Piobaireachd Society Announce Line Up for Annual Edinburgh Fringe Concert

The Piobaireachd Society has invited the following pipers to play at its Annual Concert: Tom Peterkin, Finlay Johnston, John Dew and Nick Hudson. 

The concert’s official title is ‘Classical Pipe Music – Scotland’s Hidden Treasure’. The date is August 21 and the venue St Cecilia’s Hall, Niddry Street, Edinburgh. Time: 7 for 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions) at the door or in advance via the Edinburgh Fringe Box Office.

Pipers’ dress is black tie. The complete concert will be professionally filmed with the video available to members via the PS website. The tunes to be played are: 

MacLeod’s Salute and Nameless, Cherede Darievea (Finlay)
Battle of Strome and Beloved Scotland (John)
Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament and Melbank’s Salute (Tom)
Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor and Lord Lovat’s Lament (Nick)

Society President Robert Wallace said: ‘I am sure this will be another very enjoyable evening of ceòl mòr. St Cecilia’s is the perfect setting for piobaireachd performance with a fine acoustic. The pipers will play in continuous fashion – as one leaves the auditorium the next enters – with no tuning in between.

‘We will have four tunes before the interval and four after. At the end of the concert, circa. 9.30pm, there will be a reception. Here the audience can meet the pipers and enjoy a refreshment.’

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Nick Hudson teaches piping at St. Thomas’ Episcopal School in Houston, Texas, and plays with the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band in Grade 1. He received a BFA in Music Performance under Jimmy McIntosh and Alasdair Gillies from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Performance highlights include winning the Braemar Gold Medal, the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, the B MSR at the Northern Meeting in Inverness, the London A-Grade Piobaireachd, twice the Overall A-Grade Winner at the SPSL Annual Contest in London, the Piobaireachd Society Canadian Gold Medal, the USPF Piobaireachd, a BBC Pipeline session, overall at the Livingstone Invitational, placing in the Oban Gold Medal and A-grade light music, and overall winner of The Metro Cup.

Nick serves as the chair of the EUSPBA Music Board and is a member of the EUSPBA Judges Panel.

John Dew, 24, is from Crieff and was taught by Anne Spalding. Whilst on the junior piping circuit he won both the U18 ceòl mòr and ceòl beag at Cowal Highland Gathering, first in the Junior Piobaireachd at Inveraray Games and placed second in the MacGregor Memorial Competition at the Argyllshire Gathering.

John continues to compete in the adult ranks and has since won the Kemble Star for Marches at the Skye Gathering, the Duncan Johnstone Memorial, the overall B grade at the Northern Meeting and was the overall Champion Piper at the 2019 Royal National MOD.

The splendid interior of St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh

John also continued to compose whilst at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, particularly for the screen, and has completed scores for three short films, one of which, ‘What Separates Us from the Beasts’, received three Royal Television Society awards in 2019. In 2020 he produced an EP ‘The High Bridge Walk’, the album ‘Mackerel Sky’ and tunebook ‘Pipe Tunes’.

Finlay Johnston began learning piping at age eight from his grandfather Alastair Sinclair during a summer spent at his home on Tiree. Finlay began lessons with Ronnie McShannon shortly thereafter and has continued to do so since. His mother Anne Johnston was a very successful solo piper, being the first woman to win the Silver Medal. His father, the late Tommy Johnston, was a successful pipe band drummer and played under Leading Drummer Alex Duthart.

Some of Finlay’s solo piping results include the Gold Medals at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, the Gold Clasp at the Northern Meeting and the overall winner of the Donald MacLeod Memorial. He also won consecutive Glenfiddich Championships in 2018 and 2019.

Finlay previously worked as an instructor at the National Piping Centre, and is now following his father’s footsteps working at Pipe Dreams, the manufacturers of Ezeedrone reeds.

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Tom Peterkin began piping almost 45 years ago with tuition from Hendry Dyker, Scots Guards, and Pipe Major of the Forfar Burgh Pipe Band. He also had childhood lessons at the Army School of Piping, Edinburgh Castle.

As a teenager, his tutor was James McGregor, Pipe Major of the 5/7th Gordon Highlanders during World War II, Gold Medallist, Silver Chanter winner and a Royal Piper at Balmoral. For the last 14 years he has studied piobaireachd with Tom Speirs.

An Edinburgh University graduate, he was a newspaper journalist for many years. This included spells as Daily Telegraph Ireland Correspondent, Political Editor of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday and Political Editor of the Press and Journal. He now works for the UK Government as a Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

This year Tom won the Piobaireachd Society’s Archie Kenneth Quaich for amateur pipers for the fifth time.  He is a member of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society, the Piobaireachd Society and the Eagle Pipers’ Society. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife Sinead and their children Iris and Hugh.

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