News From the Northern Ireland Pipe Band Scene

A couple of months ago I was at the launch of a new book of piping tunes, the majority of which were composed by County Armagh piper Jim Livingston.  I have rarely come across many tune book launches locally over the years except for the Sean Maloney publication several years ago, although there have been many celebrated local composers whose work has been included in other collections published in Scotland….

It Is Time We Addressed the Issue of Pipe Band Sizes

I had this message from Ken Stewart, Northern Ireland, the other day: ‘I just stumbled on an old programme of the European Championships in Stranraer 1989. There were 24 bands playing in Grade 1 and 34 in Grade 2. It is startling just how many of these bands are on longer operational.’ Indeed it is Ken. There is a decline and it is creeping up on us. And don’t use the…

Editor’s Notebook: Worlds Prices/ SPA Meeting/ PS Summer School/ Festival of Junior Piping/ Luss Games

Tickets are now on sale for the Worlds and already there has been a frisson of discontent regarding spectator prices. One reader has written: ‘I have noticed that tickets for the Worlds have just gone on sale on the Tickets (theworlds.co.uk) ‘I am a little shocked at the various add-ons to the face value of the ticket, thus…. A 12% booking fee will be added to all tickets A £1…

New Information for John and his Ancient Bagpipe Identification Research

There are so many old makers that we have yet to positively attribute works to, that short of carefully removing all of the lacquer in the hope of trying to find a maker’s stamp, we may never really know who made this set until something very similar surfaces. Not just one or two of the features being similar, but all. By George Hannah Some of the features that stand out…

Editor’s Notebook: Teaching At the Highest Level is the Only Answer to Decline/ Atlantic Canada Challenge

Michael Grey, the invigorating new President of Ontario’s Piping and Pipe Band Society, lamented on social media the decline of bands and piping in his province. Mike’s bout of mild depression was occasioned by his perusal of an old programme from 1972 of the Canadian National Exhibition Intercontinental Gathering held in Toronto. Ontario then was second only to Scotland in the piping empire. Dozens of bands in every grade. Top…