Editor’s Notebook: Jubilee Pipers/ Lorient Faux Pas/ Ivory Pipes/ Graingers and Reeds/ Donald’s Tune

I know it was a week ago, but I do not want this column to pass without recognising all those pipers, both military and non, who made their contribution to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Reading reports and watching the ceremonies live, it was clear that we pipers did our bit on what was a uniquely historic occasion.

The jewel in our crown was P/M Stuart Liddell whose composition Diu Regnare (Long to Reign) was played around the world and heard by millions in television and radio broadcasts.

In a career that is diamond studied with awards, this must, for Stuart, rank among his highest. I hope he has his performing rights sorted out, for this is an excellent 6/8 march which, over time, will match in popularity Willie Ross’s Coronation tune, Queen Elizabeth’s March.

Here is the maestro performing the tune himself:

You can buy Stuart’s CD here.


Roddy Livingstone

Another piper on duty was solo judge Roddy Livingstone. Roddy writes: ‘In late April I received one of those phone calls which began with ‘I got your contact details from the Caledonian Club….’. The caller was the Mayor of Winchelsea, a small but ancient town on the Sussex coast. The town’s two ‘claims to fame’ are that as a parliamentary ‘rotten borough’ in the 18th century it managed to have two Members of Parliament representing about a dozen voters, and, more recently, as the burial place of comedian, writer, poet and actor Spike Milligan. 

‘The call was a request to pipe at the town’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon Lighting ceremony on 2nd June. On the evening, I led some 200 local residents and visitors across the fields to the beacon site and at the precise time laid down by HM the Queen’s Pageant Master, played Stuart Liddell’s Diu Regnare to mark the occasion.’ Pictures:


Lorient Festival

The publicity office of the Lorient Festival have issued their programme for this year’s gathering in Brittany. Perusing its pages I was struck by their definition of ‘celtic nations’. Have a look at the map:

See anything strange? Yes, that’s right, the incising of much of the Auld Enemy, England. Yet there must be more people of Scots, Irish and Welsh extraction living there than all of NZ, Australia, Acadia put together. Diaspora? Chile? Mexico? Try showing that to the Irishmen of Coventry or the Scots in Corby.

Come on Lorient, time for some common sense. Les rostbifs may not be flavour of the month, but fair’s fair. 2022 is the ‘Year of Asturias’. What chance ‘Year of England’ in 2023? No breath holding please and while we’re on it, Cornwall ends at the Tamar not Bath.


Ivory Pipes

Reader Alan Walker in Pretoria: ‘I have  just been reading articles on the above tune [Rhodesian Regiment]. In one comment by Neill Mulvie he mentions that he has seen an ivory chanter and believes that there is a set of pipes made completely in ivory.

‘I can confirm that there is such a set which was made by a Mr Sandeman who lived in Marandellas, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Pipe Major Allan Watters (ex. 1st Batt. Black Watch during WWII) visited Mr Sandeman and personally saw the set of ivory pipes but did not hear them being played.

Peter MacLeod jnr. playing an ivory chanter. Peter was for a time resident in the then Rhodesia

‘In the article Neill Mulvie mentions these pipes but, unfortunately, I do not have his email address so I would appreciate it if you could pass this email on to him.

‘Allan Watters immigrated to South Africa just after WWII where he lived in Pretoria and taught piping to many before his death some years ago. I am proud to say that I was one of his pupils and became a good friend of his and played in the Pretoria Highlanders Pipe Band under him. He had two sons and a daughter. His elder son Roderick (Roddy) is an excellent tutor. I hope the above has been helpful in some small way. Best wishes from Pretoria in South Africa.’

  • Can you comment Neil?

Graingers and Reeds

Reader Danny Devolder in Belgium: ‘I have a question. Which drone reeds sound best in a Grainger and Campbell bagpipe (1969)? I have the impression that Ezeedrone reeds don’t sound good in these bagpipes. What’s your suggestion? Kind regards Danny Devolder.’

Au contraire Danny, I have found Ezeedrones work perfectly in the old Grainger. Just make sure the reeds are seated properly. Readers with other suggestions?


Donald Tune

Liam Nicholson in New South Wales: ‘I just had a very quick question about the Donald MacLeod piobaireachd Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Salute. In about a week’s time, some of the pipers here from the Scots School Albury (Australia) are playing at a major performance to celebrate the school, and we have been asked to play Queen Elizabeth the Second Salute for the party.

‘Do you happen to know of or have any notes on the tune and/or why and when it was composed? This is so we can explain to the audience about the tune etc.’

  • I fear this response may be too late Liam, but I believe Donald wrote the tune at the time of the Queen’s accession and coronation in 1953, or at least had it on the stocks and named it timeously. Further info welcome.

3 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Jubilee Pipers/ Lorient Faux Pas/ Ivory Pipes/ Graingers and Reeds/ Donald’s Tune

  1. Willie Ross wrote the 6/8 March in 1941 for
    Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon who was Queen from 11 December 1936 to 6 February 1952 as wife of King George VI. After her husbands passing she became Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

  2. Ivory Pipes
    “Reader Alan Walker in Pretoria: ‘I have just been reading articles on the above tune [Rhodesian Regiment]. In one comment by Neill Mulvie he mentions that he has seen an ivory chanter and believes that there is a set of pipes made completely in ivory.”

    I met Peter MacLeod at Harpenden Highland games firstly about 1962; he was at that time “tired and emotional” as Private Eye describes it. I met him the following year at the Games and what a change. He looked just like the photograph – absolutely immaculate. He was competing and playing the ivory chanter pictured and he told me about the ivory pipes. My memory tells me that he played just like Alastair Gillies but brisker.

    There were a couple of other things of interest. The first is in relation to Ballochyle about which he was adamant the the fourth bar should be played as written in the Cowal Collection not the Scots Guards setting; essentially the first note B was not cut. Difficult to dispute since he wrote the tune. Secondly in the second part of part of Donald MacLean the jig it should be played as written in the Edcath Book 2 not dot and cut as most people play it.

    I wish I had had a better understanding of piping so I could have learnt more from listening to him play; one needs to know what to listen for.

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