PP Ed’s Blog: Lawrie Pipes/ Shotts Contest/ John’s Service/ RU Brown Tune/ Pipe Practice/ Tom Dingwall

A set of old Lawrie silver and ivory pipes is offered for sale today on Piping Press. The pipes are pictured above.

Get more details and pictures from our Online Advertising Service here.

This service is available to all readers for only £25 per ad. Got something to sell? Use this service to reach thousands of pipers and pipe bands worldwide.

I read at the weekend that yet another minor pipe band contest, Shotts, has been struck off the season’s roster. One wonders where this will end. I’ve already waxed on about bands not supporting these smaller contests.

I think the RSPBA really has to put its thinking cap on here with a minumum attendance requirement at the minors before a band gets to play at a major.

How are the mighty fallen indeed. For years Hannah Park was the home of the European Pipe Band Championships.

How the Daily Record reported the demise of Shotts

Now it seems much of the ground has been redeveloped for housing and there is a general lack of interest in the ‘games’ in the town.

Chairman Robert Williams: ‘This has been a difficult decision and we have only reached it after a lot of discussion and indeed soul-searching.

‘But we’ve had to be realistic. We only have eight members who work extremely hard throughout the year to make sure everything is in place for the Games.’

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A Thanksgiving Service for PP correspondent John Kelly will be held in Railway Street Presbyterian Church today (Weds 30th Jan) at 12 noon.

Donations, if desired, for REVIVE (I.C.U., R.V.H.). Cheques payable to Ronnie Thompson Donations Account, c/o 20 Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, BT28 1UF.

RIP John.

A new piobaireachd has been added to the PP Audio Archive. It is of RU Brown, Balmoral, playing Tulloch Ard (PS Bk 6 and Kilberry).

This is a superb rendition of a tune which has been set for this year’s Silver Medal. Aspirants might like to listen. This is one of the few good recordings from the Bobs of Balmoral which is not included in the popular Masters of Piobaireachd series.

Correspondent Duncan Watson: ‘The attached advertisement [below] caught my eye. It is a dummy keyboard for piano and the claim is that, by doing practice sessions using it, it speeds up the learning process.

‘When not able to play my bagpipe I do occasionally do practice on a silent, dummy pipe chanter, which, from memory, I think GS McLennan made reference to.

‘Of course care has to be taken to adhere to the basics of finger technique as accurately as possible, otherwise mistakes and bad habits can be formed. 

‘Going back to the normal practice chanter is essential to check the accuracy with the sound.

‘Depending on home circumstances and practice facilities, it can be difficult to adhere to a practice regime and clearly the dummy keyboard is an effort to address this in regards to a piano. 

‘It can obviously be carried around with ease and can be used at suitable locations to while the time away.  

‘For pipers having an odd pipe chanter to practice some basics on from time to time can help. Of course there is no real substitute for practicing on the bagpipe, but we do not all have that facility and circumstances to be able to do that when the spirit moves us to have a tune or practice.’

Sorry to hear of the passing of Tom Dingwall latterly P/M of the Callander band and someone who did much to teach and promote piping. Tom had been suffering from dementia.

A good player, Tom competed round his local games in his younger day. He’s pictured above playing at Crieff in 1978. Condolences to his family and friends.

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