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Richness, Depth, and a Call for the Music of Old

Published: September 30, 2000

The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society, 1750-1950
by William Donaldson
Tuckwell Press, East Lothian, Scotland, 2000

Reviewed by Jim McGillivray

The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society, 1750-1950 is a startling book. It is deep and rich in its telling of the history of pipe music, and convincing in its argument that the piobaireachd of today has died a death attributable to those who most vociferously claimed to be saving it.

Its author, William Donaldson, is a piper and prize-winning social historian. Most of us have never heard of him. But he should be remembered from this time forward as the writer of one of the most significant piping publications to be produced in the last hundred years, if not ever.

Donaldson is a meticulous and ambitious academic researcher, gleaning from hundreds of published and unpublished sources the history of pipe music from the mid-eighteenth century until recent times. This is largely a study of published collections– who created or compiled them, how they came into being, and the broad and specific influences they had on piping and pipers. We learn about Joseph MacDonald’s Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe, with its implied notions that the playing of piobaireachd around 1760 was a much freer thing than it is today, that players were allowed to play embellishments as they saw fit and vary melody notes where appropriate. In this early chapter, Donaldson states a premise that will be repeated again and again throughout the book:

In Joseph’s time, then, “authority” was located in performance and not in the written score or its institutional sponsors.

This theme will be re-echoed in subsequent chapters dealing with the works of Donald MacDonald, Angus MacArthur, Neil MacLeod of Gesto, Angus MacKay, William Ross (not Willie), David Glen, Donald MacPhee and General Charles Simeon Thomason.

The book is full of the history around these collections, stories that many of us may have heard from the ‘old’ pipers around the games and gatherings in years past and thought apocryphal or lacking in evidence. For example:

“In the spring of 1820, Angus MacArthur, Donald MacDonald’s teacher, and former piper to the MacDonalds of the Isles, lay on his deathbed playing the practice chanter. By him sat John MacGregor III, of clann an sgeulaiche, piper to the Highland Society of London, pen in hand, copying down what he heard. Also present was musician and society painter Andrew Robertson from Aberdeen, one of the Society’s treasurers. MacArthur and MacGregor were being paid. Half a guinea a tune. Eventually, there would be thirty of them. And so the ‘Highland Society of London’s MS’ came into being.”

These kinds of anecdotes frequent the book, and are presented only with firm historical evidence. Donaldson relates rumours that the MacCrimmons may actually have had a written record of the music they taught, but he is careful to point out that not one shred of evidence exists to confirm this, though much material was destroyed over the years at Dunvegan castle.

But this book is much more than the history of our greatest music collections. It is also an argument for the apparent losses incurred when pipers set to paper what was once a vibrant and varied oral tradition. And it is a scathing indictment of the rigidity and restriction placed on piobaireachd by the early Highland Society of London and the Piobaireachd Society under its great pillar of power and influence, Archibald Campbell of Kilberry.

Indeed, poor Campbell, originally the lesser light of three Campbell brothers, is the villain of this piece.

The story heats up during the time of the Highland Society of London’s first competitions, which began in 1781. Before the days when piobaireachd music was etched in stone, Donaldson contends, tunes and interpretations were so varied that entire competitions could be run with the competitors all playing the same set tune. “In modern conditions,” he says, “this would be unendurably tedious,” because everyone would play the same setting pretty much the same way. Though sponsored by the Highland Society, the competion was in these days run by pipers. Variations in performance and score were the norm, grounds were repeated between later variations and competitors were allowed to tune in mid-performance, much like a modern orchestra might tune briefly between movements of a symphony.

