Editor’s Notebook: Piob Soc Recital/ Duncan Campbell/ Mod ’74/ Salute to Her Majesty

The only show in town this weekend is the Piobaireachd Society’s livestreamed recital from the National Piping Centre. From 7.30pm on Sunday (29th) I’ll be introducing Angus MacColl, Cameron Macdougall, Iain Speirs and Sandy Cameron in a two-hour long concert of ceòl mòr.

Tickets are £5 and are available here. Take a look at part of the brochure below. The Society has hired a very professional Edinburgh-based company, Bridge IV Films, and also a separate sound engineer to do the broadcast, so we hope we will get the very best reproduction possible.

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The concert had been scheduled for St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, as part of last August’s Fringe Festival. The Piping Centre’s Director Finlay MacDonald and his team have been more than helpful in making the show happen three months later.

Starved of live music? Then this is for you, the next best thing to being there. And if you’re not really a piobaireachd person then I would urge you to make the effort to listen to these experts playing some of the best tunes in the repertoire. It could be the beginning of a new musical journey for you.

One of the pleasing aspects of Piping Press is the way readers come across articles and features that we have published many weeks or months ago. Whilst we lose something when we no longer have a paper copy of a magazine in our hands, we gain from online reading by the easy access to information. It affords an instant resource (and in the case of PP, one that is free).

Check out the recent comments re P/M John Weatherston and also this from reader Jean Anderson: ‘I stumbled across your article on Duncan Campbell, piper. I am so thrilled to see this. My family has a postcard picture of the photograph in the follow up article by Keith Sanger.

Duncan Campbell of Foss

‘We also have a coloured painting done on wood. All we had was for identification was that he was Duncan, brother of Catherine, and a story that he was a champion piper. The names of the areas of Scotland mentioned are exact to the family areas. The only thing we had on Catherine was that she had at least four brothers. Three names are Duncan, Sandy and Archie. Needless to say you’ve filled in some holes.’ 

Co-incidentally this is this same Duncan Campbell whose picture adorns the front of the programme for Sunday night’s concert.

Solo piping adjudicator, and former prize-winning piper, John Don MacKenzie, Dornie, has sent this cutting from the 1974 National Mod piping competition held in Dundee:

Judges were P/M Donald MacLeod, Alfred Morrison and Neil Angus MacDonald. JD writes: ‘Was going through some old stuff and found this programme from 1974. Quite a few recognisable names. Remarkable that there are a few of us still ‘involved’. And there were five girls playing – a bigger percentage than you’ll see now!’

Yes, quite a few notables there JD. John Burgess didn’t know what he started when he added that middle initial to his signature! Does anyone have the results?

Ronald MacShannon is now active on the judging circuit and a member of the Piobaireachd Society’s Music Committee, Donald McBride teaches and controls his empire from the US, Les Hutt is an architect in Inverness. Both Donald and Les were members of the Monktonhall band under Donald’s father Willie:

The Monktonhall band in 1972. Names?

Sadly Elaine Marnoch, who with others blazed a trail for lady pipers, is no longer with us. Allan MacLeod was an outstanding piper who went the folky way with the Tannahill Weavers group. Fergus Murhead, is well known as the announcer at the Worlds and is a top financial journalist.

Thanks to Northern Ireland judge Harry Stevenson for answering our request for a copy of the tune Salute to Her Majesty by David Ross. This was the winning tune in the Coronation Pipe Band Contest held in Glasgow in 1953. See here. Harry says the tune is in the RSPBA’s Book 2.

You may not agree, but I think the first two parts very good but thereafter it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity. Perhaps this is why the tune never gained any real traction. As you can see from the score, there are a number of gracing errors. Have a listen:

2 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Piob Soc Recital/ Duncan Campbell/ Mod ’74/ Salute to Her Majesty

  1. just like to say what a great recital last night … £5 well spent…. cant actually believe it was only a fiver , the playing was cracking.

    Well done and roll on the next one.

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