It is the year of Galicia at the 2019 Lorient Festival in Brittany and as ever the promoters have produced a very striking poster and promotional video for the event. Topping the bill is Carlos Nunez the best known of all Galician pipers and a rivetting performer. I don’t have any info on the Scottish contingent this year other than the well known ceilidh group Skippinish. The festival runs from August 2 – 11.
Aboyne Games will be on August 3 this year and joining the usual complement of local pipe bands performing on the village green will be the Somme Battlefield Pipe Band. The French band is visiting the games as part of a two-week Scottish tour to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Comprised of volunteers, the band promotes the music and history of Scottish soldiers and their regiments during their time in northern France between 1914 and 1918, and during World War II. Five of Aboyne’s sons listed on the village’s war memorial died at the Somme.
The band will close the day’s proceedings by Beating Retreat. Since the beginning of World War I centenary commemorations, members of the band have performed at more than 300 remembrance ceremonies.
Founded in 1989, it is currently made up of 27 pipers and drummers and, in recognition of Scotland’s involvement in World War I, each member must represent one of the 10 Scottish infantry regiments involved in the conflict. They also buy their own uniforms, with only the drums belonging to the band.
Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Games, said: ‘Aboyne lost many of its sons during both world wars and it will be a very poignant moment of reflection for many as the sound of the band’s pipes and drums echo around the arena while the chieftain’s banner is lowered drawing the games to a close.’
The noted pipe band commentator Winston Pollock has a letter on pipe band sizes published today on our Letters pages. Read it here. I think Winston agrees with me that there should be a cap in Grade 1.
Winston believes that the standards in lower grades have fallen as the top grade has sucked up all the talent. Hard to disagree with that.
Gerard McClumpha, event co-ordinator for the popular Festival of Junior Solo Piping, has sent the entry forms for this year’s contest (October 19). You can download them here.
Gerard points out their new ‘goose’ competition which I think may well be a first in world piping. He writes: ‘This year we are increasing the entry fees to pipers and chanters, slightly, for the first time since 2007. Probably bringing us into line with all other events. To offset this we will be making entry to the school for all parents, tutors and family members free.
‘The cost of the programme will remain the same but all this money is donated to the North Ayrshire Cancer Care Group.
‘What we also propose to do this year is to trial a ‘goose’ competition to see what the uptake is. This will be an open event (Event 5c, under 16yrs). This will be for players who are in their first year of playing the pipes and have not yet graduated to playing in public. (You should not have competed with the pipes previously either). Players in this event will not be allowed to compete in either the chanter competitions nor any other piping events, neither will you be allowed to compete in our ‘goose’ event the following year.’