Composer Niall Adds Another Success to his Growing Catalogue of Pipe Music

Niall Mathieson of Easter Ross has a reputation as a composer of merit and two weeks ago added yet another tune to his burgeoning oeuvre when he won a competition for a tune to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Pitlochry Highland Games, writes our Special Correspondent. Mr Matheson’s prize was £500 and he attended the games on September 10 and performed the tune for the first time in public before…

Pipe Band Formations – Transforming from the Circle Part 3

As already mentioned the RSPBA previously undertook a number of trials of the semi-circle format in 1998.  I participated in the trial at Bathgate Highland Games.  As far as I am aware no advice was given to the bands about how the pipers and drummers should form up in the semi-circle, so there were wide variations which resulted in different sound projections.  One band even had the drummers facing backwards…

Pipe Band Formations and Transitioning Away from the Circle – Part 2

Suggestions have been made from time to time for the circle formation to be replaced by a concert style semi-circle, the main argument being that bands would be able to face their audience.  It is not a new idea as the RSPBA conducted trials of the format in 1998 but decided not to implement it at that time.  I do not recall the reasons ever being made public.  As always…

Pipe Band Competition Formations – Part 1

I had not anticipated my article on Piping Press about the recent World Pipe Band Championships would generate debate about the circle formation for competing bands.  My reference to containing and balancing the sounds with the circle formation were intended merely as a reference to only one of the aspects of the original thinking when the circle formation was introduced.  I also did not suggest any preference for either a…

James Campbell Memories on Post War Piping Competitions

We are grateful to reader Jack McLachlan for forwarding this BBC recording of the John MacFadyen Memorial Trust’s lecture given by James Campbell, Kilberry, in 1985. The venue was the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle. This is the second part of a three-part lecture entitled ’50 Years of Judging’ and features the live playing of Iain MacFadyen (Old Men of the Shells) and Captain John MacLellan (Black Donald’s March). By…