Editor’s Notebook: Red Hackle in 1953/ Young Musicians Fight Covid Restrictions/ Sandy’s Tune for the Long March/ Balmoral Classic Update

David Ogilivie has sent this regarding our recent articles on the Red Hackle band: ‘I loved the stories about the Hackle. There was a photo of the band that hung in MacLeod Highland Supplies in Bridgegate, Glasgow, for many years.

‘When Donald [Gibson] was retiring and closing up shop, I asked if I could have this photo as it was most likely getting binned. It’s from 1953 and would be the first Braemar Games after the Queen’s Coronation. The Pipe Major at that time is of course Angus MacLeod. Hope it’s of some interest to you.’

Certainly is Davy. Here’s the picture montage in full:

The caption reads, ‘Pipe-Major Angus McLeod of the Red Hackle Pipes and Drums being presented with the Braemar Challenge Shield by Her Majesty the Queen at the Coronation Braemar Gathering.’ It lists pipers L. Cameron, A Wright, Drummer R. Hetherington, Drum Major [sic] A. Ross, Drummers R Craig, H Ower, and R Wallace, Pipers T Taylor, J Beaton, S McCreadie, N Nicholson and W Hendry, P/Sgt. T Hutton, Pipers A Cantley, R Ross, N Gillies (Alasdair’s father) and P Shaw, (Peter Shaw, later band secretary I believe.)

It goes on to list the band’s excellent record of success in the 1953 season including a second at the Scottish Championships and a third at the British and Worlds.

Well done to the residential students of Douglas Academy Music School in Milngavie, Glasgow, who have launched a petition calling for a change in regulations which bar them from practising in the school or residential buildings. Singers, brass and woodwind are all affected.

There could be implications for our schools pipe bands if they win some sensible and safe dispensation. At the moment it is all online stuff and electronic chanters for these young pipers. More must be done to get them back playing again. You can help the kids here.

Tick, tock, tick, tock……that 2021 pipe band season gets closer and no sign of any contingency.

Grateful to Roddy Livingstone who sends, from the Garden of England, this tune by the late Sandy Forbes. Roddy writes: ‘Having a bit of a sort out in my ‘piping room’ and came across the attached. 

‘I think it was sent to me by Willie Strachan, a stalwart of the London scene for many years who spent his retirement and last years in Fraserburgh.’

A fine study of the composer taken in 1996

In a note accompanying his composition Sandy writes:

The Piobaireachd Society is considering publishing a new book of modern compositions and this could be worthy of consideration by the Music Committee. Is anyone up for doing a recording? A good project for a young piper.

Elaine Lee of the Balmoral Classic competition has been in touch: ‘We have an update in our information on this year’s Balmoral Classic and are hoping you might pass this on to your readership.

‘For the 2020 Classic, we have decided to extend the deadline for Drumming (not Piping) applications by 10 days, to October 24. This extension is an acknowledgement of the fact that drummers have more hoops to jump through when preparing a video for a virtual contest in the days of Covid. In other words, they must have an accompaniment by a piper, during a period of social isolation.

‘Our message to young drummers is: “Need a piper for accompaniment? Let us know and we’ll find a professional to record your competition tunes and send them to you. Inquire at info@bagpiping.org for details.’

3 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Red Hackle in 1953/ Young Musicians Fight Covid Restrictions/ Sandy’s Tune for the Long March/ Balmoral Classic Update

  1. I’m Angus MacLeod’s son, I’d love a higher resolution scan of the picture. I’ve never seen it before!

  2. What a great collage of The Hackle! Piper A Cantley will be Andy Cantley who later became band secretary and saw it through its metamorphosis to Clan Campbell and later Britoil Pipes and Drums. The band folded as Britoil after the 1986 season with Angus Lawrie as its last Pipe Major and Sandy Kilgour as leading drummer.

  3. David – great picture of the Red Hackle – could you send me the original file, please?
    I have a more detailed article on the band if you are interested

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