A contact of mine called Mike Croft is putting together an exhibition in the Meffan Institute, Forfar, on the history of pipe bands in the area. He is a former drummer in the Forfar Burgh Pipe Band, writes Tom Peterkin
In its day, it was a pretty good band rising through the grades to Grade One – probably in the 1960s. Although I did not play with the band, he has been in touch with me because first lessons were with two of my former Pipe Majors – the late Walter (Watt) Leslie and the late Hendry Dyker. Both were great pipers and teachers.
He was wondering if I could approach you, because there have been some very good articles on Piping Press which mention the Forfar band and Angus piping more generally, including a fine obituary of P/M Trevor Dear, who was in the band in its heyday.
There is also a picture of Walter Leslie in an article concerning Donald Morrison. There were also some interesting contributions to Piping Press indicating that pipe bands have a long history in Angus.
He wants to know whether he can get permission to lift some of the information for the exhibition? It seems to be attracting interest in the local piping scene and Mike is trying to use it to get more youngsters to play and locate sets of pipes etc.
He has been speaking to former members and the families of P/Ms Leslie and Dyker. He also has a lengthy contribution from Jakez Pincet, who was taught by P/M Leslie (before he went to the Bobs) and played in the Forfar band. (I remember there being a strong link between Forfar and Brittany when I was little. My parents hosted some Breton pipers when they came over.)
It may also be of interest to yourself that P/M Leslie was a great friend of P/M Jackie Smith of Muirheads fame. Mike tells me there was some crossover between the two bands.’
Mike is free to use any or all of the information on Piping Press Tom. Terrific initiative. Pipe band history is important. If any reader has information they’d like to pass on please email us.
Reader Dave Rischmiller offers further insight following our story on ivory pipes. Dave writes: ‘Section 7 of the UK 2018 Ivory Act may provide some relief. This states that an item that has ivory in it is exempt from the prohibition if a) the item is pre-1947, b) all the ivory in the item is integral to it (i.e. it can’t be removed without causing damage), c) the volume of ivory in the item is less than 10% of the total volume of the material of which the item is made.
‘So if you have a Silver and Ivory set hallmarked pre-1947 you may be able to avoid the implications of this act if you have registered them. Full Ivory sets may be more problematic in terms of determining both age and percentage of content.’
Thanks very much for that Dave and it does, as you say, offer comfort to some pipers. However because silver is hallmarked at a particular year, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the ivory is of similar vintage. One snarky official and you could be stumped.
On the same issue, reader Bill Carpenter: ‘My mounts were made from pre-1900 snooker balls, so how does that apply to me?’
Same as any other ivory Bill. Your pipes could be covered by the above or the pre-1918 regulations as outlined this week. Even with this, trading your pipes or travelling with them could cause you problems.
Florida Pipe & Drum Academy
Registration for the school closes next Friday (Jan 19). If you’d like to attend contact Principal Chris McKeown. Dates: 2/18/24 (Sunday) @ 6pm for meet and greet at Holiday Inn Express @ 13934 Village Lake Cir, Jax, Florida 32258. Class is 2/19/24 to 2/23/24 (M-F) 8am to 4 pm. Lunch provided daily.
Holiday Inn Express is the host hotel. FL Pipe and Drum Hotel Group Rate cut off date is 1/20/24. Event Address: Christ’s Church at 6045 Greenland Rd, Jax, Florida 32258.
Contact Chris McKeown at 904-334-5472 or FL.Pipeanddrumacademy@gmail.com. Instruction available to all levels of students, pipes, snare, tenor and bass. Tuition: $600.
Confirmed Instructors: Robert Wallace, Barry Donaldson, Stephen Creighton, Simon Hodgett, Matt Pantaleoni, Bill Caudill. The school finishes the day before the Northeast Florida Games at Green Cove Springs where the instructors will be judging bands and solos.
Ardmore Cup Sponsor
Promoter Eric Stein reports: Sullivan Brewing Company of Kilkenny, Ireland, agreed to become a Gold Sponsor for the upcoming Ardmore Cup Invitational Solos on February 24th in Ardmore, County Waterford.
‘We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Sullivan to the world of solo piping,’ said Stephen Power an Ardmore native and the inaugural sponsor of the competition. ‘What could be more fun than combining the ancient sounds of the bagpipes with the award winning tastes of Ireland’s oldest brewery?’
Truer words never spoken. The finest bagpipers in the world will be competing for the Ardmore Cup while enjoying some of Ireland’s legendary ales. Sponsors Keever’s Pub and the Round Tower Hotel will both be serving Sullivan’s on tap all weekend.’ Contact Eric here.
Raymond Rains writes: Do you know of any websites to which composers can submit their tunes for consideration by pipe bands? Thank you.
Contact Raymond here.
I heard last week from the royalties people who look after sales of the Masters of Piobaireachd CDs and can confirm that monies continue to trickle in to our nominated beneficiary, Braemar Piping Association.