That’s the spirit! In these gloomy times yesterday’s news that Glasgow Skye are back was just the lift the pipe band community needed. We’ve lost far too many bands over the years. Just look at the lists in Alistair Aitken’s article, also yesterday.
Even in recent times we all know bands that have lost sponsorship or a pipe major or fallen out with the drum corps and bingo, they’re history.
And as Brian Lamont has reported, there is hardly a pipe band in Fife. Can you believe that? Apparently only Robert Barnes’s Methil keep the flame alive in the Kingdom.
It’s partly due to the RSPBA’s failure to cap numbers – but only partly. Bands need to stay local and true to their founding principals if they are to survive the ups and downs of the modern age. Once they tread a social media inspired glory path, with fly-ins and internet teaching, they are, in the long term, doomed.
I look at a band like Coalburn IOR down in darkest Lanarkshire. They seem to have been going since Adam was a boy all because they stay local and true to the honest endeavour principals of their founders. No glamour hunt, just dogged teaching, practising and competing as best they can. Success or failure they keep going because that is what they do. Boghall are another in this category and I am sure readers can name their own favourites.
It is the ‘can do’ spirit of P/M Kenny MacLeod (pictured) and Glasgow Skye that the RSPBA are adopting as they search for a replacement venue for the Europeans at Inverness. With that approach they will be successful.
It is imperative that this major is not lost. Money is not important; bands don’t play for that and I am sure enough judges would volunteer if the kitty was empty.
In the end if the Association is still struggling, why not offer the championship to Cowal? It would be a popular choice. The Cowal European Pipe Band Championship would restore a bit of history and help repair relations with the old gathering.
Well known young piper Bobby Allan has received a new full uniform courtesy of the Earl of Dundonald and the charity ‘Aboyne Mòr Pròiseact’. Susan Rose, Chairwoman, said: ‘We started bestowing the Scottish Epic Project in 2015 in the United States. Every year another young piper or drummer is chosen to be the recipient. To date we have provided uniforms plus instruments (if required) and instruction to seven youths.
‘The Aboyne Mòr Pròiseact is our international version which Bobby Allen received. A Scottish clan donates to either charity to help fund the need of the youth that year. The clan chooses the tartan to represent their clan.
‘The potential recipients must be nominated by a recognised judge or instructor. Recipients receive a uniform with the value of £2,000, plus, if warranted, musical instruments valued up to £4,000.’
Aberdeen Piping Club
Fraser Maitland has been putting out feelers about a new piping club for the granite city. He has received positive feedback and hopes to get things moving early next year. Said Fraser: ‘It’s been an ambition of mine to form a new Piping Society in Aberdeen/shire.
‘I remember fondly the good old days when I was in my mid-teens, playing at the Cults Hotel in front of like-minded people who enjoyed a tune and a catch up. Simply put, it was a place for us all to get together, play a few tunes during the winter months, keep the practice up, and promote local piping
‘I’d like to restart this wee tradition. A charter / set of values will be drawn to ensure those interested are aware of the Society ethos.
‘There are some excellent players here in Aberdeen and the Shire who have made significant impact on the solo and pipe band scenes. Fostering this talent further could realise further benefits, such as encouraging the next generation of pipers, and longer term ambitions of perhaps hosting local competitions and recitals.
‘I know many share this vision, but the conversations around re-forming such a Society has remained stagnant. I’m hoping that together we can reignite this vision.’ The very best of luck with that Fraser. Anyone interested can contact him here.
Milan J Kobulnicky, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Special Forces (Retired): ‘I am currently working on three historical pipe tune books, WW1, WW2 and After WW2. They will give the tunes for each particular era and also as much history on them as I can find.
‘I would appreciate your help in canvassing the global community to find tunes for all three eras, and their unique history and a home where this library could be maintained for future generations. I want to encourage pipers to go beyond massed band tunes we hear today.
‘I welcome expert advice and connections, support and opportunity to restore these memorable tunes and their storied history for the current generation.’ Contact Milan here
Congratulations to Bill Caudill (pictured) on his election as President of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. Bill is a popular judge and teacher and is Director of the Scottish Heritage Center and instructor of the St Andrews University Pipe Band in North Carolina.
He will be joining us as a piping tutor at the Florida Pipe and Drum Academy if numbers permit.