Editor’s Notebook: RSPBA Board of Directors/ Ontario View/ Aberdeen PS/ Duthart Tune/ Black Watch Tunes

The RSPBA’s Board of Directors met on April 15 and the minutes of the meeting were published yesterday. Out takes from the meeting are as follows:

Consideration is being given to the restoration of the popular Twitter results feed at the Worlds. This was particularly useful in letting bands know the outcome of the qualifiers. Posts were made after official announcements, but they meant that band members had an instant reference on their smart phones.

Pipe band bodies in Australia and New Zealand have asked that a qualifier for the World Solo Drumming be held in the antipodes. More information on how this could be done has been requested.

Centre bands at the Worlds are to be supplied with water by the promoters Glasgow Life. This has been prompted by last year’s heatwave.

Contracts for the UK, European and Scottish Championships end this year. Lurgan are keen to retain the UKs. The Chief Executive will be contacting 15 local authorities with a view to securing the five 2024 majors. The Republic of Ireland is interested in staging a major championship.

Washington HQ is open for bands to use for practices etc but they need to have their own public liability insurance.

Ontario View

Jim McGillivray in the recent PPBSO Newsletter: ‘I remember as a boy coming to the Highland games in the late 1960s and ‘70s. The bands were smaller, but there were more of them. At one point during the 1970s there were as many as seven Grade One bands operating in Ontario.

‘Scottish immigrants were at the heart of our hobby. In those days there were 100,000 Scottish immigrants living in the city of Toronto. It was a piping and drumming windfall.

‘Times have changed. The massive flow of people from Scotland to Ontario has slowed to a trickle. We see evidence of this at our games. We may have some bigger bands, but we have fewer of them. A Grade 1 pipe band contest with more than one band is a rarity.

‘In 2020 and 2021 we experienced two summers with only a single contest due to an act of nature. We felt what it was like to lose our games season….

P/M Ed Neigh’s City of Guelph PB, one of the leading Ontario bands of the 1970s. That can’t be Jim McGillivray standing with pipes far right?

‘We have benefited from those who went before – Scots and Ontarians alike but now we are on our own…. precarious times may be just around the corner.

‘Volunteers are particularly hard to come by. Think about volunteering for a PPBSO branch or some of our standing committees. Do you travel to the games with children or a spouse who plays? Sign up to steward at the games. Help is needed…

‘If you’re a player: become a teacher. If you already teach, know that your work is absolutely essential to the continuance of our artform…’

Wise words Jim, and if one thing the pandemic taught us is that we should never take what we have for granted.

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Aberdeen Piping Society

Fraser Maitland: This is a quick email but want to let you know that the inaugural meeting was a success. Humbled to see so many turn up and some excellent tunes were played. There is talent in the North East; it’s exciting to see and hear.

‘Next meeting: Wednesday, 10th May at 1830-2130 at the Squash Club. Gordon Barclay to play first.

Draft constitution completed – thanks to P/M Laing. Meeting venue to remain at the Squash Club for now. If anyone has alternatives let me know. Comms will likely stop on email. John McDonald and myself will start something from which meeting dates etc. will be announced more succinctly.

‘To top off last week’s success, the Piobaireachd Society have pledged £500 start up funding with another £500 in 6 months should we need it. I am grateful to the Society, as I am sure we all are. Great news!’

Alex Duthart Tune

Chris Mulinder in South Africa: ‘Alex Duthart got a tune off an accordion player, I’m talking late ’70s. I’ve misplaced the music but attached is the first line [below]. It had four parts but I can’t remember the name. If you do have it could you mail a copy.  It may possibly also  be of interest to your newer readers as Alex was/is a legend. Hope you can help.’

Thanks for that Chris. I understood Alex actually composed the tune and it was called Paddy Donovan after the legendary Irish drummer. Alex could play the pipes a bit and here he is barefoot at a summer school in the US (or perhaps Canada):

As far as the tune goes I seem to remember Duncan Johnstone telling me that he had been at the school with Alex and helped him complete the tune. Does anyone have a copy and/or more info?

Black Watch Tunes

Daniel Bamford on Black Watch tunes: ‘Thank you for following up my query and opening it up to answers from your other readers. I would hope that the notation for both of these tunes are in the ‘Collection Of Pipe Music of the Black Watch’ book that is for sale for £40 a copy on the Black Watch Museum website: Collection Of Pipe Music – theblackwatch.co.uk

‘However, the Black Watch Museum have still not replied to confirm whether this is the case. Either way, that still would not answer the question of whether any recordings have been made of bagpiper playing these tunes. I look forward to see what response there is to your ‘Editor’s Notebook’ appeal for information.’

3 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: RSPBA Board of Directors/ Ontario View/ Aberdeen PS/ Duthart Tune/ Black Watch Tunes

  1. Thanks for the shout-out Rab. I’m not actually in that Guelph Pipe Band photo, which must have been take after I left the band in 1981. The young man on the right in the glasses is named Bruce Anderson. He is still with the Guelph organization. Cheers, Jim

  2. Alex Duthart’s tune, “Paddy Donovan” can be found in Bill Livingstone’s first book of music. And, Jim McGillivray’s words are so true.

  3. Re; Guelph Pipe Band Photograph

    Apart from Jim McG in the photo, the tall chap in the back row 4th from the left is my old American teacher John Bottomley while a university student at Queens University, Canada. I owe my real start in piping to him. He was a very good and exacting teacher when I started off with him in 1985 when I was 14 years old. I highly doubt my level today would be where it is without him. How times have gone.

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