PP Ed’s Blog: Piper Query/ World Drumming/ Quaich Livestream/ Aberdeen Teachers/ SPA/ Gransha

Reader Kylie McKenna: ‘I am hoping you and your readers might be able to help me. I am trying to find out if anyone can identify what tartan and pipe band my grandfather William Lamont may have been a member of at the time this photo (above and below) was taken.
‘He was from Leslie in Fife, and I do know he was a member of the Leslie Pipe Band and the Caledonian Pipe Band in Kirkcaldy before World War 2. Hopefully someone has some more photos of other band members or the band from around this time. Looking forward to your help.’

Can anyone help Kylie? One possible source of information would have been Sandy Hain who was from Leslie. Sadly Sandy passed away in the US last month.

William Lamont

A couple of points my drumming contacts have impressed on me re the recent qualifiers for the World Solo Drumming. Sixteen (16) semi final places were up for grabs, from four qualifiers (4×4). Yes, 16 – half of all those available in total. The significant change from previous years is that a finalist now no longer get a bye to the following year’s semi-final. Two observations they make:

1 The volume of entries in the qualifiers wasn’t large; in some cases there were only one or two more players than slots in the semi final available.

2 From last year’s solo drumming final, several names did not participate in the four qualifiers, including the current champion Steven MacWhirter, and they will all be playing through qualifiers on the morning of the WSD to join the pre-qualified 16 in the afternoon. This will give rise to heats with big names in them and bring an interesting degree of jeopardy to the early morning session.

Christine Davis, Marketing Manager, Clan Donald Lands Trust: ‘We are delighted to announce that the 32nd Donald MacDonald Cuaich will take place at Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum on Friday 15 June 2018. The pipers are Iain Speirs, Glenn Brown, Callum Beaumont (last year’s winner), Alasdair Henderson and Craig Sutherland.

‘The adjudicator is Allan MacDonald and the singer is Christine Primrose. The competition starts at 7.30pm in the Stables Café at Armadale Castle, and is followed by a finger buffet. Tickets are £8 (£4 children) and can be purchased in advance by telephoning 01471 844305, or on the door. The Cuiach will also be live streamed on Armadale Castle’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArmadaleCastleSkye and via YouTube (see Armadale Castle website for details). 

‘The event is sponsored by the Glencoe Foundation, USA. Pictured are the pipers from last year’s event. For full listing of pipers and tunes see https://www.armadalecastle.com/events/donald-macdonald-quaich-piobaireachd-piping-competition/. For further information about Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum see : www.armadalecastle.com ‘

Competitors at last year’s Cuaich

Dr Norman McFarlane from Ontario writes: ‘I have a large collection of LPs, CDs, tapes and books for sale. I can be reached at 519 472 9895 in London, Ontario, Canada. Email: nmcfarl02@gmail.com

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Alex Duncan of the Scottish School Pipes & Drums Trust: ‘Please forward this information to anyone in the pipe band community who may be interested. Aberdeenshire Council seeks to employ pipes and drums instructors to work in the Saturday morning South Aberdeenshire Music Centre at Stonehaven. The advert can be found here. Closing date: 10th May.’

Scottish Pipers President Tom Johnstone: ‘As usual our meetings are 1st Friday of each month at 7.30pm. Next meeting is this Friday, 4th May at our usual venue, the College of Piping Otago St Glasgow. We would like to welcome Bradley Boxall this Friday for the first time. Brad is one of the top CLASP players and has recently moved up to the Glasgow area from the south. All welcome to play, listen or just chat.’

John Kelly in Northern Ireland: Gransha Pipe Band (above) held their annual ‘Country and Gospel Concert’ in Dromore High School on Saturday 28th April.  Local radio personality and country & gospel singer Warren Smyth hosted and compered a great evening of entertainment featuring:  Gransha Pipe Band, five times Ulster Solo Piping Champion Ashley McMichael (Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band), Country Harmony, Billy McFarland, Thomas Milligan, Kate Weir, Caitlin and County Armagh Drum Majors. Under the direction of Pipe Major James Knox MBE, the band performed some set pieces from their forthcoming competition repertoire:  Drum Sergeant Samuel Smith and Gransha drum corps and also the tenor drummers, each gave a separate performance.  The tenor drummers who played in ultra violet lighting, had been tutored by Emma Frazer who recently won the ‘Ulster Junior Solo Tenor Drumming Champion’ title.

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