Thanks to Yves Tison for this picture of P/M John Weatherston. Yves writes: ‘Further to your excellent Piping Press article on Red Hackle pipe band, I have found in my photos an old pic of Pipe Major John Weatherston at the Festival de Cornemuse in Brest, Brittany, in August 1969.’
Good picture Yves. Jock was in the habit of wrapping a sweat-catching handkerchief round his neck. The joys of piping in full No.1 dress in the intense heat of a French summer.
Bandspeople today don’t know how lucky they are.
Band Inactivity Fears
Following yesterday’s report on the pipe band activity in Northern Ireland, I received this from a well-placed commentator in the Province who asked to remain anonymous. What he says is worth repeating:
‘I am surprised that other RSPBA branches didn’t follow suit. Local councils who have traditionally supported bands here came on board and the nominal fees charged would appear to have gone to charity.
‘None of the events would have been difficult to organise either. We obviously have a parading tradition here which has given most bands targets to aim for.
‘The RSPBA need to ensure that contests happen next year even with restricted attendances and reduced prize money.
‘The loss of another season would be catastrophic, if severe damage hasn’t been done already. My own band, like many others, has practised when possible over the pandemic and attended a number of events.
‘I know of at least one top Grade 2 band who have never even met In person or online. I fear a number of bands may never return. I hope I am wrong.’
I am sure some Scottish RSPBA branches have had some activitiy over the summer but no information has come our way. On the face of it it looks as though Northern Ireland has given us a right showing up.
Piobaireachd Society Recital
Members of the Piobaireachd Society can now enjoy recordings made at their annual recital on Sunday evening. There were outstanding performances at the Otago Street premises of the National Piping Centre.
The pipers were Stuart Liddell, P/M Ben Duncan, Craig Sutherland and Dr Decker Forrest. The recordings were professionally captured by the NPC’s regular audio expert Ross Saunders. The pipers are pictured at the end of the show:
To access the recordings you need to be a member of the Society. Join here.
Reader Ken MacDonald in Australia: ‘I have read your article on dystonia. I am a piper and have a problem with my top hand.
‘I am 55 years of age and have played since I was nine. I have good fingers and consider myself a competent Grade 1 piper – or at least I did until this condition, which has been frustrating me for months, happened.
‘My bottom hand is perfect, but when I lift my E finger for a gracenote, my F finger moves independently of whatever I try to get it to do.
‘I couldn’t understand what was happening until I read your article and others like it. Do you know of a medical treatment/physio/doctor in Australia that is familiar with this condition and can help me please?’
Is there someone out there who can help Ken? Please forward any info and we’ll pass on.
Duncan Receives a Visitor
Thanks to Fraser Maitland for this picture of Duncan Watson and HRH Prince Charles. It was snapped at the recent Grampian Games held at Braemar. I need a good caption. What passed between them that made the Sage of Strathbogie giggle so?
Sage to HRH: ‘Little Prince you Are My Choice’ [Bk. 13]. Or maybe, ‘I like you but not the Prince’s Salute’.
HRH to Duncan: ‘Any good reeds?’ Or maybe, ‘That’s not the way our gamekeeper Nicol played it.’
Contributions to the usual address.