The Editor writes:
Following yesterday’s Vale news I wonder if there will be sufficient Grade 1 bands at the Worlds to justify the Friday Qualifier? Possibly not.
We’ve recently had three bands downgraded from Grade 1: Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles, Buchan Peterson and Cap Caval.
I understand that no New Zealand bands will be coming over next year nor will Toronto Police – and we have already had the sad news of the demise of Vancouver’s Dowco Triumph Street.
As regards the overseas bands, we may now be seeing a consequence of a system whereby you can travel long distances, spending considerable amounts of cash, only to find out at 5pm on the Friday that you needn’t have bothered. You didn’t make it through.
Bands put a brave face on it – it’s tough medicine and they can take it. But apply any rational, reasonable thought to this situation, its effect on individuals and their families, and you see that, as far as G1 bands in North America and the Antipodes are concerned, it is unsustainable in the long term.
I say again: we need a Grade 1B event for the Saturday for those bands that don’t make the top 12 – cruelly described by one wag last year as the ‘Friday failures’ – or scrap the Qualifier altogether – as might have to happen next year.
Another point occurs: the best way for a band to sustain its future is to do a Boghall – grow your own talent. Once you start to rely on fly-ins and Skype/Facetime to sustain your operation you lose an element of control.
Management ‘grip’ is vital in any successful organisation. A pipe major gets that best when he is eyeballing his pipers and drum corps on a weekly basis.
To be fair to the Vale, the through-put system is one that has always worked for them – but that all changed with the import of a drum corps from Northern Ireland.
Mind you, how many pipe majors could turn down Adrian Hoy and his super corps? and the Vale’s loss is Lomond & Clyde’s gain.
Yet I hope it won’t be too long before the Vale’s Grade 1 band is back at the flags once more.
They have been a credit to the pipe band movement over many years and will be sorely missed next summer.
Finally let us salute P/M Adrian Cramb and his 30+ years of service to the Vale of Atholl organisation. Adrian did a magnificent job in difficult circumstances culminating in leading the band to the Worlds final last August.
If not always in the lists, they were seldom below mid-table. The credit is his and he can now sit back and reflect on a job well done and a commitment appreciated by all who benefited from it.
• The Vale are pictured up top in 2014 with Adrian, far right, at the helm.
Les Hutt in Inverness has asked me to highlight the following:
Inverness Music Festival’s annual piping contest will take place at Eden Court on 2nd March 2019. Entries in recent years to the 15-18 categories have been sparse I would like to encourage any local tutors to put their pupils forward for all categories.
Details can be found at http://www.invernessmusicfestival.org with entries in by 7th December please.
Eric Allan, fiddler/composer/stalwart of Friends of Highland Music, Inverness Fiddlers and Balnain House is a prolific composer, and his friend and fine musician, Ernie Brock from Tallahassee, Florida, have put some of his tunes into pipe settings. These now available for free download at his website