I am told that the form the 2022 pipe band season will take will be decided at a Board of Directors meeting prior to the online RSPBA AGM on March 12. The fact that the AGM itself is online is a worry, although I can see the benefits of the wider reach it gives the Association.
A frisson of fear runs through the spine when, on checking the RSPBA calendar, we see in bold: ‘Given the curent COVID-19 restrictions, these events are of course subject to change so please check back frequently.‘
There is no reason whatsoever why pipe band contests cannot take place. The problem is that the promoters, local governments, are completely in hock to the cautious Scottish Government and will do nothing until they get the say so from on high.
This is why a private endeavour such as a football match, with its thousands of attendees, can go ahead seemingly carefree whilst the pipe band world still shivers in uncertainty.
I’ve heard from teachers of juvenile bands. They’ve told me that another blank summer and its over for them; the kids are losing interest.
In Northern Ireland, the RSPBANI website merely says they are ‘targeting’ certain dates during the summer – and that includes the majors. And there is nothing from Inverclyde Council hosts of the British Championships 15 weeks away.
I hear from northern correspondent Duncan Watson of reports that the Old High Church in Inverness is facing closure due to the falling congregation.
Historically, the church has had an association with the Cameron Highlanders. It is one of the oldest buildings in Inverness.
Government troops were there after Culloden and used the place as a billet. There are bullet marks on external walls of the building where wounded, defeated clansmen were taken to be shot by firing squad.
The church was the venue for the funeral service for Donald Cameron and, more recently, a memorial service for John Burgess.
More good work from the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust who’ve presented pipes on loan to these four kids from Falkirk Primary School:
Piping Instructor Euan McNab comments: ‘The pipes have made a huge difference to pupils. They are opening doors to exciting opportunities. The pupils will be able to compete in national events later this year and perform with the schools pipe band.’
Lewis piper James Duncan MacKenzie has a new album, his third, out soon. ‘Fìbhig’ features tunes composed and recorded from home.
The title is from an old Norse name meaning ‘of a bay and hamlet’. Official release is 12th February.
‘Fìbhig’ is currently available to pre-order from James’s Bandcamp page, with one track available to preview before the physical CDs are sent out.
Sixty-nine pipers entered for the 1971 Northern Meeting held on September 16th and 17th that year. The venues were the Caledonian Hotel Ballroom and the nearby Dr Black Halls.
1 James McIntosh, Tulloch Ard 2 Kenneth MacLean 3 Angus J MacLellan 4 Finlay MacNeill 5 William Wotherspoon; Judges: Seumas MacNeill, General Frank Richardson, John MacFadyen
1 Iain Murdo Morrison 2 Willie Morrison 3 Arthur Gillies 4 Tom Speirs
Judges: Dr Colin Caird, Dr Robert Frater, P/M Ronald MacCallum
Former Winners’ MSR
1 Donald Morrison 2 John MacDougall 3 Ian McLellan
Judges: RU Brown, Dr Frater, P/M R MacCallum
1 Donald MacPherson 2 William MacDonald, Benbecula, 3 Hugh MacCallum 4 Donald Morrison
Judges: RU Brown, Dr Frater, Dr Caird
Strathspey & Reel
1 William Morrison 2 Ian McLellan 3 Angus MacLellan 4 Hugh MacInnes
Judges: S MacNeill, P/M MacCallum, J MacFadyen
1 Donald Morrison 2 Iain Morrison 3 Hugh MacInnes
Judges: Dr Frater, J MacFadyen, General Richardson