Pioneers of Pipe Band Drumming – Part Two

Alex McCormick joined the drum corps of Glasgow Police Pipe Band in 1936 under Leading Drummer Jack Seton, son of his former drumming tutor, John Seton (previously also Leading Drummer of Glasgow Police Pipe Band).  Alex developed a strong friendship with Jimmy Catherwood and Paddy Donovan and shared their interest of drumming in the context of pipe band musicianship and pipe band ensemble.  He was joint Principal along with John Seton…

Editor’s Notebook: Queen’s Own and Evan/ Colin Murray/ Ronald Elmslie/ Hugh MacCallum/ OZ Smallpipes/ SFU

Thanks to Yahya Hussein in the US for sending the above picture, relevant to yesterday’s review of Evan Macrae’s new book. Yahya writes: ‘Here is a photo of the pipe band of the 1st Camerons at Catterick [Yorkshire] having just returned from their foreign service tour in the Sudan in October 1936. ‘When I showed Jimmy McIntosh this photo some years ago, he happily identified a good number of the…

Review: ‘Over the Chindwin to Lochaber – A Scottish Piper’s Memoir’ by Pipe Major Evan Macrae BEM

Evan Macrae was the Pipe Major in the Cameron Highlanders for 13 years and served in various theatres of war and conflicts including places in the Far East – but this is not a war book. It is an easy, pleasant read. Evan was born in 1922 and commences with his earliest memories as a young lad, one of a family of four. Despite knowing him, I was surprised to learn…

London and South of England Solos

By the summer of 2020, it had become clear that there would not be any chance of outdoor piping contests. In order to keep the flame alive and provide an incentive for continuing to practice, the London and South of England Branch of the RSPBA (which covers nearly half the geographical area of England and S Wales) decided to hold a Solo Online contest for both adults and  juveniles.  By…

A Day at Inchdrewer and a Passing Out Parade at the Army School of Piping

Lance Corporal McCaskill had just finished his half hour performance and I turned to Jimmy Banks and Jimmy turned to me and Finlay Johnston turned to him and we all agreed what a joy it was to hear a live bagpipe. The occasion was this week’s Army Pipe Major’s Course Passing Out where we three were the panel. It was the first time in many months we had heard pipes…