Editor’s Notebook: Glasgow Transport Band/ Season Restart/ NPC Lessons/ French Tutor 1/ Bruce Plays for Jimmy

Reader Leesa Watson; ‘I would love to have a copy of the attached picture [above] of the Glasgow Transport Pipe Band. My grandfather is in the picture. Please tell me how I can acquire this wonderful picture. Thank you very much.’

Download a copy here Leesa:

Leesa found the picture via our story here. Here’s a short extract from it: ‘Glasgow Transport Department encouraged its employees to take part in many cultural pursuits in the city. Since many employees were Highland and Island pipers, it was no accident that many of the bandsmen were Gaels. 

‘The City Transport manager was Lachlan MacKinnon and his tartan was adopted for the band. It was predominantly red and went well with the dark-green tunics in the transport colours. 

‘The bandsmen were very smart in either of their two uniforms. Number One dress was the full rig-out with cross-plaid, white spats, green collared tunics and feathered Glengarries (though they later went for the ‘busby-style’ feathered bonnets)…..’

A fair bit of reaction to my story the other day that the pipe band season may be able to get underway from July. Heated response even, the general tenor from the antis that nothing should happen, the whole idea madness, everyone must be vaccinated to the gunwales before we launch ourselves on to the grass.

These opinions need to be respected. So successful has the stay at home message been that it will take many months, perhaps years, before COVID fear is overcome. And if erstwhile bandspeople don’t want to venture out the answer is simple. Don’t. Don’t lift your pipes, don’t grab your sticks – and stay well away from Glasgow Green. That is your prerogative and you need not feel you are letting the side down by applying it.

But please do not assume some sanctimonious superiority over those who choose to do otherwise, provided, of course, they are operating within government guidelines. Many are bursting for a blow. They can’t wait to march up to that line again, to feel the buzz and to hear those three-paced rolls. Their needs need to be respected too. And one last thing: spare a thought for the manufacturers and the Highland supplies industry. They’ve had a hellish time and are only just managing to muddle through. They are desperate for a restart, livelihoods depending on it.

Marketing Officer Helen Urquhart: ‘The National Piping Centre has launched a brand new course of online videos for complete beginners aged 8+ called ‘Bytesize Bagpipes’. 

‘With the lockdown set to continue for children in this age range for the next few weeks at least, we hope that this course will give the basics of the practice chanter in 10 short video episodes. There are also a series of extra challenges including scales, rhythms, videos to watch and fun exercises like designing their own tartan. It is designed to encourage those who have never played, but might like to give it a try, into picking up a practice chanter for the first time. You can see the resources here: 

Thanks to Pierre Lebrun for this testimonial for the French translation of Tutor 1: ‘As a saxophone and a piano player since many years, I’ve also just begun practice chanter lessons for one month.

‘I daily use The Bagpipe Tutor 1. I really would like to tell you that the methode and Robert’s explanations are clear, excellent and very pedagogical! Merci aussi pour les traductions en français disponibles sur le site web, c’est très utile. Keep on the good work! Musical salutations from Belgium.’ Here’s a quick look at the book:

Champion piper Bruce Gandy: ‘I did a recording this week of Jimmy McIntosh’s own tune, Salute to Andrew Carnegie. I didn’t have a whole lot of lessons on this tune with him but we did discuss it. I remember him telling me to keep moving through the grounds as he often did, and he also wanted the tune to really show the phrasing and that is why he wrote it this way. 

Bruce is pictured at the 2017 London Championship

‘There are a couple of tricky notes in there that seem odd and I remember asking him about those: why in line 3 there was an extra low G passing note when it feels like B, and in the taorluath/crunluath singling line 3 the cadence note goes to B where the rest of the tune has a D. I have thought and thought about this and all I remember is a 75 year old man not wanting to budge on his thoughts haha, so here it is if you’d like to use it.’

Super stuff Bruce and many thanks for sharing. Here’s the start of the tune and below Bruce’s excellent recording:

The tune is in Jimmy’s book ‘Ceol Mor – in the Balmoral Tradition’ and it can be obtained by contacting his widow Joyce here.

2 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Glasgow Transport Band/ Season Restart/ NPC Lessons/ French Tutor 1/ Bruce Plays for Jimmy

  1. My pipe instructor early 1960, John Rae Miller, was that band, he had this picture in hanging his living room, not sure but i think he was 2nd piper left side, front row
    I’m still piping, he taught me well.

  2. Angus MacPhee, North Kessock who passed away in 2011, his father played with the Glasgow Corporation Transport Pipe Band at this time and indeed he’s in the back row, 4th from right. Calum Macphee originally of Portree came down to Glasgow before the Great War where he had Angus born in 1927. Fleming, who was the Pipe Major, was a distinguished Cameron Highlander with a brace of the DCM and MM and played a set of Silver and Ivory Hendersons.

    Angus in his retirement was the chap who had written up this piece on his father’s band.

    Here is the link crediting Angus with the write up


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