Category Archives: Pipe Music

Fred Concert and Scots Guards KO Details/ FMM Bass Drummer Retires/ Denny & Dunipace Recruiting

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.

Chris on the FMM bass

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!’

Chris with the best bass drummer trophy at the All-Irelands

Silver Medal Tunes for 2018 Available for Download/ Grade 3a Band Looking for Leading Drummer

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.”

‘Candidates are asked to send a covering letter through the band website or by email by 5th October 2017.

‘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.’

Springbank Invitational Results (Updated)

The annual competition sponsored by the local Springbank Distillery and organised by William McCallum was held on Saturday, Sept 15. It affords the local piping community in Campbeltown and Kintyre the the opportunity of hearing some of the best pipers on the professional circuit. The above picture shows all competitors with trophies and generous helpings of the sponsors’ fine brew.

Ceol Mor
1 Roderick MacLeod, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
2 Alasdair Henderson, MacDougall’s Gathering
3 Gordon McCready, The Vaunting
4 Iain Spiers, In Praise of Morag

1 William McCallum, Capt. Campbell of Drum a Voisk, Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stoirling, Dora MacLeod, Susan MacLeod, Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy, Man from Glengarry
2 Calum Beaumont, Miss Elspeth Campbell, Mrs Duncan MacFadyen, Tulloch Castle, Bob o’ Fettercairn, Cockerel in the Creel, Drumlithie
3 RoderickMacLeod, Clan MacColl, Argyllshire Gathering, Lady Loudon, Sheherd’s Crook, Grey Bob, Sheepwife
4 Alasdair Henderson, Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount, Inveran, Piper’s Bonnet, Bob o’Fettercairn, Sandy Cameron, Mrs MacPherson of Inveran

Hornpipe / Jig
1 Alasdair Henderson, Hazel Thompson, Michael MacDonald’s Jig
2 Angus MacColl, Kyle Howie’s Hornpipe, Calum’s Bridge
3 Gordon McCready, Captain’s Pledge, P/M Jimmy MacGregor
4 William McCallum, St Valery, Kenny MacDonald’s Jig

6/8 March
1 Angus MacColl, MacNeil of Ugadale
2 Roderick MacLeod, Braes of Scotland
3 William McCallum, P/M Ronnie MacCallum
4 Gordon McCready, Highland Brigade Depot

Judges: IM Morrison, I MacFadyen, J Wilson

US Piping Society Repeat Popular Piobaireachd Composing Competition

The Shasta Piping Society in California has announced that it is to repeat its very successful piobaireachd composing competition over the 2017 -2018 northern hemisphere winter. The main sponsor is the Burley Bagpipe Company of Naramata British Columbia.

This competition calls for copies of original piobaireachds to be submitted by composers to a panel of qualified judges: Robert Wallace (Chair), Bill Livingstone (Canada) and Chris Terry (South Africa). Mike Cusack, a judge on the previous contest panel, has had to decline this year following the Hurricane Harvey disaster which badly affected his school in Houston, Texas.

The piobaireachd submissions must be original to the composer(s), of any style, and cannot have been published before. Prize awards for the top three compositions will be £500/£250/£100. Submissions must be received by April 1, 2018, and winners will be announced in May 2018.Last year’s competition was won by Jori Chisholm of Seattle (above). He received £500 ($670). Jori’s tune was the unanimous choice of the judges. Runner up was Dave Mason of South Africa who received £250 ($325) with John Bottomley, Director of Piping at the US Military Academy at West Point, third, receiving £100 ($130). Listen to these winning tunes on the PP Audio Archive.

Piobaireachd Competition Rules:

1 Composers must have reached the age of 21 by the final submission date.

2 Piobaireachd submissions must be original to the composer(s), and not been published before.

3 Entries submitted for prior contests supported by these sponsors are not eligible for consideration.

4 Submissions may be of any form (Lament, Salute, etc.), specifically written for solo bagpipe performance.

5 Only one submission is allowed from each composer.

6 Submissions must be sent electronically, attached to an introductory email with the composer’s contact information, and received by April 1, 2018 at the email address:

7 The musical score must be submitted as a PDF file labelled ‘SPS Contest’, with no indication of the composer’s identity or composition title. The score must be generated by computer in a recognizable arrangement format (PS, Binneas, McIntosh). Hand-written scores or notations on the computer-generated score are not accepted.

8 Submissions must also include an audio electronic file (MP3) of the composition played on pipes or practice chanter, with no voice or identifying markers. Label the MP3 file: ‘SPS contest’. The player on the audio file is not required to be the composer(s).

Composers will retain all copyright, but by entering the contest the composer(s) agree to grant the sponsors free right to publish the score in a music collection and use partial recordings of the arrangement to advertise future competitions.

Composers must have the ability to receive monetary awards from the sponsors by PayPal account. All decisions made by the representatives of the sponsors are final.

Judging: Piobaireachd score and audio entries will be catalogued, provided individual identification, and sent under blind cover to the panel of judges. Results of the competition will be announced to each of the composers during May, 2018, and announced to the public on and the Shasta Piping Society website shortly thereafter. Awards will be distributed within 30 days of the announcement of winners by PayPal payment.

Shasta Piping Society was formed in 2013 as a philanthropic music venture. The Society was created to foster interest and proficiency in the music of Scotland and provide refurbished instruments to disadvantaged youth. 

