More Memories of Harry, Two Super Days at Cowal and the Great Trophy Theft

Last week’s tribute to Harry McAleer brought back many memories, writes Barry Donaldson. He was a close friend and a huge personality. Here is one of the many memories I have. When the band was at its best, the individual playing was world class and Harry was as good a player as anyone. The band photo marching up the street at Cowal on the Saturday morning [top] was taken in…

New Book Review: ‘Grey’s Notes on a Life Around Bagpipes’

This is the recently published book penned by an esteemed piper, superb composer, internationally famous teacher, overall music master and consummate Bard. My tongue is firmly in my cheek I hear you say. Certainly not. Who am I talking about? None other than Ontario’s Michael Grey. Mike, I have you up there with the best. By Barry Donaldson This book is an autobiographical account of his life and times as…

Iconic Bagpipe Maker William Sinclair, Leith, is Back in Business

The world-renowned Sinclair Bagpipemaking business is now back up and running and fully operational. Ewan Sinclair, grandson of William Sinclair jnr. and son of Allistair, has teamed up with master craftsman Tim Gellaitry and the firm are once more manufacturing instruments of the highest quality. This week, myself and Brian Lamond went along to their workshop in Leith to test the first batch of chanters and drones. The standard was…

The Dynamics of Pipe Band Competition Part 2: On the Day of the Event

I will now move on to how bands and pipe majors may like to deal with the logisitics and formalities on the day of competition – logisitics and formalities that are all to easy to forget midst the tension and pressure of the occasion. Firstly, have last year’s trophies been returned? This may seem trivial, but you would be surprised to learn of the the number of bands that have…

The Dynamics of Pipe Band Competition – Remember, Most Do Not Win Prizes!

Bands throughout the Northern Hemisphere will soon begin their winter practices for the 2022 season. In eight short months we will have, fingers crossed, the resumption of competition after a three year hiatus. We hope this article will help bands focus productively on what lies ahead…. This article examines the band competition environment. First of all, let’s try and understand the ethos of pipe band competition and why we do…