‘Missing Majors’ no more. My information is that we will have a full complement of pipe band championships for the 2024 season. Final contract details will be concluded next week.
Already confirmed are the Worlds, Glasgow Green, August 16/17, Scottish, Dumbarton, July 27, Europeans, Perth, August 11. I can’t say more about the British or the UKs, but the ink is almost dry. They will be in May and June.
This news comes with a sigh of relief from everyone in the piping world. It should also come with a ‘well done’ to the championship committee – spearheaded by the late John Hughes – and all the other directors of the RSPBA who have been under such intense pressure these past few months.
The usual suspects saw the RSPBA’s difficulties as yet another opportunity to kick them when they were down, conveniently forgetting the volunteer aspect of their work and their professionalism when running these huge events.
We at Piping Press have been critical too, but I like to think in a positive way, encouraging ever more effort. We were not alone in recognising an existential threat to the Association from a failure to provide the championship platform the bands require.
I hear that one of the championships represents a move away from the ‘council contract’ model used for past decades. It shows that the committee were open to different approaches and that can only augur well for next year and beyond.
Archie Kenneth Quaich
Dr Peter McCalister organises this competition on behalf of the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society. It will be held on February 24th in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society rooms in Edinburgh.
Defending champion Matthew Kirkwood is pictured below. Twenty five amateur pipers play. There have been several call offs and the draw has been revised thus:
Calling all composers. Malcolm Ferris-Lay, a Trustee of the Scottish Tartans Authority, is looking for a pipe tune to be named after him. It can be of any format, march, strathspey, reel, jig etc.
Malcolm was recently awarded the OBE in the New Years Honours list and does significant work in registering and promoting Highland dress and tartan in particular.
I have to say there is no money involved, but I think the successful composer would be guaranteed a deal of publicity and thanks. Send your tunes to Malcolm here.
I came across this cutting in the PP archives. It’s from the Aberdeen Evening Express newspaper of September, 1970. ‘Sixteen year old Norman Graham of Glasgow had set his heart on competing at the Northern Meeting but has been told he is two years too young.
‘The Meetings’ Chairman, Col. Stanley Hill, explained that the competitions were for senior pipers. A member of the Glasgow Corporation Transport Pipe Band, Norman is a pupil of Iain MacFadyen.
‘He’s won everything there is to win in the Glasgow area and we decided the time was right for him to have a crack at Inverness,’ Mr MacFadyen said.
‘I’ve been practising hard,’ said Norman, ‘It’s a big disappointment. I can’t even compete in the juniors as they are restricted to certain counties and I don’t qualify.’
It is several years since the Northern Meeting dropped their ‘northern counties’ qualification for 18 and under pipers and these prestigious events are now open to all youngsters both at home and abroad. This year’s competitions are on August 30th and you can enter here.
Professional entries for New Jersey’s Metro Cup are as follows: Alex Gandy, Andrew Hayes, Derek Midgley, Andrew Carlisle, Andrew Donlon, Matt Pantaleoni, Glenn Brown, Nick Hudson, Cameron MacDougall, Bruce Gandy. The competition is on Saturday, February 17th, 12-6pm.
Nice to see Cameron MacDougall, an Easter Ross pupil of Niall Matheson’s, taking part. Cameron recently moved to the States with his American bride. He’s pictured above with the Argyllshire Gathering Silver Medal he won in 2017.
Matt Pantaleoni, last year’s Silver Medallist at the Northern Meeting, will be flying down to Florida the day after the Metro for our school in Jacksonville.