Editor’s Notebook: World Solo Piping/ Worlds Week Concert/ Florida Academy/ NZ Film/ Malcolm McRae

Applause for the RSPBA and their idea of a new World Solo Piping Championship based on the World Solo Drumming.

With their global reach, the Association are the only organisation which could pull together such a competition.

One wonders what form it will take. I should imagine it won’t include piobaireachd. MSR and H&J only. Who will judge? A band piping judge might be wholly unsuited to the solo bench.

Not many Association adjudicators have any experience of the solo world. I can think of only a handful here in Scotland: Barry Donaldson, John Wilson, Ronnie MacShannon. Jennifer Hutcheon did the solos in her younger day.

The judging issue shouldn’t put the new WSP exploratory group off however. Easy enough to draft in qualified outsiders.


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Peoples Ford Boghall

Promoter Kurt Mackintosh of the Glasgow Skye band has confirmed that Boghall will be doing the Worlds Week concert this year. Quite a coup given that the Boggies are the current World Champions and their leading tip the solo king.

The show is entitled ‘Cabar Feidh’ (see poster above) and is on August 14th in Glasgow Royal Concert. I hadn’t noticed Boghall has the old Cameron Highlanders CF insignia in their cap badge. The tune in its various formats will feature throughout the programme.

Should be an entertaining evening provided it doesn’t drag on as these concerts tend to. Get your tickets here.

Boghall in concert

Florida Academy

Director Chris McKeown has published a new website and video for his burgeoning school in Jax. Check them out here. The dates for 2025 are February 16 to 21st. Here’s a nice picture of students and teachers from last Friday:


NZ Film

I’ve always been full of admiration for pipers and bands who make the long haul from the Antipodes to compete in the UK. Think of the cost of airfares, hotels, time off work. In recognition of this the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association have produced a film featuring their top bands on their travels.

‘12,000 miles – A Kiwi Piping Journey’ will be shown on March 14th in Auckland. Here’s the trailer:

Liam Kernaghan, NZ bands’ PR man, tells me they hope to show the film in the UK on a date yet to be determined. Perfect for Worlds Week Liam. Try the Glasgow Film Theatre.


History

This is from the late Bruce Campbell’s ‘Pipe Band Monthly’ magazine of April 1988: At the annual Piobaireachd Society Conference held at Bridge of Allan, a change in the position of President occurred. Colonel David Murray, who has given a great deal to both the Society and Army piping, decided not to re-stand for the Presidency. As a result Malcolm McRae was elected unopposed to the position.

Malcolm McRae with the Bratach Gorm

Malcolm McRae is well known in the solo piping world. Now 45, he is a lawyer by profession and a native Australian, although now resident in Inverness-shire.

He enjoyed considerable success as a solo piper before ‘hanging up his chanter’ last year. Amongst his top prizes are the Open Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering in 1975, the Gold Medal there in 1976, the Bratach Gorm in 1979 and the London Open Piobaireachd in 1981.

Originally a pupil of New Zealander Peter Davidson, he was also Pipe Sergeant of the Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band, one of Australia’s most successful bands.


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1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: World Solo Piping/ Worlds Week Concert/ Florida Academy/ NZ Film/ Malcolm McRae

  1. A World Solo Piping Championship is an excellent idea but it has to include Piobaireachd .The great Ceol Mor is such a pivotal part of Pipings history to exclude it would leave a second class event.The credibility of such an event can only be enhanced by Piobaireachd s inclusion lt also affords an opportunity to showcase this great music which is often excluded at mainstream events, ceilidhs et al and only played at specific competitions and recitals where the audience is often limited .

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