There are many good reasons to enjoy Hogmanay this evening not least of which is that when numbskull politicians dictate we should do something it is wise to carry on as before. Piping at ‘the Bells’ in your home is perfectly safe and outside cheering up the neighbours even safer.
Cancelling Hogmanay is the sort of torture no true Scot should have to endure. It’s on a par with the feet nailed to the floor and the Jimmy Shand record joke…….
In piping terms 2021 was, like 2020, a year to forget. So few live events to report. Yet among the gloom heroes did emerge.
Those organisations who busted their bags to get something going online and/or live this past 12 month deserve praise. They are, off the top of my head: the Piobaireachd Society, the Argyllshire Gathering, Balmoral Schools, the CLASP, Northern Winter School, BC Pipers, the NPC, RSPBANI, SPSL, PPBSO, Glenfiddich, Braemar, Lochaber and Aboyne Gatherings, RSPBA Summer School and everyone else who went the extra half yard to keep the music flowing.
‘Gloomsters of the Year’ badges go to …. well you know who you are and I’m not going to mar the festive feel with naming and shaming. Suffice to say we were entitled to expect more from these well established pillars of the tradition.
Still, we made it to the end folks. Piping and Piping Press has survived and I want to thank everyone for their support and that includes all readers, advertisers, subscribers and contributors. Things can only get better here on in and let’s hope that a few short months from now we’re reading MSR instead of PCR.
A positive outlook from reader Carson Patterson who writes: ‘After a a hiatus of about 40 years I am fanatically piping here in Innsbruck, Austria, and have just purchased the Donald Sutherland Collection, digital book.
‘I played as a kid in Calgary, Canada, but never took the pipes seriously as I was crazy about sports. I still make my living in sport as a conditioning coach. At the tender age of 60 I started back up playing and have found a pipe band here.
Donald Sutherland Collection (digital download)
Super tunes at a nominal price – a Piping Press service
‘I know that I will never be the piper I want to be. My wife gently reminds me that I cannot make up the lost 40 years, but I am having fun trying! So many tunes and so little time!
‘Our band here in Tyrol is the Red Eagle Tyrolean Pipe Band, and we are very lucky to have Robert Watt living near Innsbruck. He helps us out sometimes and I am taking lessons from him. He sometimes tells me about his tutor, Norman Dodds, and I feel fortunate to be able to learn about the culture of piping that I missed out on as a youth. I feel very fortunate to be piping again. And thanks for your great website!’
Michael Hubbard in the US: ‘Per your request for any more photos relating to ship launches, here are few more from Clan Macleay Pipe Band (photos by Harold Hutchinson). Our band has been engaged for the past nearly 30 years in piping for launches of large barges for Gunderson Marine in Portland, Oregon, USA.
‘Most of these barges are for the transport of oil, grain, wood and a number of other products. We even wrote a tune to our friends there: ‘Clan Macleay Salute to Gunderson/Greenbrier.’
Much of our content this year has, of necessity, relied on our illustrious piping history. Fortunately all the feedback has been positive so no reason to stop now….
Eagle Pipers Professional Contest November 21, 1970
Programme notes read….’The membership of the Society continues to grow and our weekly meetings each Wednesday evening in the New Town Hotel, Darnaway Street, are well attended….In March this year we held our Annual Dinner in the Carlton Hotel when some 85 members and guests were entertained by John MacFadyen who gave a most appropriate address.
‘Our visit to Blair Atholl in May as guests of our Vice-President Alex Macrae and the Atholl Highlanders was its usual great success. Many old friends of the Society were present and the march to the Atholl Arms Hotel and the ceilidh which followed made the outing a memorable one for all of us.
‘Once again this year the Society organised a recital of bagpipe music during the Edinburgh Festival when James McIntosh, Lawrie Gillespie, Bobby Pinkman, Hector MacFadyen, John MacFadyen and our Hon. President Captain John MacLalellan, gave a most praiseworthy performance before an audience of some 150.
‘On the 30th of September this year an Inter-Society Recital was held in Edinburgh with our friends the Tayside Pipers from Dundee…..we have also been pleased to accept the invitation of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society to hold a similar recital in December.’ Results:
Class 1 Piob (Confined to Gold Medallists or EP Class 2 winners)
1 Iain MacFadyen, Nameless ‘Cherede Darievea’
2 Gavin Stoddart, Beloved Scotland
3 John MacDougall, Scarce of Fishing
4 William MacDonald (Benbecula)
Class 2 Piob
1 Angus John MacLellan
2 John Stewart
3 David Aitken
4 Jean Francois Allain
March: 1 Norman Gillies
Strathspey and Reel: Iain MacFadyen
Hornpipe and Jig
1 Ian McLellan
2 Iain Morrison
3 Angus MacLellan
4 Iain MacFadyen
Tutor Books 1-3 (USA)
60 lessons in three outstanding tutor books taking the complete beginner to intermediate level and introducing the classical music of the pipes, piobaireachd. All books have free audio and/or video back-up fully explaining the exercises, tunes and the required expression. Since they first appeared in 2015 these books have sold hundreds of copies worldwide. Price includes P&P of £12.