Editor’s Notebook

A very sensible comment by drummer John Scullion may have slipped your notice. John was talking about my article on band sizes. Here’s what he wrote: ‘What’s wrong with a max of 25 pipers to sign for a band and 20 being the max number to compete?

‘If you want to sign another piper, one has to leave, and the same for the following: 12 snares max for signing, max competing nine; max signing two bass players only one to compete, say, six tenors to sign max, max of four to compete; level playing field for all, I’m not saying that it has to be those exact numbers, but I’m asking, what would be wrong with it?

Nothing at all as far as I am concerned John. We’d have more good bands as a result and costs for each would be much lower. Sizes could then be reduced down the grades: 20, 10, 6 for G2, 15,8,6 for G3/J/4/NJ.


Apropos Nicholas Taitz’s article yesterday, I remember Bob Hardie telling me once that he had been asked to supply a chanter with a hollow silver sole with small dried peas inside, the better to improve resonance.

Hardie pooh-poohed such a notion and refused to do it. Nicholas’s story was the first reference I’d heard to this idea in 40 years. It would be interesting to hear other views, as Nicholas says.

One thing that cannot be questioned is the quality of Sinclair instruments. The chanters, from what I can remember of their band heyday in the 70s, were always black as two in the morning as we say here. A sign of well seasoned wood I’m told.


Piper John Dew of Inveraray and District has asked me to point out the following end of term recital at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

John writes: ‘It is an event on Facebook which represents my final third year recital at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where I will be performing a number of pieces of Ceol Mor in public recital which counts towards my final degree.

John Dew of Inveraray & District

‘The recital is between 45-50 mins and is titled ‘Ar Dualchas as Sine’ translating as ‘Our Oldest Tradition’ i.e. piobaireachd. The event is free and is in the mix of a series of other recitals such as Ciaren Ross, Chris Lee and Danny Hutcheson – all of which will be very good.

‘The performance will take place at the CCA in Glasgow on Sauchiehall St on the 12th of June at 11am. For more information here is the BMus traditional music facebook page link.


A number of people have been asking about recordings of the forthcoming Piob Soc recital in August as reported this week.

The intention is to have it videoed with the footage placed on the Society website as we did last year.

I hope as many readers as possible will be able to support the event:


Captain Christopher J McKeown Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Pipes & Drums: ‘The 2019 Florida Pipe and Drum Academy will be 2/24-2/28 in Jax, Florida.

‘I will be opening registration on 7/1. If you wish to attend this year and want to pre-register now, feel free to respond to this email. Have a great summer!’ Contact Chris here.

Only three weeks to till the New England Academy. Here’s the latest promo pic:


Blair Atholl Games tomorrow and I’m told there are over 60 pipers entered! Many will be vying for a place in the 2020 Silver Medal as the B grade contest there is a qualifier. Check PP on Sunday evening for results as we get them.

I wonder how Atholl stacks up against the qualifier held in BC a month or so back when there were only a hanfdul of competitors? Against that I hear that the other Canadian qualiier at Georgetown in Ontario has a very healthy entry. Starting at 7pm, I don’t know how they are going to get through them all before midnight.

Today there is piping at Bathgate Games; again results as we get them.


The 214 BB ex Members Association Trophy was won by Lochgelly High School from Fife at last Saturday’s British PB Championships. Lochgelly took first place from an entry of 17 bands in the Novice Juvenile B grade.

Good to see my old BB company still doing something for juvenile piping 90 odd years on.


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