Funds for Iain Memorial/ Niall Responds on Tune for 51st/ Drumming Job

Matthew Drennan, Secretary, Neilston War Memorial Association: ‘Can you please highlight the work our charity is doing to commemorate Pipe Major Iain MacDonald [above] in our village? We are a Scottish registered charity and Iain, who died last May, was a friend to all in our group.

‘He piped at Remembrance Days, World War grave commissions, and was always there with the pipes to welcome ex-pats back to the village. A great man so sorely missed.



‘He was noted in the piping world as being one of Scotland’s greatest ambassadors for piping and culture. A grand accolade for such a grand gentleman but then, Iain was known and respected everywhere. He took the Neilston Pipe band and the name of our village all around the world.

‘He was only 70 and had been in hospital for a few weeks with various health issues. His unexpected death shocked the family and villagers who gave him a grand send off in May. A fantastic turn out (despite the covid virus) on every street the cortege passed.

‘The Neilston War Memorial would like to commemorate Iain by installing the bespoke piper memorial bench (pictured) on the High Street in the centre of the village the big man loved so much and are trying to raise sufficient funds for the work.

‘We look to install the commemorative bench, made by Oglivies, Kilmarnock, and dress the area with a couple of flower beds on each side of the bench. I have contacted Iain’s family and they are very happy with our plan to commemorate him in this way. If you can spare a pound or two please donate and help us remember him. You can support this worthy cause here.’


Composer Niall Matheson [above] has responded to yesterday’s comment from Ken Eller about his (Niall’s) new piobaireachd: ‘Just a few words regarding Salute to the 51st Highland Division. Firstly I’d like to thank Ken for his positive and very kind words.

‘Like Salute to Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies, this theme/melody came to me very quickly whilst sitting on a sunny day in the garden. I recorded the ground straight away and the rest followed with small changes being made as I went along to try and better the piece.

‘Originally there was two G gracenote on the Bs in bar one in the ground and no cadences at the start of variation 1 and singling of T & C. After speaking with Duncan Watson and Colin Melville regarding these points, I decided to drop the gracenotes and insert the cadences. So in all there was about two weeks worth of work scratching the head and trying it in different ways.

‘Also, as Ken mentioned in the var. 1, the two Bs only came to me after I’d put the tripling into the taorluath singling variation and the crunluath followed in the manner to reflect what had been done before in Var 1 and T. I then decided to incorporate a taorluath and crunluath a mach.

‘I’ve had many lovely comments regarding this piece and I hope that pipers will enjoy playing it as much as I do.’ 


Renfrewshire Schools are looking for a drumming instructor. The spec: ‘The music service in Renfrewshire provides tuition to over 1900 young people in Renfrewshire Schools. 

‘We require a music instructor with a specialism in pipe drumming to teach groups of learners in Renfrewshire Schools and to play an active role in supporting and leading our ensemble programme in schools and throughout the local authority. Applicants will require a minimum qualification of a diploma in a recognised music course or equivalent pipe drumming qualification and should have a sound working knowledge of teaching methodology in their instrument family.

‘Applications are particularly welcomed from candidates who can demonstrate experience of working with young people and share details of their successful approaches to learning and teaching. Experience of working with young people in a pipe band will also/would be welcomed/desirable/beneficial. Closing Date – Friday 29 August 2020.’

Wages: £11,187.00 – £14,870.00 per year for 14 hours per week. More here.


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