Editor’s Notebook: British Champs/ Skye 1985/ Jamie’s Tune/ Scott’s Tune/ Queensland Contest/

The British at Paisley 2019

Time’s getting on. It’s only 15 weeks or so till the scheduled British Championships (May 20) and there is still no confirmation of a venue. I can tell you that as I write the RSPBA are working very hard to get things sorted. They are committed to a championship in some shape or form.

As I’ve said before, we cannot afford to lose this major over something as unimportant to bands as money. I have previously suggested that the Association could do a deal with Cowal to take the championship there. I don’t know if that idea has found favour or if any approach has been made to the authorities in Dunoon.

What I can say is that the word on the street is that there may be a fall back position. Could a well-established minor contest not be assigned ‘British’ status in a particular grade? Take for example Gourock on May 14. Logisitics and finance may prevent a full blown championship there, but could the Grade 1 contest at Battery Park not be declared the British Championship?

A Grade 2 British could follow at Ayr on June 17 with the other grades slotted in elsewhere during the season. Okay, if Cowal agreed it would mean pushing back the Champion of Champions announcements – at present these happen at the Worlds. (August 18/19; Cowal is on August 26.)

These are just a few ideas, but I say again, we can’t afford to lose this Championship. If there is a little shuffling of the schedule then all bands will understand. Needs must. Cutting the season to only four majors is not an option – and I sense the RSPBA agree with this.

MacRaeBanner ’19
Ayrshire Bagpipes Nov 2020
shepherd banner ’22

Skye 1985

This is from the Oban Times August 14 of that year. It was written by Alfred Morrison, father of the more famous Fred….’The games committee are making desperate efforts to keep piping in Skye to the forefront by having two piobaireachd competitions.

‘For both competitions Skye is completely dependent on outsiders and consequently the quantity and quality of the competition depends not only on the weather but also on the price of petrol.

‘The Dunvegan Medal was won by Ronald MacShannon [above] playing the King’s Taxes. The Clasp competition was won by Hugh MacCallum playing Rory MacLeod’s Lament. This was the sixth time Hugh has taken this prize. Hugh’s was a competant performance on a tuneful pipe.

‘Second place went to Malcolm McRae playing MacDonald’s Salute. Perhaps this is one of the most difficult tunes in the book, not only to phrase but to finger and Malcolm gave a workmanlike performance…. ‘

Oban and Inverness

The Northern Meeting and the Argyllshire Gathering senior competition entries close on January 31 and no late entries will be accepted. Lists of those eligible to compete in the Silver and Gold Medals will be discussed at a meeting of the Joint Eligibility Committee next month. Final lists will be sent out in March. Check out the NM here and the AG here.

Jamie’s Tune

Peter Aumonier presents the tune to Jamie

Composer Peter Aumonier has given permission for us to publish the piobaireachd he wrote for P/M Jamie Troy formerly of the City of Victoria Pipe Band, British Columbia. The band recently celebrated 50 years since its founding as you will have read in PP this week. Download the tune here


Scott’s Tune

Reader Tyge Cawthon, Detroit Highlanders: ‘This is regards to Dale Brown’s discussion about ‘same old, same old’  Posted on 6th January 2023.  Dale challenged the piping community to learn the tune Margart Anne MacLeod by Scott MacAulay (1957-2008).

‘I have taken up Dale’s challenge in having recorded this tune on the practice chanter and it has now become part of my repertoire.  

‘Dale, thank you for bringing this tune to our attention. Also, thank you Scott MacAulay for taking the time to compose this wonderful and fun 2/4 March to play. May you always smile upon us as we play your tune.’  

Queensland Solos

Queensland Highland Pipers Society have announced a competition on Monday, 6 February, 2023 from 6-8pm at Brisbane Boys’ College (Pipe Band Rooms – enter from Moggill Road).

D Grade Slow Air; D Grade 2/4 March (min. 2 parts); C Grade 2/4 March (min. 4 parts) C Grade Strathspey and Reel (min. 4 parts); Grade A/B 2/4 March (min. 4 parts); Grade A/B Strathspey and Reel (min. 4 parts).

Register: https://www.trybooking.com/CFKLD. Cost: $5 per event.

1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: British Champs/ Skye 1985/ Jamie’s Tune/ Scott’s Tune/ Queensland Contest/

  1. Re. the British Pipe Band Championships, it may be that an interim arrangement for this year is necessary, and I feel sure that bands will cut the RSPBA some slack with whatever ad hoc arrangements are found. In the longer term, I am a strong advocate for a return of a major championship to Cowal. The advantages are numerous, (i) Cowal has decades of experience in holding a major, (ii) most bands would welcome the return of this historic and nostalgic venue, (iii) there are some magnificent trophies available including the massive Argyll Shield dating back to 1906, (iv) the return of an “end of season” major would be beneficial for the whole pipe band movement, rather than the Worlds denoting the end of season for most bands, and (v) in the days before its sad demise, Cowal regularly attracted 30,000 plus spectators – far exceeding any other contest, so a small notional entrance charge would allow a self-financing scenario for the competition.
    On a personal level, I would be ready and willing to contribute to crowd-funding a major at Cowal, should financing be the only roadblock.
    At the very least, the “Cowal option” deserves serious consideration by the RSPBA.

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