Just back from a very enjoyable weekend on Mull teaching the kids at Tobermory High School. Calum MacLean is the local schools teacher and given that he only has two days a week to cover the whole island and neighbouring Iona it is remarkable that he can turn out a band at all.
In total he has 48 boys and girls all learning pipes. It augurs well for the future of piping on these islands. I hope we see some of them competing in the juniors at Tobe games in the summer. During our lessons we spent a lot of time working on the basics of timing, fingering and tuning and then had a small class on piobaireachd. The kids and Calum are pictured above. All success to them at the forthcoming Scottish Schools Piping Championship.
In the evenings Calum and I spent some time talking of the old pipers on Mull, men such as Duncan Lamont (whose career we have already covered extensively on PP). Calum has a lot of Duncan’s old music collection and included in it are the following tunes. The first is the Coronation Hornpipe by P/M J Robertson, Banff, he of Farewell to the Creeks fame, friend of GS McLennan and tutor of P/M Joe Wilson. There can’t have been many hornpipes around in the early 50s. This one seems to be dated 1954 (see bottom left):
Isn’t it a fine thing to have these tunes written in the composer’s own hand? Here’s another by P/M Robertson:
I presume ‘Cairneywhind’ or ‘Cairneywhing’ is somewhere in the north east. Finally a tune by a George Grant. Any relation to William Grant, Strathdon, composer of the Lonach Gathering?:
Duncan Lamont must have been well thought of to have these composers sending him handwritten copies of their tunes. If anyone has further information on them I’d be obliged if you could forward it and thanks to Calum for permission to have them published on PP.
Congrats to all those who took part in the major Northern Ireland fundraiser at the weekend. John Kelly reports: A charity event ‘Kids with Cancer’ held at the Royal Hotel Cookstown on Saturday 17th February raised a significant amount for the Children’s Cancer Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Organised by Gary Smyth (Leading Drummer of Quinn Memorial Pipe Band), the fundraising event was attended by over 250 pipe band enthusiast and friends.
An impressive line up of pipe bands, pipers and drummers took part including former Ahoghill man Steven McWhirter, who recently won his eighth World Solo drumming title. Steven, a former member of Cullybackey Pipe Band, is now Lead Drummer of current world champions, Inveraray and District.
Also taking part were: Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE and a mini band of fourteen members of eleven times World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band Drum Corps, Tullylagan Pipe Band Drum Corps and Bernagh Folk Group. Pipers included: Senior Ulster Solo Piping Champion (2017) Ashley McMichael, Glenn Ross and Ryan Cupples-Menendez (Field Marshal) and Ian Burrows (Drumlough Pipe Band).
Snare drummers included: Steven McWhirter and Chris McNicholl (Inveraray), Stephen Creighton and Michael McKenna (St Laurence O’Toole), Gareth McLees (Field Marshal), William Glenholmes (Vale of Atholl), Daniel Lynn (Cullybackey), John Scullion and John Lappin.
Tenor drummers included: Jordan Bailie (Inveraray) and event organiser Gary Smyth’ son Calum (Quinn Memorial) from Magherafelt.