Editor’s Notebook: Pipe Band Season/ Solo Season/ NZ Contest/ Stonehaven Disband/ Scots Wha Hae

Cheering news from the Chairman yesterday and I hope bands respond similarly by supporting the 2022 majors and, in particular, the minor contests. Use them or lose them.

The concession Mr Reilly talked about, the lessening of strictures, will, I hear rumours, centre round own choice in Grade 1 and 2.

Bands will still have to submit the required number of MSRs and Medleys but at the line they will declare what they will play rather than have it picked from a poke.

Also up for consideration is the idea that, in the lower grades, if a band is a piper short they may still be allowed to play. ‘Only seven pipers today pipe major?’ says the Grade 4 steward. ‘No matter; on you go.’

These are both sensible and reasonable measures in the circumstances and if there are any others, then the RSPBA would do well to impliment them.

The important thing at this stage is to have as many bands compete as possible. 2023 will take care of itself once we get this summer sorted.

Solo Piping

Things are looking perkier on the solo front too. We had last week’s confirmation at Aboyne games and I already know that Braemar, Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Luss, Loch Lomond and Tobermory, and of course the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting are all going ahead.

I fully expect Cowal and Lonach to tick the box too. There should be plenty of opportunity for pipers to get out there for a tune or two. One downside is at Bathgate Games which I am told have been scrubbed for good. Pity, but don’t be surprised if a few others fail to arise from the covid ashes.


Couple of snippets from abroad. The nascent North American Piobaireachd Society is, I hear, in the process of changing its name to the Pan-American PS, the more to embrace those South Americans with an interest in the great music. A welcome development I think everyone will agree.

Down in covid captured New Zealand, Comunn na Piobaireachd have delayed their annual Gold Medal and Clasp competitions but are having an online event this spring (autumn) instead.

The CNP Easter 2022 Online Piping Competition for Piobaireachd is ‘to assist preparations for the in-person medal events to be held later in the year’. Pipers should enter the appropriate event of the CNP category that they would have played in at the 2022 Hastings Easter Highland Games. More details from Richard Hawke at rbhawke@gmail.com.

Stonehaven drum up support for Harris youngsters

Scottish Schools Pipe Band Trust: ‘Stonehaven Pipe Band recently took the difficult decision to disband, but their drums won’t stay silent for long following the generous donation to Sir E Scott School on the isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. 

Andy Meehan of the Stonehaven Pipe Band said: ‘The band had a long tradition of teaching in the local area and weathered most of the storms associated with fluctuating pipe band membership. Due to a lack of engagements and working commitments from members, the numbers were already low, but the pandemic knocked the band to the point where it was impossible to continue.’

Harris has a strong piping scene, with pipes being taught both in school and in the community. Drumming tuition has recently arrived on the island thanks to a new tutor post created in partnership with Lewis and Harris Pipe Band, the SSPDT, and Western Isles Council. 

Harris kids with their new drums

Emma Holmes, Music Teacher at Sir E Scott School, said: ‘Pipe band drumming tuition has really taken off at SES, with almost half of S1 and S2 pupils now involved. We realised we would need to source drums as a matter of urgency and contacted the SSPDT. We were amazed when they replied with Stonehaven Pipe Band’s generous offer. We are so grateful and want them to know that their drums have gone to a good home.’

Stonehaven Pipe Band have also been generous with their pipes too, donating five sets to the SSPDT’s national Bagpipe Lending Scheme, whereby pipes are loaned to young people, free of charge. Funding and bagpipe loan enquiries can be made via SSPDT’s website: www.sspdt.org.uk 

Scots Wha Hae

Ken Rogers in Calgary has drawn my attention to this setting of Scots Wha Hae. Apologies for the errors:

The tune is played by the military bands of the French Navy. Ken writes: ‘It shows the impact of Scottish music in France. There is a YouTube that demonstrates its application, ‘Ceremonie Tradition Ecole des Fusiliers Marin 4 juin 2014’:

Donald Sutherland Collection (digital download)

Super tunes at a nominal price – a Piping Press service


Click here to purchase.

4 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Pipe Band Season/ Solo Season/ NZ Contest/ Stonehaven Disband/ Scots Wha Hae

  1. Hi Duncan/Rab,
    Here’s the lyrics to “Land o’ the Leal” – I think sung by Andy Stewart.
    I’m wearin’ awa’, Jean
    Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, Jean
    I’m wearin’ awa’ To the land o’ the Leal
    There ‘s nae sorrow there, Jean
    There ‘s neither cauld nor care, Jean
    The day is aye fair In the land o’ the Leal
    Ye, aye, were leal and true, Jean
    Yer task is ended noo, Jean
    And I’ll welcome you Tae the lan’ o’the Leal

    Slainte, David.

  2. The Land o’ the leal can be heard on Youtube by a lady Hannah Rarity—But I am to see a lady who is currently 101 years of age and she sung the song as a youngster at her school and might see her today and get some info

  3. The melody of Scots Wha Hae ‘ is shared by another piece which appears in the Seaforth Highlander Collection of Bagpipe Music and it is a Funeral March called ‘The land o’ the leal’ and there are lyrics to it which I have heard sung. The score looks a little more like ‘The land o’ the leal’ than Scots Wha hae’.
    I will try and get the words from somebody who I have heard singing the piece, albeit in fragments.

  4. The relaxation of rules, regulations and playing requirements by the RSPBA for bands in the 2022 season is to be applauded, particularly for an organisation historically noted for its pedantic approach to management of competitions. As Rob stated, everything possible should be done to encourage bands to participate in this “recovery year”.
    I also hope that the RSPBA have abandoned any idea of a pre-qualifier for this year’s Grade 1 Worlds contest. Having lost 2 years of competition due to covid, all G1 bands deserve the right to compete fully in both the MSR and Medley elements of the final, regardless of the number of bands that are participating.

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