Editor's Notebook: CITES Breakthrough/ Harry's Tunes/ Edinburgh Police Contest/ Two Chris's

It has been a long haul but the UK’s bagpipe manufacturers have finally been released from the red tape that added greatly to their costs and paperwork. From December 14, 2019, they will no longer have to comply with strict export and import licence requirements which cover African blackwood.

From that date they will only have too prove that their raw material comes from a licensed supplier (who in turn must comply with strict sustainability regulations). Finished articles – sets of pipes, chanters etc – will be exempt from strict trade rules governing this precious resource.

The change was agreed by world flora and fauna protection body CITES in early summer but has only now been adopted by the European Union.

The official announcement covers:

  1. Finished products to a maximum weight of wood of the listed species of up to 10kg per shipment
  2. Finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument parts and finished musical instrument accessories

This came into effect outside EU on 26 November 2019. 

Christmas Gift idea 1: Piobaireachd Society Bound Volume, only £285 from the PS Shop

RSPBA judge Harry Stevenson tells me he played the following tunes at the Blackthorn Pipers recently. Harry writes: ‘Thought you might be interested in the WW2 tune selection which I played at the Blackthorn Pipers Society meeting.

‘Matthew Warwick produced a stunning Power Point presentation to support each tune. I have taken up your suggestion to include Captain John Young. A really melodic tune to commemorate his heroic sacrifice prior to the Battle of Kohima. This would be a really good tune to open a Grade 1 or 2 medley.

Click here to remind yourself of the heroics of Captain Young (above) who gave his life for his men. The tune was composed by Peter MacInnes following a competition I ran whilst at the Piping Times. There’s copy and sound recording on the link.

Perhaps someone at the Blackthorn could forward on something from the evening.

Christmas Gift idea 2: the perfect stocking filler for all young pipers. Get it from the Piping Press Shop

From the archives…. The late lamented Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band used to run a top solo contest in the capital. It was open to all and attracted the top players. Here are the results from the 1972 contest held in the Royal Arch Halls on March 18th of that year:
1 Cpl. Iain Morrison, Queen’s Own Highlanders
2 John MacDougall
3 James McIntosh
4 Hugh MacCallum
5 Angus J MacLellan.
Other who competed included Colin Drummond, Robert Pinkman, Jimmy Yong, Andrew Wright, Rhona MacDonald (Lightfoot), Ronnie Lawrie, Bill Wotherspoon, Patrick Molard (Brittany), Jack Taylor, Wille MacDonald (benbecula), David Hutton (Muirhead & Sons), Kenny MacDonald, Jimmy MacGregor, Willie Dickson, Iain MacFadyen, Eddie Clark, Jean Allain (Brittany), Robert Barnes, Ian Duncan (Vale), Norrie Gillies and Tom Speirs.

Iain Murdo Morrison, winner of the piobaireachd at the Edinburgh Police contest in 1972

1 Ronnie Lawrie
2 Iain MacFadyen
3 Jimmy Young
4 Hugh MacCallum

Strathspey & Reel
1 Kenny MacDonald
2 Iain Morrison
3 Hugh MacCallum
4 Iain MacFadyen

1 Kenny MacDonald
2 Iain Morrison
3 John MacDougall
4 Iain MacFadyen

Christmas Gift idea 3: Piobaireachd Society Kilt Pin, only £95 from the PS Shop

Judges at a recent Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society contest were Chris Gray and Chris Cloete. I remember Chris C from my early days teaching in South Africa. Here’s the short bios that the QHPS newsletter had on each:

Chris Cloete started his pipe band career in South Africa as a snare drummer at 13 yrs old, and shifted to the pipes when he was 17, so has been piping for just over 25 years now. He moved to New Zealand in 2002 and spent some years playing with the Auckland & District Pipe Band, and followed that with two seasons with the Scottish Power Pipe Band in Glasgow. He is now a resident of the Gold Coast for the past ten years, and has enjoyed a couple of seasons with the Queensland Highlanders Pipe Band. Chris is known for his many aspects of musical performing and composing, being very proficient at multiple instruments.

Chris Gray is from Lockerbie, Scotland, and is a multi­-instrumentalist and composer who plays piano, highland & border pipes and whistles. He recently graduated with a First­ Class Honours BMus degree in Traditional Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In July 2019 he graduated from the Masters in Traditional Music program with piano as his main study where he was awarded a scholarship from the Keepers of the Quaich. Chris spent one Semester of his Master’s studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. He has played with Inveraray & District Pipe Band since 2012 winning many Major Championships including the Worlds in 2017 & 2019.

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