PP Ed’s Blog: Piobaireachd Society/ Patrick’s Film/ SPA Professional/Ballyboley Concert

A report on the Piobaireachd Society conference will follow on the Society website soon. For now I want to thank everyone for their kind wishes not just on social media but privately. Turning to the conference itself, held for the first time in Glasgow at the National Piping Centre, I don’t think it could be classed as anything other than a success.

The numbers for the conference proper were up though the figures for the dinner were down. More should have been there for the evening. The piping was the best I have ever heard at the Society.

Those who played and their tunes: RW: MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart, Bill Wotherspoon: Salute to P/M Willie Ross; John Dew: Earl of Ross’s March; Robert Frater: The Badger (repeat The Badger); Patrick Molard: Campbell Cant. Nameless; Peter McCalister: Cronan Padruig Seumas; Duncan MacGillivray: Red Hector; Jack Taylor: Lament for Patrick Og.

Piping with passion….Duncan MacGillivray playing at the PS Conference dinner

This last was the last of the evening and in my opinion was the best Patrick Og I have heard in many a year and a suitable marker for Jack’s last day as our distinguished President.



The Society conference is not just about ceol mor. You meet old friends and new. Duncan MacGillivray is rightly very concerned about the encroachment of housing development on the Culloden battlefield and recently piped at a demonstration against same.

Patrick Molard spoke of his first meeting with John Burgess where the latter demonstrated the convenience of the kilt (‘commando’ style), when nature called.

We implored Bob Frater to change the name of his fine tune from the Badger to something more traditional, Battle of the Brock or some such. Bob showed us the damage to his car after a collision with one of the animals and this was the inspiration behind the piece – using only the notes B, A, D, G, E – R (repeated).

Bob’s brother John has also been at the composing and came up with a tune, In Memorium, which he played to great acclaim on the Friday night.



A reminder of the remaining showings of Director Gérard Alle and Patrick’s film ‘MacCrimmon’s Gold’, a film which went down so well at the Conference:
26th March: MacRobert Hall, Tarland, 7.30pm
27th March: Braemar Village Hall, 8pm
28th March: Fort William, Ben Nevis Distillery, 7.30pm
29th March: Portree, Skye, Aros Centre, 7.30pm
30th March: Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, 8pm


Inverness Piping Society is hosting the final showing and their Secretary Alastair Campbell writes: ‘Our third piping recital of this winter will take place this Saturday 30 March at the usual start time of 8.00pm, at Tulloch Castle, Dingwall. We had to shift from our normal Friday due to both the recitalists’ busy Friday schedule.

‘Recitalists will be Patrick Molard, and Duncan MacGillivray. They will both play a few tunes and thereafter during the second half of the night, Patrick, who studied with R.U. Brown, will be showing a film he has put together about piobaireachd. This promises to be a unique and interesting variation to our usual recital format.

‘We look forward to welcoming you there. Tickets will be available on the door from 7.30pm. Please do spread the word.’


Ballyboley Pipe Band, Larne, Northern Ireland

Barbara Philips of ‘We Love Pipe Bands’: ‘2019 sees Ballyboley Pipe Band celebrate its 100th Anniversary. Ballyboley Pipe Band was formed in 1919 by the late Sam Banford in Ballyboley Old School outside Larne.  

‘The band continue to practise and teach in Ballyboley Old School twice a week which is enjoyed by everyone from the novice to the more experienced player. The band now compete both locally and nationally and have had a number of recent successful competiton seasons. Ballyboley Pipe Band are very proud of their local history but are equally very much a band who now look to the future.

‘As part of the band’s 100th Year celebrations, they welcome legendary piping virtuoso Fred Morrison in concert at Theatre At The Mill. Fred is a household name in the world of piping, known for his prowess on the great Highland bagpipe but also for his highly successful career performing on stages across the globe on border pipes.

‘Fred holds the record for the most Macallan Trophies at the Lorient festival in France, having received the trophy nine times.’ Tickets can be bought here


A reminder from SPA President Tom Johnstone: Entries for the upcoming SPA Professional contest close on March 29.

Tom: ‘We are pleased to announce that we will be holding the SPA Annual Professional Contest on Saturday 13th April 2019. This is our 100th Year and we have expanded the contest to include more grades.

‘We felt that the old format of ‘Open’ discouraged both the Premier/A players and the B/C players for obvious reasons and we trust that the new format will give all players a platform to compete against their peers.

‘Premier/A Grade will be held at NPC Otago St.; Grades B&C will be held at NPC McPhater St. Each of the two venues would not be able to cope with the different grades/entries, hence the split. The contests will run concurrently.’ Entry forms here.


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2 thoughts on “PP Ed’s Blog: Piobaireachd Society/ Patrick’s Film/ SPA Professional/Ballyboley Concert

  1. Great details from conference. Wishing we were a wee bit closer. Hopefully not too long and I can become one of the “old boys” of the piobaireachd society! (LOL! Where did the time go?) absolutely LOVE the Badger story. Brilliant. Any way we can get to HEAR it? Also guessing MacCrimmon’s Gold won’t be showing at a cinema in Cincinnati in the near future?….

    1. I hope Bob Frater can be encouraged to record his tune and I am sure Patrick and his producer and director would love to have a US showing. Try emailing Patrick Dave. RW

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