Editor’s Notebook: Eagle Pipers History/ Sandy Steele/ SPA KO/ Picture Query

One of the great advantages of the piping ‘off season’, if there is such a thing these days, is that it gives us the chance to look back through old competition and recital programmes and newspaper clippings, and publish interesting articles which would otherwise be lost to posterity. This is from a recital promoted by the Eagle Pipers’ Society in 1966:

There must have been quite a turnout for P/M Donald MacLeod, John MacFadyen and Captain John MacLellan (Donald (l) and John are pictured top). Inside the programme we see that the night kicked off with Captain John playing a selection of light music. Donald then played the Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon, John MacFadyen the Lament for Mary MacLeod and finally Captain John again with the Daughter’s Lament, the tune played so well this year by Callum Beaumont at Inverness.

Tea was served during the interval and the music resumed with ceol beag and the piobaireachd the Old Woman’s Lullaby from P/M MacLeod, John MacFadyen with Beloved Scotland and John MacLellan with the Marquis of Argyll’s Salute. Chair for the evening was Captain Ian Cameron and the Vote of Thanks was given by Hugh MacPherson of the Highland Pipers’ Society.

I offer no further comment other than to say that I suppose this tradition of piobaireachd recitals in the capital is being continued by the Piobaireachd Society with our St Cecilia’s concerts.

There’s such a flurry of activity throughout August and early September that some news items get missed. One such was a presentation to RSPBA adjudicator Sandy Steele.

Gilbert Cromie writes: ‘At the Worlds, away from the excitement and anticipation of the big results to come, an important presentation took place recognising Northern Ireland adjudicator Sandy Steele’s long service to the pipe band movement.

‘The presentation was made by John Wilson on behalf of the RSPBA Adjudicators Panel. Sandy has been a member since 1995. Sandy’s involvement in the pipe band community started 61 years ago in 1968 when he joined his local Waringsford Pipe Band as a teenage drummer.

Sandy Steele (right) with fellow adjudicator Gordon Lawrie

‘In 1966 he moved to Dromara Highland a top grade competition band at the time where he served for two decades before ending his competitive drumming career in the mid 1980s with Woodburn and Ballydonaghy Caledonia.

‘Sandy first joined the NI Branch adjudicator’s panel in 1985 before moving onto the RSPBA panel which he will have served for 25 years when he reaches their compulsory retirement [75] age next year. In that time he has been included on panels at all of the major championships and on numerous occasions serving in the Grade 1 arenas to adjudicate on the best drum corps in the world.

‘He is also a regular at the World Solo Pipe Band Championships. Many congratulations to Sandy on this magnificent service and I am sure that during his final season in 2020 his contribution will be suitably recognised by the NI Branch.’

From the archives: Can anyone identify the pipers in this cutting from the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper? I think it is from the 1950s or 60s so the Cold War must have been at its height:

Tom Johnstone Scottish Pipers’ Association President: “Could you please put in an announcement that the 4th heat of our Knockout Series will be held on Saturday 5th October  7.00pm for 7.30pm. There will be a bar available.

‘Venue is NPC Otago St (Formerly the College of Piping). Players are: John Patrick  vs  Angus McColl Jnr. Semi finals and final will be held in 2020 which is the Centenary of the Scottish Pipers’ Association. Club night as usual on Friday 4th October at the same venue.

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