Editor’s Notebook: Band Virus Fears/ Oban Tune Contest/ Online Contests/ Tune for Stephen/ Worlds Painting

I’m rather concerned for the future of the pipe band movement. I read yesterday about the threat to choirs and other musical groupings. They won’t be able to play or sing indoors ‘in the foreseeable future’ said this particular gloomster. And this was in England, not in we-can-out-Lockdown-the-world Scotland.

Add to that this week’s outburst from the Visit Scotland agency. They are calling into question outdoor festivals and events happening NEXT year. Can you see my worry in glorious technicolour?

Marie Christie is head of events development at the tax payer funded agency. She said that live events were likely to make only a ‘very cautious’ return next year. Visit Scotland are directly and indirectly sponsors of the World Pipe Band Championships and Piping Live.

Worrying, no? We’d better get used to online chanter practices and outdoor only band practices. Any other solutions? Facemasks with Canmore bag style grommets for the blowstick? There’s money there Jori.



The final figure for the Argyllshire Gathering 2/4 march competition was 59 so a lot of work ahead for the judges in picking a winning tune to mark the AG’s 150th Anniversary.

I hope we get one as good as Donald Shaw Ramsay’s Jimmy Young featured earlier in the week. Wasn’t he a great composer? I wonder if he always played as fast as he did on the recording?

For sure pipers, even in my competing day in bands and solo, played quicker than they do nowadays, safety first the mantra. Not all are guilty and it’s worse in bands than in solos, hence the empty stands at the Worlds for the MSR leg of G1.


The Competing Pipers’ Association and the PPBSO in Canada are getting it together with online contests. CPA: ‘There will be two events per grade, Piobaireachd and MSR. The competition will be held in stages, C grade in July, B grade in August and A&P grade in September, depending on the success of the earlier competitions. Entries will be taken through the CPA website and we welcome new members to sign up in order to take part. Entries open for the C grade competition on Monday 14th June with the deadline for entries and submissions Wednesday 1st July.

‘The CPA also plan to host the Jimmie MacGregor seminar online later in the summer, so keep an eye out for information on that too.’

PPBSO: ‘We will pilot a virtual solo competition for amateur pipers and drummers in June. Subsequent competitions are planned to take place in July and August that will accommodate professional competitors and include piobaireachd events. 

‘Performances must be video recorded and uploaded to YouTube and PPBSO rules on dress and deportment will be upheld. Registration for competitions for this first contest will be free to PPBSO members in good standing, with a fee of $10 per event to non-PPBSO members; entries are encouraged from across Canada and abroad.’ More here.


Ace composer Roddy S MacDonald is busy working on a new tune for ace SLOT leading tip Stephen Creighton. The name? Yes, you’ve guessed it: ‘The Mighty Creighton’ taken from our headline from the series of interviews carried recently on PP with the Mighty himself.

The Mighty…to be immortalised in music

Roddy tells me he is trying to construct a musical piece imaging how it would be played by SLOT. Maybe we’ll hear it as they head into the circle next summer (assuming of course there is such a thing).

Roddy has also suggested that the winner of the Argyllshire Gathering contest mentioned above should be presented with a certificate of some sort to go with the £1,000 prize. Important, he said, given that it was such an historic commission. Good idea and I’ve passed it on to the promoters Roddy and we’ll see what happens.


Lest we forget what the pipe band contest arena looks like, here’s Gilbert Cromie’s submission for our Lockdown challenge painting contest.

Gilbert, our Northern Ireland correspondent, writes: ‘I had a roof space full of oil painting materials but hadn’t done anything for many years so I thought lockdown would be a chance to get back into it.

‘This painting is perhaps a little on the adventurous side but I gave it a go. The Worlds is my favourite annual competition having first come over in the early 1980s so missing this year is a  big negative for me as I am sure it is for many others. Year after year I have sat in the grandstands and thought the view before me would make a great picture. Hope it gives others looking at it as much pleasure as I got from doing it.’


2 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Band Virus Fears/ Oban Tune Contest/ Online Contests/ Tune for Stephen/ Worlds Painting

  1. Mr. Wallace:

    As much as I can’t wait for the return of a piping competition season as we knew it before the virus, I am settling in for the duration, to avoid too much disappointment if there is no 2021 season.

    Until a safe and effective vaccine is available, gatherings of people in any setting are a kin to being participants in a game of “Russian roulette”. – a risk.

    It seems that it will be months before a safe and effective vaccine will be available. Even after a declaration of a vaccine being found is made, it will take a while to get populations vaccinated. I hope that I am wrong, but I am preferring to settle in for the possibility of the cancellation of the 2021 season as well, so as not to be too disappointed should it become reality.

    If it turns out that a vaccine become available and populations are being vaccinated, and the 2021 season is not cancelled, I will be ecstatic and only too happy to be wrong!

    The takings of temperatures and testings of any sort, in any setting are worthless acts and a waste of money, as people may be asymptomatic at the moment of taking a temperature or testing. They might even test neagative; however, that “negative” result is for that particular moment in time.

    Unless the tested individual is quarantined for 21 days post testing (the 14 day quarantine does not hold true for CORVID 19), there is no way of declaring a person safe and free of the virus.

    Given these conditions, there is no real safe way for people to gather, much less bands to able to gather for practise or competition.

    We may have to be contented with more online competitions for the 2021 season.

    I hope that I am proven wrong!

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