Editor’s Notebook: Band Numbers/ Tune for Norman/ Film Request/ Henderson Pipes/ Inverness 1990

I noticed this story in one of the national papers the other day, bandmasters lamenting the lack of trumpets and tubas in our nation’s brass bands.

I wonder if pipe bands will be similarly afflicted? I think so. This is why the wise men at the RSPBA have instructed stewards to turn a blind eye to the odd numerical indiscretion they may spot at the flags or in final tuning. No band should feel they can’t compete because they are one or two members down.

This has been an exceptional period for our music and our administrators are to be applauded for showing common sense.

The important thing, as Chief Executive Ian Embelton explained in his interview last week, is that this season goes ahead, that bands get out there, no matter their size, and enjoy once more the rain, the cold and occasional sunshine, the joy of winning, the pain of losing, joint music making, slagging off the judges, the beer tent, the rivalry, the friendship and the great musical combination that is pipes and drums. Just over four weeks to go.

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Tune for Norman

Breton piper Jakez Pincet has composed this piobaireachd in memory of Norman Matheson. Norman died earlier this year and is sadly missed. A number of tunes have already been composed in his honour. Thanks to Jack Taylor for passing this one on.

Jack writes: ‘I don’t know what Norman would think, but he now has two piobaireachd in his memory.  This one came from Jakez Pincet last week, and is posted in the New Tunes by Members page on the Piobaireachd Society website.’ 

Norman Matheson

Jakez: ‘All pipers in Brittany, and particularly Patrick Molard who closely approached him, will regret the sad passing of Norman Matheson. To pay a tribute to its memory, I send you this composed piece of ceol-mor in hope that you will receive the tune hereby, and let it know to pipers who affectioned Norman.’

Download the full tune here. Have a listen to Jack playing the ground and dithis singling:

Film Request

A letter from Simon Smithers, film producer: ‘I am currently producing a documentary on Bon Scott who grew up in Kirriemuir, Angus. You can see the website here www.lookingforbon.com. His mother said he used to love watching a pipe band every weekend as it paraded through the town. I think this was around 1950. I was wondering if you knew which band this would be and if you have any photos of the band in Kirriemuir? Are they for sale for use in my doco?’ Contact Simon here.

Henderson Pipes

Following our story on Peter Henderson I remembered these pictures from Ken Rogers in Calgary. Ken writes: ‘Here are the photos of the 1920 Henderson pipes. These pipes were given to me by Fred Cox, the former Pipe Sergeant of the 19th Medium Regiment, Calgary. 

‘He bought them from a Scottish immigrant  who served with the Edmonton Police Force. I was told that veteran pipers had high hopes for me as a piper and that is why they were given to me. Hope you enjoy this history.’

They look a very nice set Ken. Ivory and cocus wood?

Northern Meeting 1990

Some results from Inverness 30+ years ago:

Gold Medal
1 Gregory Wilson, NZ
2 P/M Alasdair Gillies, QOH
3 Donald McBride, Prestonpans
4 Ronald McShannon, Glasgow
5 Eric Rigler, California

Silver Medal
1 Moira Morrison, Fort William
2 Jack Higgins, Kansas
3 Anne Spalding, Carnoustie
4 L/Cpl Niall Matheson, QOH
5 Andrew Matheson, Fife

Former Winners’ MSR
1 L/Cpl Gordon Walker, RHF
2 Sgt Brian Donaldson, Scots Guards
3 Michael Cusack, Texas

1 Bruce Gandy, Canada
2 L/Cpl Gordon Walker, RHF
3 Sgt Brian Donaldson, Scots Guards
4 Angus MacColl, Oban

U 15 March
1 Allan MacColl
2 Fraser Fifield
3 Allan Burnett
4 Niall Stewart

U 18 MSR
1 Graham Mulholland
2 Gavin Walker
3 Euan MacCrimmon
4 Duncan Hood

1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: Band Numbers/ Tune for Norman/ Film Request/ Henderson Pipes/ Inverness 1990

  1. Shortage of Pipers and Drummers – Brass bands are not alone in lamenting the shortage of players. Pre – covid the signs were already evident for anyone with an interest in the health of the RSPBA. It is accepted that the pattern had been throughout past decades for bands to come and go, and and after a period of replenishment, come again. However, in the recent decades ‘gone’ usually means gone.
    Perhaps it’s a trend that is just temporary; in time it will be ok many may think. But if it is not a passing phase, could it be a societal trend has taken root, one which will weaken still further the membership base of the RSPBA? Whatever the reasons, may I suggest the issue should be examined closely now to identify actual reasons for the ‘band drift’ from the Association. Now is the time when interested parties who have actual evidence of the referred to ‘band drift’, to refer the matter, through their local Branch, to the RSPBA.

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