Last Saturday (September 15) saw the All Ireland Solo Piping and Drumming Championships take place at the Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun, Dublin.
There was an excellent entry across the grades although a few of the drumming sections were on the low side however the standard of playing was of the highest quality. The picture above is of FMM pipers Kris Coyle, winner of the Senior Piobaireachd event, and Ashley McMichael runner-up in the Senior Piping.
The adjudication panel comprised some very experienced personnel with Tim Farrelly, Jim Semple, Jennifer Hutcheon (Piping),William Morrison and Michael Egan (Piobaireachd), Stephen Creighton, Jim Baxter and Paul Turner (Side Drumming) and John Dunne and Derek Doyle (Bass and Tenor Drumming).The following were the results of their deliberations:
The Scots Guards Club’s Knockout contest details have been announced featuring some of the best young professional pipers currently on the solo scene. The club is also staging a recital by Fred Morrison. Jimmy Banks: ‘Our winter piping programme will start again on 24 September [this coming Sunday] with the first in our popular series of knockout events starting at 4pm. Tickets are £5 on the day with pies on sale.
‘The legendary folk musician Fred Morrison (pictured top) will perform from 5.30pm on Sunday 26 November, immediately after the knockout. Tickets on sale shortly.’
Sun 24 September: Callum Moffat v Jonathon Simpson
Sun 29 October: Ben Duncan v John Dew
Sun 26 November: Jamie Elder v Dan Nevans
Sun 28 Jan 2018: Callum Watson v Ross Miller
The Scots Guards Association hold their annual junior competition in Inchdrewer House, home of the Army School of Piping, on October 21. The school hosts the Captain John MacLellan Memorial professional competition on Oct 7.
Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles Pipe Band: ‘We had a successful 2017 season in which the band were placed in four of the five majors and placed in the top three in all the minor contests entered including becoming Grade 4A British Champions and placing fourth in the World Championships. The band is now hopeful of being upgraded and is looking to increase both the pipe corps and drum corps for the 2018 season.
‘This is an exciting time for the band with the senior band also making a return. The band also teaches beginners on Monday nights from 7pm with the aim of developing players to go right through the grades. Anyone interested should contact P/M David Todd or get in touch through the band Facebook page or go along to practice on Monday nights in Denny High School.
John Kelly reports: Chris Pollock, who for the past twelve years has played the bass drum for Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, has announced that his time with the band has come to an end. I first photographed this big guy in July 2008 at, of all places, my home town of Lisburn.
In a Facebook post Chris says, ‘For the past 12 years I have had the honour to play for Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Every second has been a pure joy. In particular the last 11 seasons, the time I was entrusted with beating the big drum, will be a time that I will treasure forever. It’s not possible to put into words how humbling it is to be deemed good enough to play in Keith Orr’s drum corps and in Richard Parkes’ band.
‘That alone makes my time in FMMPB special. The music – wow, what a thrill! The titles are just a bonus. But there is ‘a time for everything’ and my time in FMM has come to an end. Work commitments and my growing family mean that I would be letting down the people I love the most, my Lord, my family and my band mates, if I were to continue. So, I’ve handed the big drum on to Robert Smyth and no finer man could I be handing it to! Robbie, I pray you have as much fun playing in ‘the best spot in pipe bands’ as I did – and even more success!’
Two sets of second-hand pipes were offered for sale today via the Piping Press Shop, both very reasonably priced. The sets sold within one hour of appearing on the site. Pipes to sell? Contact Piping Press!
The first was a set of Grainger & Campbell African blackwood and imitation ivory pipes in excellent condition complete with new Canmore bag and wooden case. The case was free but weight considerations made mailing unviable but the pipes were sold in the UK and collected in Glasgow.
The bagpipe dated from the 1970s, played perfectly well and suited a beginner as a first set. First offer of £300 secured.
The second set was a lovely collector’s set of Peter Henderson half-size pipes in African blackwood, nickel silver and real ivory complete with a D Naill half-size chanter (pictured top). The instrument probably dated from the 1930s or 40s.
The drones have perfectly shaped bell ends and produce a smooth but rich tone. The combing is beautifully done and as a whole the instrument is in perfect condition.
The bag needs replaced and there is no cover but green silk cords are included. This is a perfect bagpipe for a boy or girl transitioning from practice chanter or goose to full-sized pipes, or for a collector interested in an historic instrument from the iconic maker Peter Henderson. First offer of £250 secured.
The Piping Press Shop now has a full set of recordings of tunes set by the by the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society (PS) for the 2018 Silver Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness.
They are played in full on the practice chanter by Piping Press editor Robert Wallace more or less as published by the Society but with some differences as handed down in oral tradition. These differences are usually, but not always, recorded in the notes to the tunes in the PS collection. By playing along with these recordings the piper may get an idea of the song of the tune and how to link its passages, phrases and variations. Robert strongly advises additional tuition from a qualified tutor for anyone entering these important competitions.
The tunes are Chisholm’s Salute, Desperate Battle of the Birds, Glengarry’s March, Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks, Lament for the Little Supper, MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart and MacLeod’s Salute. Access the recordings here:
The above picture shows 2017 Silver Medallists at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, Cameron MacDougall, Nigg, and Stuart Easton, New Zealand. Both pipers now go forward to compete for the coveted Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal presented annually at both gatherings.
Wallacestone Pipe Band have sent this: ‘Following the departure of former Leading Drummer Stewart Gardener at the end of the 2017 season Wallacestone Pipe band are opening applications from interested parties to take on the role.
‘Following promotion to grade 3A at the end of 2016 Wallacestone has had one of its most successful seasons in the last 20 years, winning the European and UK championships and securing the Champion of Champions title in our grade.
‘Prospective candidates should have Grade 1 experience and ideally have led a drum corps, but this is not essential.
‘Pipe Major Neil Henderson: “This is an exciting opportunity at an exciting time for the band. We have a talented, driven and ambitious band that is only going forward. We want someone with the same traits to come in and drive the drum corps on to future success.”
‘Wallacestone Pipe band is recognised as the oldest competing civilian pipe band in the world having been formed in 1887. The band is led by Pipe Major Neil Henderson and is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. In 2016 the band was runner-up at the World Championships and in the Champions table in 3B. The band practice in Grangemouth British Legion just 30 minutes from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.’
Reader Kerry MacIver has written asking for information about her grandfather, P/M William Jack of the Dalziel Highland Pipe Band.
Kerry writes: ‘I am wanting to find out more about my grandfather and I was wondering if you could help. His name was Willie Jack and he was Pipe Major of the Dalziel Highland Pipe Band. I believe it was based in either Motherwell or Wishaw.
‘He passed away in 1978 but in his day he seems to have been fairly well known. Going by a photograph I have, he was one of the judges at the SPBA competition at Murrayfield, Edinburgh in 1947.
‘I was just wondering if it was possible if anyone still remembered him and had any anecdotes or photos (or both!)
‘If you know of where any archives of the band are likely to be kept, or others I can contact, please let me know, and I’d be grateful if you were able to put the word out there to see if anything comes up. I have already contacted the Pipe Band Association archive group but I thought I would come to you too.