PP Ed’s Blog: St Thomas’/ Stuart & Finlay/ Union Pipes/ Grampian League

Lyric Todkill of the flood-hit St Thomas’ Episcopal Pipe Band: ‘Thank you again for such a great article. I think it will help our cause.If anyone has difficulty with donating through the website, international donations can be made with the following account information.
International Wires with SWIFT code instructions:
Prosperity Bank
ABA: 113122655
Beneficiary: St. Thomas Episcopal Church & School Flood Relief Fund

Acct #217165824

Finlay Johnston winner of the March, Strathspey & Reel at this year’s Uist & Barra competition

Finlay Johnston and Stuart Liddell are off to Australia this week on a teaching and recital trip. The Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society are promoting their concert in the Regatta Hotel, Toowong, on Monday (Sept 18) at 7pm. Tickets to hear these two master players are a very reasonable A$10 (£6.50 approx.). Suporting them will be Kyle Warren.

Heartening to receive this about a set of union pipes (above) I sold to  collector Andreas Hartmann-Virnich a couple of years back: ‘I just got the Donald MacDonald Pastoral Pipes back from restoration by Andreas Rogge. He is very happy with the result. The sound is amazing, deep and warm. Andreas did do a great job with the missing treble drone that he reconstructed, and the missing chanter foot. He also made a new bag, reeds, and a blowpipe, all visually matched.

‘The setup is extremely air-efficient and pressure-friendly. The chanter in the picture plays two fully chromatic octaves – if you know how to play it correctly; I don’t. I believe that we will see the reproduction on the market in the near future. There are only two MacDonald Pastoral pipes world-wide that I am aware of (Hugh Cheape confirms), and yours is now the only playable set, the other one from the Scottish west coast being but a bunch of damaged parts. You may be confident that this set has been taken care of in the best possible way, and it is a truly wonderful instrument.’

I have asked Andreas for a recording so that we can hear what the pipes sound like. From my own not too successfukl attemots at getting them going I believe they will be similar to the Irish uillean pipe. The great thing for Highland pipers is that the fingering is very similar to ours. If this instrument goes into production I think we could see another important development in the bellows pipe world, something to match the smallpipe boom. I bought this instrument at auction in 1990 and loaned them to the College of Piping Museum for the 15 years I was there.

Patricia Grant compiler of the John Milne Fine Arts Grampian Piping League: ‘It was a good day at Braemar and the standard of piping was very good. I have attached the final placings and I would be obliged if you could advise any changes.  We were presented with a new trophy for the Junior Piobaireachd which was won for the first time by Liam Brown.  Unfortunately he was not able to attend but this addition is very much appreciated.  Good to see so many names figuring in the list of prizewinners and we can only hope that next year there more youngsters come to play in the various Games competitions.  Thanks to all the judges for their help and patience with me arriving possibly at inappropriate time to see if I can get results and to the Games Secretaries who send me the results.  Hope for a good year in 2018.  Patricia.’

Piobaireachd (senior):
1       Anna Kumerlöw                                           10
(Anna is pictured top after winning the 2017 Braemar Gold Medal)
2=    Allan Russell                                                    8
2=    Edward Gaul                                                    8
3=    Gordon McCready                                       7
3=     Ben Duncan                                                     7
4       Calum Brown                                                   6
5=     Faye Henderson                                            4
5=     Alan Clark                                                         4
6=     Raphael Mercier                                           3
6=     Sandy Cameron                                             3
7=     Andrew Hall                                                     2
7=     Ursa Beckford                                                2
7=     Gordon Barclay                                             2
8=     Bruce Macdonald                                         1
8=     Jamie Dyson                                                    1
8=     Duncan Watson                                            1
8=     Dan Lyden                                                         1
Calum Ian Brown, winner of the Grampian League senior ceol beag

Ceol beag (senior):
1        Calum Brown                                              50
2        Ben Duncan                                                 23
3        Allan Russell                                                22
4        Alan Clark                                                     20
5        Eddie Gaul                                                    17
6        Gordon McCready                                 16
7        Brighde Chaimbeul                                  8
8        John MacDonald                                       7
9=     Lewis White                                                 6
9=     Robbie MacIssac                                       6
10=  Andrew Donlan                                         5
10=  Anna Kumerlöw                                        5
11=  Struan McLennan                                     4
11=  Ross Shand                                                   4
11=  James McHattie                                        4
12     Sandy Cameron                                         3
13=   Andrew Hall                                               2
13=   Gary Murray                                              2
13=   Gordon Barclay                                        2
13=   Kris Coyle                                                    2
13=   Jonathan Greenlees                              2
14=    Kate Kimove                                             1
14=   Peter McCalister                                     1
14=    Nick Hudson                                             1

Piobaireachd (junior):
1     Liam Brown                                                    11
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 5
3=  Jordan Ednie                                                    4
3=  Andrew Ferguson                                         4
4=  Angus MacKay Robertson                       3
4=  Finlay Cameron                                              3
4=  Lee Taylor                                                           3
5=  Tom Spencer                                                     2
5=   Bobby Allan                                                      2
6     Angus Duffy                                                      1Ceol beag (junior):
1      Liam Brown                                                      46
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 11
3=   Robert Howie                                                   8
3=   Daniel Ferguson                                              8
4=   Robbie MacIssac                                             7
4=   Finlay Cameron                                               7
5=   Lee Taylor                                                            6
5=   Angus Duffy                                                       6
6=  Angus Mackay Robertson                          4
6=  Jordan Ednie                                                      4
6=  Andrea Yeats                                                      4
6=  Adam Reid                                                            4
7=  Andrew Ferguson                                            3
7=  Peter McEwan                                                   3
7=  Archie Downie                                                   3
8     Lewis Russell                                                       2
9=  Tom Spencer                                                        1
9=  Bobby Allan                                                          1