Editor's Notebook: Trad Music Awards/ SPA News/ PBA News/ Royal Piper

Congratulations to Inveraray Pipe Band for being chosen as ‘Pipe Band of the Year’ and to Iain Ruari Finlayson as ‘Music Tutor of the Year’ at Saturday’s Scottish Traditional Music Awards. It was the third time that Inveraray, the current World Champions, had won this award sponsored by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust. Their prize was picked up by band members Ross Miller and Callum Brown.

Iain Ruairi is the schools teacher for Skye and P/M of the Skye Youth Pipe Band and is thoroughly dedicated to his work. I met him briefly at the Shotts Juniors contest a couple of weekends ago and he’d practically driven through the night in freezing conditions to get some of his pupils to the contest on time. Well deserved my man!

Iain Ruari, Music Tutor of the Year

Pleasing too to see Dr Peter Cooke winning the Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award. Peter will be known on the musicological wing of piping. Back in the 1980s he did notable work on the Eliza Ross (Lady D’Oyly) MS.

The evening got off to a great start with music from pipers from the Oban High School band joining in on stage for the opening numbers from the group Skerryvore. P/M Angus MacColl can just just be identified from our rather blurry pic.



Message from Tom Johnstone, President of the Scottish Pipers’ Association….. We have several events on the horizon:
FRIDAY 10th January 2020 – SPA CENTENARY Day event. This will be held at Otago St and we will have a bar available. Further details in due course
FRIDAY 7th February 2020 – Club Night and AGM
SATURDAY 8th February 2020 – Knockout Contest Semi-final with Steven Leask and John Patrick
FRIDAY 6th March 2020 – Knockout Contest Semi-final with Stuart Liddell and Callum Beaumont
SATURDAY 11th April 2020 – Professional Contest
SATURDAY 2nd May 2020 – Knockout Final
We hope you can join us for all these events.


Pipe Bands Australia report….PBA will deliver a series of workshops for bands in all branches in 2020. College principals are preparing the education modules in collaboration with their vice-principals and branches are requested to finalise presentation dates by 31 January for publication in a national diary on the workshops. 

Themes for the workshops: Preparing Musical Content, Good Integration, The Band is an Ensemble, Rules and Administration, Drill and Dress. 

The series of workshops follows feedback from members and bands during the structural review process in 2018 and 2019. 

Three new champion band banners will be awarded for the first time at the Diamond Jubilee year Australian Pipe Band Championships at Maryborough Victoria on 4 and 5 April 2020. 

The banners for the newly introduced grades of Grade 4B, Novice Juvenile A and Novice Juvenile B will be named in honour of three stalwarts of the Australian pipe band movement in the 20th century – Ron Gallacher OAM, Danny McPherson MBE and Ray Lee OAM. 

Ron Gallacher was a long-time pipe major of Hawthorn Pipe Band winning a number of Australian Grade 1 championships. Danny McPherson served in the Boer War and World War One and then became Ballarat Caledonian Society Pipe Band Assistant Pipe Major before the founding pipe major of the Mildura and District Pipe Band in 1922. Ray Lee was for 23 years the Band Master of The Scots College Pipes and Drums Sydney during which time the band won national and state championships.



Followers of the TV series ‘The Crown’ may remember the closing scene of one episode which featured the former King Edward VIII, now the Duke of Windsor, playing the pipes.

Some of the storylines in the show may be fanciful and overblown but the Duke was indeed a piper and once a visitor to the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society in Edinburgh. He composed the tune Mallorca, apparently with help from Willie Ross his tutor.

The scene from ‘The Crown’….the Duke of Windsor complete with fake tears and pipes off the shoulder laments his demotion from Sovereign following his attachment to Mrs Simpson

The Prince visited the capital in 1935 and Col. CM Usher (of the GS McLennan tune) arranged that he would make an informal visit to the then Scottish Pipers’ Society, founded on November 21, 1881. The Prince duly attended accompanied by various dignitaries, including Colonel Usher, and fell in with the Society band.

The Duke of Windsor, the present Queen’s uncle, piping

At the Prince’s request they played The Green Hills, Nut Brown Maiden and the Skye Boat Song. A member of the Society played the Prince’s composition, Mallorca (above), then the Prince played another slow march before joining the members for a refreshment. In 1937 King George VI granted the title ‘Royal’ to the Society, since known as the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society.


Posted in News   

1 thought on “Editor's Notebook: Trad Music Awards/ SPA News/ PBA News/ Royal Piper

  1. Hello Rab

    Many thanks for all the precious news vi ” The piping press ”

    What a surprise, I didna’ know that the Duke was a piper, would it be the buzz of the day ?

    Jean Michel Platen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.