Editor’s Notebook: Dumbarton Draw/ General Thomason’s Sword/ Lorient Festival/ Scots Guards KO

Inveraray, currently top of the G1 league

The RSPBA have published the draws for the next pipe band championships, the Scottish at Dumbarton. In Grade 1 there are ten bands playing in the following order: Fife Police, Shotts, Scottish Power, Johnstone, FMM, SLOT, Boghall, Closkelt, Police Scotland and Inveraray.

Judges are John Wilson, Peter Hunt, Stuart Coils and Tom Brown. The contest is not until July 27 so bands have five weeks to prepare.

After that the remaining championships come in rapid succession: the Euros at Perth on Aug 11 and the Worlds in Glasgow on August 16/17.

Questions to ponder. It’s two medleys at Dumbarton and SLOT were outstanding in that department at the UKs. Will the green machine produce another cracker at the Rock? The other championship side at the moment are the Boggies who took the British at Forres. They currently tie for second in the Champion of Champions table with St Laurence, both with a first and a fourth.

Currently leading the CofC table – and ready to pounce – are Inveraray. Dumbarton is as close as they get to home turf. Will they secure their first major of the season there? What about Shotts? Improving as the season progresses. Field Marshal? For them things can only get better. But again, don’t write them off just yet. They’ve surprised us before.

Five weeks until a thrilling climax begins. Other draws here.

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General Thomason
For sale at auction today is the ceremonial sword which belonged to Major General CS Thomason, the first President of the Piobaireachd Society. There are four bids currently and the weapon is expected to go for around £500.

Thomason was the compiler of the monumental work ‘Ceol Mor’, the inspiration for the Society’s own collection of Books 1-16, and also the man who pioneered abbreviated scores for the music. His system was not adopted by later editors but he proved that it was possible to condense the tunes into a manageable, readable size, thus making publishing far less costly and more practical.

The sword came to the sale via the Thomason family. The blurb reads: ‘Commissioned in the Bengal Engineers in 1852 he returned to India, the place of his birth, in 1854. On 11th May 1857 he was in a hospital just outside the walls of the city of Delhi, because of this he was one of the few to survive the [Indian Mutiny] massacre and managed to escape at night by dog cart, taking a few of the other patients with him, and using his knowledge of the local water courses to enable their safe passage through the enemy lines.

‘For the next three months, often alone and under fire from grape shot and snipers, he went out to survey the area around the walls to aid in the preparations for the storming of the city. On 14th September he was one of the few engineers to survive the blowing up of the Kashmir gate.’

A remarkable man and a great servant to piobaireachd. I hope the sword finds a good home.

Lorient Festival
All you need to know about this year’s Festival Interceltique in Brittany is available here. I couldn’t find much on piping but there will be the bagad competition on August 10th, the MacCrimmon Trophy on the 11th and the International Piobaireachd Competition on the 12th.

Scots Guards KO
The final will take place in the Scots Guards Club, Haymarket, Edinburgh, on Sunday (June 23) at 4pm. It features two of our top young solo pipers, Cameron May and Sandy Cameron. Both will play a selection of tunes which must include a March, Strathspey and Reel and the ground of a piobaireachd.

The audience get a vote. £6 entry at the door, pies sold at half time. A large crowd is expected so get there early if you can.


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