Editor’s Notebook: Johnstone Pipe Band/ 1923 Clasp/ John MacColl/ DJ Contest/ Colin’s Pipes

We appreciate P/M Keith Bowes senior forwarding this picture of the Johnstone Pipe Band.

It features Pipe Major Craigie Calder, author of the recently reported tape featuring information on Bob Reid and a short excerpt of John MacColl’s playing.

Keith tells me that the band was formed in 1943 during WW2 its purpose being to march Home Guard units round the town raising morale and money.

Those in the picture are (back row): P/M Craigie Calder, William Galbraith, Andrew Ross, Charles Lappin, John Coulter, ? McCulley, unknown, Tom Coulter, Balfour Bennie, P/Sgt Ian Sinclair. Front row: Jim Cornes, Sam Brown, John Smith, James Nicol, Provost James MacKay, Alex McWhirter, David Kettlewell and Bob Stirrat.

Some readers will remember Sam Brown who used to supply good reeds to the College of Piping Shop. As mentioned before, P/Sgt Ian Sinclair was a regular at the College Veteran Pipers’ Society as were Sam and David Kettlewell. David died recently.

MacRaeBanner ’19
Ayrshire Bagpipes Nov 2020
shepherd banner ’22

1923 Clasp

The cassette tape mentioned the 1923 Clasp controversy featuring Reid and Willie Ross. Jeannie Campbell set the record straight for us on that one and she has followed up with a little bit more info:

‘The other prize winners in the Clasp were third (£6) P/M GS McLennan, Aberdeen, and fourth (£3) D I MacKenzie, Tongue. Robert Reid junior told me Craigie Calder held band practices in his room-and-kitchen tenement flat, with drummers in the kitchen and pipers in the room, while Craigie played in the lobby where he could be seen by both groups.’

Thanks Jeannie. Has prizemoney kept up with inflation? £6 in 1923 is worth around £450 today. Fourth in the Northern Meeting Clasp last year was £200.

John MacColl

Schools piping tutor on Mull, Calum Maclean, Tobermory, has found another recording of John MacColl’s playing:

Thanks for sharing Calum.

Duncan Johnstone Memorial

This competition for B and C grade pipers takes place tomorrow in the Piping Centre in Glasgow. Such are the numbers that the promoters, the Competing Pipers’ Association, have had to hire both Otago Street and McPhater Street venues.

In addition to the usual piobaireachd and MSR events, there is a jig contest for each grade. Although own choice, players are required to play at least one jig by Duncan. 

The overall champion in 2023 was Callum Wynd from Dunblane and he’s pictured far left with the other winners:

Here’s the draw.

Colin’s Pipes

Colin and pipes

Readers will be interested to know that Colin Campbell’s vintage set of Glen pipes sold within 24 hours of being advertised on Piping Press. I understand they went to a buyer in the south of England.


1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: Johnstone Pipe Band/ 1923 Clasp/ John MacColl/ DJ Contest/ Colin’s Pipes

  1. What a great picture i dont think im wrong but thats under the old oak tree beside the old sheep dyke at Erraid Park Tobermory.You will never find a more iconic place to listen to the Mull Games Piobaireachd competition.

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