Editor’s Notes: Online Contests/ Robbie MacIsaac/ ANZAC Day/ Peter MacLeod Tune

Well done to Burntisland Pipe Band for their virtual junior piping and drumming contest Matrix 2020. A great idea which will keep the fingers and wrists moving during these fallow pipe band times. A raft of top judges have been drafted in including Douglas Murray, Shauna Hilder, Lee Innes and Steven McWhirter.

Performances are submitted online (by April 11 please note) and adjudicated at distance. Some great prizes too. All you youngsters off school should be having a go. Details here.

Jori Chisholm too deserves credit. He has launched what he is calling the World Online Piping & Drumming Championships with lots of categories and lots of dollars for the winners. This is great stuff and I hope everyone will support these initiatives. Note to promoters: send PP your info and results. We need all the input we can get right now.



Seven entrepreneurs from across Scotland have been recognised for their innovative business ideas and they include Scottish Power piper Robbie MacIsaac.

The blurb: ‘Fresh Ideas’ is Scotland’s longest-running national student enterprise competition for early stage ideas. Run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), 15 finalists were in the running to be awarded a cash prize and continued business support from leading advisors to help progress their change-making concepts.

Entrepreneur Robbie

‘One of the five main winners who received a £1200 cash prize was piper Robbie MacIssac, a first-year University of Strathclyde Product Design student with his FLUX Blowpipe – a bespoke technology for the bagpipe that reduces the risk of a fatal lung disease and prolongs the lifespan of the instrument by cooling and condensing moisture, and then collecting and absorbing it, as the player uses their instrument.’

Congratulations Robbie!


News from Pipe Bands Australia…ANZAC Day celebrations and parades will not take place as scheduled on April 25 due to the pandemic but pipers and drummers are asked to play Amazing Grace on their doorstep at 11am on that day.

PBA are also looking to build up their archive of photographs and newspaper clippings associated with ANZAC Day and contributions should be sent to  president@pipebands.asn.au 

Meanwhile two new inductees to the Pipe Bands Australia Hall of Fame have been announced, Donald Blair OAM and the late Lew Zilles OAM ED. 

  • The influence of Donald Blair as a pipe tutor and educator has spread around Australia and internationally over four decades. He was a pioneering tutor of Victorian Certificate of Education (Year 12) piping students and Donald co-founded of the South West Coast Piper Drummer Dancer Workshop. 
  • Lew was at the forefront of establishing the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association in 1924. For 50 years drum major Ballarat Highland Pipe Band, made a significant contribution to the writing of drill instruction manuals, acting as an adjudicator until the 1980s. An innovator in band and massed band displays and performances. 

Recipients of the 2020 national awards are: Performance – Mark Saul, James Cowie; Education and training – Greg Bassani OAM, Gary Webb; Promotion and advancement – June Corcoran, Peter Stuart. 

Formal recognition of new Hall of Fame inductees and award recipients has been rescheduled to April 2021 following postponement of the Australian Pipe Band Championships due to restrictions on public assemblies during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Reader Peter Candy writes apropos the US Bicentennial Books published by Don Varella many moons ago: ‘I have a copy of Volume 2 of these books, mainly because I was interested in the strathspey P/M Robert Reid by Peter MacLeod Jnr., as I first learned it as P/M Hector Maclean in the Edcath Collection Book 1. 

Brilliant composer….Peter MacLeod Jnr.

‘However it got me looking and I wondered if it is possible to find copies of the other three books in this collection? My searches show them out of print and the internet remarks are that some copies had to be withdrawn because of copyright issues, but I thought that if anybody had copies, it might be you?’

No, I only have book one Peter, but very interesting that Peter Jnr. changed the name of the strathspey. Can any reader help Peter get his missing copies?

Here’s another tune by Peter Jnr. It featured as ‘Tune of the Month’ in the October edition of Don Varella’s ‘Piping World’ magazine in October 1967:

Not a bad wee tune and I’ve never seen it published before. Good practice for the gracenote birl from D and the B gracenote from D to low A. Get the gracenote on the first low A of the birl in cleanly and all should be well. Struggling with the B gracenote? Hold down the other fingers on a table edge and work that B finger to build up strength and control.


Posted in News   

5 thoughts on “Editor’s Notes: Online Contests/ Robbie MacIsaac/ ANZAC Day/ Peter MacLeod Tune

  1. Reference the picture of Peter MacLeod Jnr above. Peter MacLeod snr. lost part of his right leg in a shipyard accident 1927 so the original picture was Peter junior; also he is playing a full ivory chanter in the replacement picture.

  2. Sorry, another point: re the photograph of Peter MacLeod above – is this not a photograph of P/M Peter MacLeod, the father of Peter Macleod Jnr. ?

    1. Picture corrected Bob; many thanks. The tune clearly has a misprint in the third bar of the second part; should be C crotchet, low A crotchet and all four note groupings shoulb be single beam not double. RW

  3. Am I missing something, concerning the music above for the tune “Banana Fingers” ? The time signature is given as common time (i.e. 4/4), but some bars only have three crotchet-equivalent beats (i.e. 3/4) and the penultimate bar of the first measure, and last two bars of the second measure only have two beats (i.e 2/4).

Leave a Reply to Bob Ash Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.