Editor’s Notebook

A rare recording of one of the great pipers and composers, GS McLennan, has been published by his family on their website. The recording, though of poor quality, is of historical interest and has the young prodigy, pictured below, playing the reel, De’il Amang the Tailors.

Listen to it here. I read on the website that there are other recordings of GS in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. It should not take too much to get these into the public domain too – if there is a will so to do.

Given the sound technology we have today, there really is surely no reason why these recordings cannot be brought forth for us all to hear. It would make a fine project for the acoustics department of one of our distinguished universities.

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The website also reproduces the 1969 letter to the Piping Times by GS’s half brother DR MacLennan: ‘…At the age of 10½ years, he [GS] made three phonograph records – the old cylindrical type. Two of these records are now in the Royal Scottish Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. The third record was unfortunately smashed, although I heard it when it was whole.

‘On one of the records……. G. S. plays the Midlothian Pipe Band, Climbing Duniquaich and The Man from Glengarry. All three would probably be new tunes at that time, and a boy like he would wish to play the latest! There were no names of tunes on the record cases although I myself subsequently put the names on them so that I do not know if the tune was named then [at the time of the recording] or not – but the tune is certainly what we know as The Man from Glengarry.’

I read that 12 pipers were on duty at the State Banquet given for President Trump by HM The Queen on Monday evening. Isn’t it wonderful that this tradition started by Queen Victoria all those years ago is still being upheld by the Royal Family? It does our instrument no end of good.

Angus MacKay piping for the Royals at Balmoral

In my article on the first Sovereign’s Piper, Angus MacKay, I write: ‘In 1844, a banquet was held in Windsor Castle at which Queen Victoria entertained King Louis Phillipe of France and his Queen. The occasion was unique since it was the first visit to Britain by a reigning French monarch.

‘It was noteworthy, perhaps remarkable, in that part of the entertainment included a recital by Queen Victoria’s piper Angus MacKay, Angus from the Hebridean island of Raasay, appointed the previous year as first Sovereign’s Piper. Consider that less than a hundred years before the bagpipe had been outlawed, if indirectly, in an effort to destroy the very culture that Angus now represented.’

Read the full Angus MacKay story here.

The summer has turned sour here in Scotland with continuous cloudy skies and rain, rain, rain. I hope things pick up for the weekend but the forecast is not promising. There are band contests at Strathmore (Grades 2,3,&4) and Ardrossan where there are N/J, G3, G4 and Open grade contests.

There are also solo contests at both venues. All taking place on Sunday, June 9.

Tonight (June 5), in Inverness, the piping society will hear the playing of local piper Isla Stout. Alastair Campbell, Secretary, says that other pipers are also welcome to bring their pipes and have a tune.

Says Alastair: ‘Please come along to The Club (Mitchell’s Lane) on the 5th June for some great music and free sandwiches. Everybody welcome, 8pm.  Please note a small parking charge may apply if using the private car park at the Club.’

Tom Johnstone of the SPA: Our next club night will be this Friday – 7th June – NPC Otago St, thereafter, as usual our meetings are first Friday of each month at 7.30pm 

We have several events on the horizon: Saturday 8th June – second heat of the Knockout featuring Callum Beaumont and Cameron McDougall. Due to a mix-up with the licence there will be no alcoholic beverages on sale so please make your own arrangements.

Normal service will be resumed for future events I am told. For the diary: Saturday 7th September – annual juvenile contest and third heat of the Knockout featuring Steven Leask and Sarah Muir

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1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook

  1. In 2011, there was an exhibition of G.S. McLennan memorabilia at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow’s Hope Street. I put together several video clips that I took during my visit, which can be seen on YouTube, entitled “G.S. McLennan Exhibition (1 )” and – (2). (My channel is piperbob2).
    It was pouring with rain outside, and I was wearing an orange waterproof jacket, which shows up as a reflection, as everything was behind glass, but still worth watching, I hope !

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