Thanks to reader Darren Hart for sending on this picture (above and below) of his medal collection. Darren writes: ‘I’ve being doing some research on Pipe Major JB Robertson the famous Scottish piper. I have his original silver medal [Northern Meeting Former Winners’ MSR for 1937]. I do have a couple of others as well and thought to ask you if you would know of any family he has left that I could contact. I’ve tried a few leads but to no success.’
Last I heard Darren James Jnr. was still living down Exeter way. If any reader can supply contact details please email them to the usual PP address. The other two medals are the RSPS’s Bronze Star presented at London and also, I think, for MSR playing. The last medal is from Strathpeffer Games, in years gone by a major gathering in the north. Observant readers will note that in 1937 the RSPS was still the Scottish Pipers’ Society but by the time JB won the Bronze Star 20 years later they had received their ‘Royal’ assignation. This came about through the Society’s connection with HRH the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, and the composer of the slow air ‘Mallorca’.
It is always disappointing to hear of the demise of major pipe band and the loss of Dowco Triumph Street from Vancouver is no different. Dave Hilder and his wife Shauna worked unceasingly to keep the band going and to an extremely high standard. Nothing is forever but there is so much talent in Western Canada that I cannot believe that another Grade 1 pipe band will rise up to take their place. It may even be in the works as I write. For now let us thank Dave and Shauna for their efforts, their music and the pleasure they gave each time they marched into that Grade 1 arena on Glasgow Green.
Drummer Andy Donaldson on the band entries at Pitlochry: ‘Cast your mind back to the demise of the small games competitions in the pipe band season debate a while back on your blog. Have a look back at the draw for Pitlochry. This used to be one of the bigger, well- attended contests. The drop must be due to lack of attendance of bigger bands. This is a great shame, a disgrace in my opinion. What are the powers that be doing to address this? Surely they must notice this is happening? Or are they ignoring it to concentrate on the big major championships?’
I agree Andy; the RSPBA needs to do more to encourage their member bands to support the small contests. I would make it a requirement of entry to the majors that Grade 1 and 2 bands MUST compete in two of their branch’s smaller contests. Just as the top solo players have a responsibility to support the Highland games, so do bands with the minor contests.
Thanks to regular correspondent Duncan Watson for this haunting picture…
It’s of pipers waiting for the results at Braemar earlier this month. The sun is down…Her Majesty has long departed…. the park has fallen silent except for the last strains of MacCrimmon swirling round the Bobs of Balmoral Cairn…..what’s keeping those bloody judges…..
The latest recording in the PP Audio Archive is from the BBC and is of John MacDougall playing Lament for MacSwan of Roaig, his winning tune at the Silver Chanter, we think, in 1971. The tune is only up to the end of the taorluath doubling unfortunately. Check it out in the PP Audio Archive.