Editor’s Notebook: RSPBA Latest/ D McD Cuach/ NZ Piping Centre/ Seumas’s Citadel/ John Cruickshank VC/ Brisbane Contest

Well done to Walter MacGregor and Nigel Greeves, RSPBA directors, for jildying up their colleagues about the inaction over any sort of pipe band summer programme. They let loose at last month’s Association Board Meeting.

According to the minutes just published: ‘W MacGregor informed the Board that the London and South England Branch had held its third online solo competition with over 100 performances, reporting it had been a great success, with those taking part being placed into a gold, silver, or bronze category.

‘He then went on to express his concerns about the [proposed] Summer’s Festival as time ‘is moving on and we are in the planning stage. He found it very frustrating that the RSPBA are not holding online competitions and said ‘we should be doing something that the whole world can participate in’.

The minutes go on: ‘N Greeves stated he and his son has had several meetings with different groups regarding streamed / online competitions.’ He said, ‘We are almost in June and no decisions have been taken. Where is this going?’

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Vice Chairman Paul Brown responded that there was a need for two directors with a will to take the initiative for a competition forward. He would bring forward the idea to the Summer Festival meeting.

Welcome transparency from the RSPBA. Couple of ideas. How about bands parading in George Square every day of Piping Live (see picture above) and a ‘live’ low key solo contest for juniors on Glasgow Green?

Other points raised at the meeting include:

  • A confidential discussion took place with regard to the 2022 competition season and venues. The Board will release the information as soon as possible after formal discussions with all the promoters has been concluded and contracts agreed.
  • There had been no discussion on the World Solo Drumming scheduled for this October and Vice Chairman Paul Brown said he was not sure that universities would open their doors to third parties. Inquiries would be made.
  • Headquarters in Washington Street will remain closed until covid restrictions are lowered (Glasgow is currently at Level 2) and full time staff are back at work.
  • President George Ussher reported that, at the request of the Chairman, he had formed a small committee to progress the recruitment of a Chief Executive Officer to replace Ian Embelton who is retiring.
  • The Standards and Grading Group expect that when bands get back to practice and things start to return to normal, there will be an influx of grading and transfer requests as bands re-evaluate their positions within their current grade. The group are to convene a meeting to try to offer bands some advice on transfers up and down the grades.

The 2021 Donald MacDonald Cuach for Piobaireachd from Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, tonight, 7pm. Tune in online at:  https://fb.me/e/1gNq7fkdK

I hear there is a plan for a new Centre for Piping in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. The hope is that if it comes to fruition it will, among other things, be used to house the late Geoff Hore’s monumental collection of piping books, manuscripts and memorabilia.

Geoff among his beloved piping books

This would be a tremendous asset for piping in that part of the world. Such is the piping heritage in NZ (and Australia) that there must be dozens of piping artefacts lying around looking for a home.

Let’s hope the idea takes off.

John Cruickshank VC, the subject of our tune contest a couple of years ago, has just celebrated his 101st birthday I’m told. What a man!

Read about John here and have a listen to the winning tune John Cruickshank VC by Dave Mason (scroll down). It’s a super 6/8 march.

California based piper Seumas Coyne has a new website featuring original pipe music audio and video. Check it out here.

The promo: ‘Seumas’ Citadel was initially designed to showcase his original tunes played by some of the most accomplished pipers in the world today.

‘Now, it has become a unique archive that also includes audio and video recordings of world class pipers playing their own original tunes from around the world. Seumas’ ‘Citadel’ is the one place on the web to hear and see the best that the piping world has to offer!’

Entries for the Brisbane Boys’ College competition in Australia close tomorrow. This is a solo piping and drumming contest for all grades held at the college in conjunction with the Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society. Free parking, free entry for all spectators, bar facilitiy and refreshments. Register here.

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