Editor's Notebook: RSPBA Do It Again/ Florida Academy/ Inverness Piping Soc./ Worlds Plaque/ Oban Results 1998

So there we have it. All the judges for the 2020 season of pipe band major championships issued timeously by the volunteers of the RSPBA. Regular as dawn, year after year. The season begins to take shape and bands feel the excitement grow as May approaches.

Remember this when next you read of these attempts to undermine Willie Sloan’s 90 year old creation. It has been, and remains, a force for good. It has launched many a youngster’s piping and drumming career – mine included. It was at RSPBA contests that I was first gripped by the excitement of winning and realised that to do so you had to learn and play well. That’s why when I hear of unfair criticism of the Association my first instinct is to man the barricades in its defence.

Contrary to what has been suggested, they are not bad people hell bent on ripping everyone off, doing the dirty. And once OSCR read the minuted timeline of the refurbishment programme for 45 Washington Street as I have done they will come to the same conclusion.

Everything is falling into place for the Florida Pipe and Drum Academy to be held in Jacksonville later this month. Piping instructors are myself and Barry Donaldson with Stephen Creighton on the drumming. We will add to the teachers’ list depending on the number of students. Stephen, whose SLOT corps are the current World Champions, tells me he is looking forward to his first visit to our school and has produced his own teaching manual to cover his particular style. Email organiser Chris McKeown if you’d like to attend.

Alastair Campbell, Secretary, Inverness Piping Society: ‘Alan Hasson, 17, will be our featured player on the first Wednesday in February (5th). He has been playing for just under 11 years. He is the pipe major of the 1st Battalion the Highlanders ACF and a Member of CIPB. This is an informal evening of piping. Come along on Wednesday for good music, good craic, free sandwiches. Everyone is welcome with or without pipes.’

Get help for your band from the RSPBA’s fund – click here

Thanks to Allan Chatto for forwarding this information about fomer Wallacestone and Muirheads drummer Murray Dick….‘Murray Dick began his pipe band drumming career with Wallacestone & District Pipe Band and then did his National Service in the Royal Scots Greys, playing with their pipe band under Alex Docherty. Returning to civilian life he rejoined Wallacestone and was approached by Leading Drummer Jim Hutton to join the Grade 1 Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band. 

‘The band competed in the 1961 Worlds Pipe Band Championships and were placed first [P/M Jackie Smith] as well as winning the Drum Corps prize.  That year the band were also the winners of the Champion of Champions Trophy.  All members of the band were presented with a plaque for winning the Worlds and a medal for Champion of Champions [below]

‘In 1964 Murray and his family decided to emigrate to live in Sydney, Australia, where he joined the drum corps of the Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band, under Leading Drummer Allan Chatto. In 1965 the band competed in Grade 1 at the Australian Pipe Band Championships in Melbourne. The band won, being awarded first place by the all-Scottish piping and drumming adjudicators. Murray and Allan were also winners of the solo drumming events held that day.’

The band is pictured top after their victory at the Worlds held at Murrayfield (I think) that year. Be obliged if someone could supply the names.

I know everyone enjoys looking back over old solo piping results so here is a batch from the Argyllshire Gathering of 1998…doesn’t seem like 22 years ago does it?

Gold Medal
1 Niall Matheson 2 P/M Stuart Samson 3 P/M Ian Macey 4 Iain Speirs

Silver Medal
1 Matt MacIsaac 2 Michael Rogers 3 Andrew Mathieson 4 Seumas Coyne
5 Liam Brown

Niall Mathieson, the 1998 Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medallist

Formner Winners’ MSR
1 Angus MacColl 2 P/M Alasdair Gillies 3 P/Sgt Gordon Walker 4 Niall Matheson

‘A’ March
1 Stuart Liddell 2 Peter Hunt 3 Douglas Murray 4 Niall Matheson 5 Gordon MacLean

‘A’ S&R
1 Stuart Liddell 2 Seumas Coyne 3 Niall Stewart 4 Donald MacPhee 5 Iain Speirs

‘B’ March
1 Liam Brown 2 Herve Lefloc’h 3 Margaret Houlihan 4 Martin Kessler 5 Kelly Todd

‘B’ S&R
1 Graeme Roy 2 Neil Walker 3 Brian MacKenzie 4 Liam Brown 5 Fiona McKay

1 Gordon Walker 2 Donald MacPhee 3 Greg Wilson

MacGregor Memorial Piob
1 Margaret Houlihan 2 Brian May 3 John Mulhearn 4 Edward Gotsaf

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5 thoughts on “Editor's Notebook: RSPBA Do It Again/ Florida Academy/ Inverness Piping Soc./ Worlds Plaque/ Oban Results 1998

  1. Re: the RSPBA – Although my interaction with the RSPBA hierarchy is dated, I must chime in and agree with you. There was a time when the RSPBA hosted a meeting with representatives from all the world pipe band associations to discuss common issues and concerns. These were held the Sunday after the World’s. I attended the first three and found them to be informative as well as enlightening. I don’t know the status of these but would hope consideration would be given to formally reviving them.

  2. I have a similar view to that of the editor regarding all well meaning people and I refer in particular to management efforts on behalf of the Association re the refurbishment issue at RSPBA HQ. However, some of those specifically tasked with overseeing the planning and work might usefully reflect today that the ongoing communication direct to the membership, regarding the progress of the project, was utterly inadequate.
    May I say to the editor if you are going to understand the present criticisms of “The RSPBA Managment Practice” it may be wise to look a little deeper – open your eyes and ears – the membership frustrations and disconnect with HQ mismanagement are increasing. Smooth talk or blaming everyone who dares to speak differently about current issues swirling round RSPBA HQ will not dampen the swell of diappointment or disgruntlement. ’tis the voices that have remained silent ’til now, who may have the final and decisive say.
    Precisely because of where I and fellow members live good, effective communication is vital so that we stay connected with the heartbeat of the Association. Alas, this has been lacking for years both from HQ and regrettably from our local Branch too.

    Do not think though that this is the only issue that is giving rise to current dissatisfaction. Should you as the EDITOR wish to consider the mounting number of problems which are going to lead further us down a troublesome path, contact me; we may even agree on some possible solutions..

    1. Thanks for the comment Winston. I appreciate there are strong views out there on this matter and if anyone has a further comment to make please do so here where readers can test what you have to say against the original story. RW

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