George Watson’s New Tutor/ RSPBA Summer School/ ‘World’ Online Contest/ Inverness Festival on Move

Inveraray & District’s John Dew is the new piping instructor at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh. Watson’s Pipe Major, Iain Simpson, said: ‘The position of Piping Instructor has been filled.

‘I received numerous applications and after conducting some interviews, I’m happy to announce John Dew will start at George Watson’s College in August.

‘The pipe band staff are looking forward to working with John. We’d like to thank Jonathon Simpson for the work he carried out over the last nine years and wish him all the best in his new role at The Edinburgh Academy.’

John Dew, pictured, is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and one of Scotland’s leading young professional pipers.

John’s duties read: ‘Peripatetic Instrumental Teacher with responsibility for chanter/bagpipe tuition within the pipe band at George Watson’s College. This post has up to 15 hours of individual teaching and two hours of group tuition per week.’

Watson’s has four permanent members of staff working with the band. They are winners of multiple pipe band major titles including the World Juvenile Championship on numerous occasions.



Registration for the RSPBA Summer School, announced last week on Piping Press, is now open. Principal John Nevans writes: ‘The RSPBA is delighted to announce that registrations for our annual Summer School from Monday 2nd August to Thursday 5th August are now open.

‘For 2021 the course will be run online and strictly limited to 24 drummers and 36 pipers. The cost of the course will be £20 per registration and you can register your place now by completing our online registration form.’


Fawn Ward reports on the Summer 2021 World Online Piping & Drumming Championships:

‘This is our eleventh season offering the competition, and we’ve experienced a fantastic response from competitors. We like being able to offer an online competition option, especially over this past year.

‘Now with more than 7,000 total entries from competitors from more than 20 countries, the competition is a great opportunity to compete in a global setting without travel.

‘The judging panel is made up of some of the top-ranked pipers and drummers in the world. This valuable judging commentary allows competitors to progress and develop their practice. Competitor registration deadline is July 21, 2021.’


The ‘UNDER CANVAS ACROSS THE HIGHLANDS’ traditional music tour will hit the road from 13th – 31st July 2021.

The promoters explain: Under Canvas is Eden Court’s flagship outdoor summer festival of music. As our 2021 festival takes up residence at Eden Court, Inverness, across three months this summer, we are thrilled to simultaneously launch a touring version throughout July. 

Having begun life in 2018, this is the first time the festival will be delivered outwith Inverness to our rural communities, featuring musicians Ruairidh Gollan, Megan MacDonald and Calum McIlroy. Local guest artists will perform alongside the House Band at every stop along the way, including Malin Lewis, Anna Massie, Ali Levack, Ingrid Henderson and Iain Macfarlane, with more guests and surprises to be revealed.

There will be two sessions per evening, one at 6pm and one at 8pm, lasting for 90 minutes each. Table service will ensure the comfort and safety of audiences and there will be delicious wood-fired pizzas, made fresh on site. 

Audiences can secure tickets to sessions from 6pm to 7.30 pm and from 8pm – 9.30 pm. The event is free with a £5 reservation fee per person that will secure a table and be redeemable against food or drinks bills at the end of every session. Tickets are on sale here.

Full Tour Dates

  • Tain: Tain Academy (Tuesday 13 – Wednesday 14 July) 
  • Wick: Rosebank Playing Fields (owned by Wick Youth Club) in partnership with Lyth Arts Centre (Friday 16 – Saturday 17 July) 
  • Ullapool: Ullapool Primary School (Tuesday 20 – Wednesday 21 July)
  • Kyleakin: the green outside the Village Hall, Kyleakin, Skye (Friday 23 – Saturday 24 July)
  • Ballachulish:   (Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28 July)
  • Strontian: Show Ground (Friday 30 – Saturday 31 July)

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