Editor’s Notebook: RSPBA Branch Reorganisation/ Prize Pipes/ Cailean’s Card/ NZ School/ Edinburgh Police Solos 1971

Fife Police are now in Lothian & Borders Branch

Whilst we are focussed on the matter of the ‘missing majors’ I think it would also be sensible if the RSPBA formally rationalised their branches. It is a good while now since the demise of the Fife and Central Scotland branches with their bands being absorbed into either Lothian & Borders or Dundee, Perth & Angus.

But the names no longer make sense. All the former Central Scotland Branch bands are now registered with L&B, as are the former Fife Branch bands Fife Police, Dysart, Burntisland, Alloa, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and West Fife Schools

And the following Fife bands are now registered with DPA: Coupar Angus, Dollar, St Andrews, Glenrothes, Kelty & Blairadam, Kinross, Lochgelly High School, Methil, Tulliallan and Strathallan

L&B currently has 73 registered bands and DPA 36. You can see from the above that the current names of these two branches make no geographical sense. Far better if we had East Scotland for L&B and Central Scotland for DPA.

You may feel that names don’t matter. I beg to differ. It’s all about joint identity and pulling together and in the current crisis, and it is a crisis, the branches, the backbone of the RSPBA, need to unite in their endeavours to save the 2024 season and that should begin with sorting out the branch titles. Just look across the water to what has been achieved by a cohesive Northern Ireland Branch.

MacRaeBanner ’19
Ayrshire Bagpipes Nov 2020
shepherd banner ’22

Prize Pipes

For sale recently was this magnificent set of pipes by D Naill & Company. They were made for me by Les and Martin Cowell when we were raising funds for the rebuilding of the College of Piping in 1971. We auctioned off the pipes and raised thousands of pounds for the cause

Two other manufacturers also supported us with sets, Ally Fletcher and Dunfion. Take a run down Otago Street in Glasgow and you’ll see the building these generous bagpipe makers helped fund. Now owned by the Piping Centre, I hope it can continue as the only custom built bagpipe college in the world – despite the chit-chat we hear about its long-term future. Here’s the Grand Raffle letter from 2001:

Cailean’s Card

Isn’t this a lovely card? The picture was taken on Skye by Cailean Maclean and the inscription is from an old incantation published in Carmina Gadelica. Cailean tells me it translates as, ‘I see an elegant, benign dove bringing to us kindness and friendship’. Apt, says Cailean, given the current conflict in the world. Who would disagree?

NZ Summer School

Liam Kernaghan reports: The largest gathering of pipers and drummers in the Southern Hemisphere is taking place at the 2024 RNZPBA Annual Summer School in Christchurch 10th to 14th January.

Over 150 students aged 10 to 65 and above will spend part of their summer at St Andrew’s College honing their skills with some of the world’s best tutors. 

Leading the piping school, Scott Wallace has won World Championship with St Laurence O’Toole and Field Marshal Montgomery. Scott currently competes with Shotts and Dykehead. Leading the drumming school is Jake Jørgensen. Jake is the current Leading Drummer of Scottish Power and won the World Championships with Shotts.

The National Youth Pipe Band of New Zealand, a 45-member band led by Music Director Alasdair Mackenzie, will attend the school and give a performance on the last day. Pictures from last year’s school here.

Edinburgh Police Solos 1971

1 Jimmy McGregor, Glenalmond
2 Iain MacFadyen, Glasgow
3 Iain Morrison, Queen’s Own Highlanders
4 John MacDougall, Bucksburn

1 Ian McLellan, Glasgow Police
2 Hugh MacCallum, Campbeltown
3 Iain Morrison
4 Kenny MacDonald, Glasgow

Strathspey & Reel
1 Iain Morrison
2 Ian McLellan
3 Hugh MacCallum
4 Iain MacFadyen

1 Norman Gillies, Glasgow
2 Iain MacFadyen
3 Iain Morrison
4 Gavin Stoddart, Edinburgh

Forty one pipers entered the Piobaireachd. The competition was held in the Royal Arch Halls, Queen Street on March 20th.

A prosperous New Year to all readers, advertisers and contributors. We’ll be back next week.

1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: RSPBA Branch Reorganisation/ Prize Pipes/ Cailean’s Card/ NZ School/ Edinburgh Police Solos 1971

  1. The structure needs revised no doubt! Is there a need for any more than three Scottish branches? Or indeed any branches at all? The more branches the more the decision-making process becomes skewed to self interest and the powers of the individual bands/members are diluted!

    Perhaps it’s time to have the various boards and committees loaded in favour of direct band involvement e.g. Music Board could be made up from three non-band members chair, vice chair, secretary, then a P/M and L/D from each of the three/new branches meaning a 6:3 ratio ensuring that decisions were made in the interest of bands. The three non-playing members would then carry out the decisions of the committee/board. This could be replicated across all boards and committees including the Board of Directors and thus ensure all decisions were the will of the bands and acted upon accordingly

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