club on Friday 2ndFebruary.  The quizmaster was Gary McDonald.  The McDonald Academy Pipe Band hope to make their debut appearance in pipe band competitions in the second half of the season, possibly at the Ulster Championships at Newcastle on Saturday 21st July.


Indian piper Archy Jay has sent this from Delhi: ‘It’s a great honour for me that the Indian government has presented me with a National Award and Recognition at the President’s House for being India’s first Professional Female Bagpiper. This event was organized to honour about 112 ladies from India who are the first to excel in their field and the first to do what they do. In a country where people don’t even know what a bagpipe is very well. I was chosen for that instrument and officially bagpipes has now come under an award category which makes me immensely proud! I would love to share this news with the piping community.  I play the semi electronic bagpipes called red pipes. I play the medieval bagpipe model of the red pipe.’Well done Archy on getting the instrument recognised and on your award.


Received the latest royalty statement from Greentrax Recordings re sales of the Masters of Piobaireachd CDs. Still trickling out the door after many years and I think the benefit is being heard on the boards – though some could do with re-referring. The great thing about these CDs is that they represent traditional teaching, the carrying stream of knowledge. It is very easy in piping to drift off the timing you thought you were applying to a given piece. A quick listen to Messrs Brown and Nicol and you realise where you were going wrong.

Norman Matheson MBE, on whose collection these CDs were based, deserves enormous thanks from the piobaireachd loving community worldwide. He has been recognised by HRH Prince Charles for his service to piping on Deeside (below) but it is time the wider piping community acknowledged his contribution to our music.
By the way the royalties referred to go to a very deserving Highland games charity.

Prince Charles and Norman

The RSPBA have announced a change to their Diary: Corby will be on July 15 not July 8 as advertised. Get other band dates here.


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