Editor’s Notebook: Covid Fears for 2022 Season/ Charity Single/ Talk Piobaireachd/ Results from Yesteryear

All the indications are that the restrictions/ recommendations on social gatherings limited to three households, as announced yesterday, will extend at least until March. What impact this will have on band practices here in Scotland I know not. But I am concerned.

The knock on effect for the 2022 season could be significant. Already we have had the cancellation of the Scottish Schools contest scheduled for the end of March. The first major is in May. Fingers crossed this wave is milder than the last. All the talk, though, is of looming lockdown, furlough and….well you know the rest.

Could the pipe band world survive another contest-less season? Probably, but the ramifications will be profound. Standards will fall, the through-put of young talent will be diminished (may already be), and the Highland supplies industry will see an ongoing reduction in business.

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Well done to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Red Hot Chiil Pipers (now there’s an unholy alliance if ever I heard one) for their new endeavour raising money for the Royal British Legion Scotland.

The bands have released a joint recording of the tune the Heroes of St Valery with all proceeds going to the veteran’s charity and its offshoot Poppy Scotland.

P/M Ben and P/M Willie

A smart picture of RSDG P/M Ben Duncan and RHCP pipe major Willie Armstrong (you’ve got the look Willie) heads the promo material.

We’ve covered the story of St Valery at some length on PP. Have a read then do your bit for the Legion by downloading the track here.

If you don’t know P/M Donald MacLean’s retreat march then this might be a good time to learn it. You’ll find it in the ‘Caber Feidh Collection – Music of the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons)’. Get the book here. Money well spent.

This from the Press & Journal Newspaper in the north east: ‘Moray Council is to ask its young people whether they would like to see pipes and drums taught in its schools.

‘Moray is one of the only north councils not to offer pipes and drums as part of its music tuition service. Highland, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils all offer pupils the chance to learn the traditional instruments.

‘Now, the council is under pressure to offer free lessons in the pipes and drums. This follows a commitment from the Scottish Government to fund free music tuition for pupils in Scotland.
However, the council’s education committee was divided on the issue when it met earlier this week. Councillors decided to ask young people for their views.

‘Although the Scottish Government is providing more money for music tuition, Moray Council says it only covers costs for one year. And it won’t cover the cost of extending the service to include new instruments.

‘Delivering pipes and drums tuition for free across its schools could cost the council up to £232,000. However, Moray pipers and prominent councillors say it’s well worth the money.
‘We’ve been working hard for four or five years now to get schools to pick up free tuition in pipes and . drums,’ says John Channon, chairman of Forres and District Pipe Band.

‘We genuinely feel, this is our heritage, the pipes and drums. It also offers young people skill for life, and there are all the social activities too. It would be wonderful if the council decided to support it.’

Well said John, and I hope the youngsters sign up in their droves.

The Piobaireachd Society holds the second of its popular ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ sessions this evening (Dec 15). The time is 8pm GMT and the speaker is young professional piper Dan Nevans.

He is the author of the recent book ‘Piobaireachd is for Everyone’. Dan will discuss two tunes, the King’s Taxes and MacDougall’s Gathering. The Zoom talk lasts an hour and is free to all Society members.

Results from Yesteryear…..The Eagle Pipers Professional competition, 18th November 1972

Piobaireachd Class 1 (11 competed)
1 Andrew Wright, Bishopton, Lament for Mary MacLeod
2 William MacDonald (Benbecula)
3 James MacGregor, Glenalmond
4 Iain Morrison, QOH

Piobaireachd Class 2 (33 competed)
1 Gordon Clark, Strathtay
2 Ian Larg, Dundee
3 Tom Speirs, Edinburgh
4 David Hutton, Grangemouth

John MacDougall, winner of the S&R at the Eagles in 1972

March (59 competed in this and the other light music events.)
1 Iain Morrison
2 John MacDougall, Bucksburn
3 James MacGregor
4 Hugh MacInnes, Glasgow

Strathspey & Reel
1 John MacDougall
2 William MacDonald
3 Angus MacLellan, Glasgow Police
4 Iain Morrison

Hornpipe & Jig
1 Iain Morrison
2 Neil Smith, Glasgow Police
3 William MacDonald
4 Hugh MacInnes

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