All this changed just after 1800, when control of these major competitions fell out of the hands of what Donaldson terms “the performer community.” For nearly 30 years the Highland Society competitions were the responsibility of Sir John Graham Dalyell, a Society official who, it appears, did not like the pipes. (We are not told why a gentleman who hated the pipes so steadfastly ran a piping competition for three decades.) Under Dalyell’s leadership the competition was streamlined from three days down to four hours. Tuning either before or during the performance was banned, as were repetitions of the ground. The number of tunes played was reduced, and the whole affair was judged largely by local gentry who had little idea what they were hearing. Prizes most often went to the biggest names, the greatest technicians, or those whose success for whatever reasons suited the needs of the sponsors. In this way, says Donaldson,

“…a traditional, fluid and creatively flexible art form was locked into an institutional nexus in a way that tended to drain autonomy from the performer community and transfer it to the external mediators and sponsors.”

In one of the great ironies of piping, the publication of important collections of pipe music in the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries would further erode the freedom of expression in piobaireachd. Judges who were not entirely confident of their ability to judge the best players of the day adhered safely to the collections of Angus Mackay, Donald MacDonald or David Glen, marking competitors down for not playing exactly what was written in the accepted text of the day.

With the advent of the Piobaireachd Society nearly one hundred years ago, says Donaldson, this unfortunate process came to a head, as control of the music was now in the hands of an élite few who not only published the books, but hired the prime instructors and judged the major competitions. They were not accomplished players, but they were powerful. Their positions gave them sway over the greatest names of the day: John MacDougall Gillies, John MacDonald of Inverness and Willie Ross, none of whom could stand up to the power and influence of Archibald Campbell. In complete opposition to what piobaireachd might once have meant to the players, these folk

“…knew little of oral transmission or what it might imply, and failed to appreciate that the simultaneous co-existence of multiple variants [of a tune] might be a normal and healthy condition.”

Now the story becomes riveting, with chapters detailing the history behind the Piobaireachd Society’s first failed series of publications and its influential second series (up to Book 10). The legendary Campbell is painted as a controlling and self-absorbed dictator who claimed to be preserving the interpretations of the master players such as MacDonald, Gillies, and Colin and Sandy Cameron, while in reality amending interpretations and publishing scores mostly to his own liking. Ross, MacDonald, R.U. Brown and others spoke vitriol of Campbell in private, with Bob Nicol providing perhaps the most pithy indictment, told to Donaldson in conversation in 1975:

When Nicol exclaimed, “The book, the book, the bloody book, I can’t do with it at all” he had specific books in mind: namely the Piobaireachd Society Collection (second series) and the Kilberry Collection of Ceol Mor. Of the editor, Archibald Campbell, he declared… “you could be a very clever man, yet no musician.”

Donaldson’s rewriting of the reputation of Archibald Campbell will likely be the most controversial issue in this book, and it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, comes to Kilberry’s rescue. However, Donaldson’s overall argument that piobaireachd as an art form has in the most important ways spiralled downward during the last two centuries is convincingly presented. It has led this reader to reassess not only the performance of piobaireachd in the year 2000, but the process of setting tunes for the major competitions, and indeed our restrictive text-oriented standard of awarding prizes. The argument becomes particularly evident when Donaldson juxtaposes the current stagnant condition of piobaireachd with that of light music, a vibrant, fluid and living musical form, the control of which has remained firmly in the hands of “the performer community.”

(As an aside, Donaldson would most likely approve of the current Piobaireachd Society’s leadership being returned to professional players and its planned release of an edition of the MacArthur manuscript.)

This is a wonderful book, though to get to the meat one must plough through a perplexing initial chapter quite unrelated to piping. Don’t let that put you off.

It is also a very expensive book, and considering the nearly $75 price tag one might expect more photos of piping’s great names in addition to the three rarities included: a fabulous 1946 colour cover shot of Willie Ross taken on the ramparts of the Castle, Bob Nicol playing at John MacDonald’s 1953 funeral and a portrait of nineteenth-century icon John Bàn MacKenzie.

If you judge piobaireachd, are involved in its administration, or play it as a serious performer, put this book on your list of must-reads. If the history of piping interests you, pick it up and be fascinated. Otherwise, you might buy it just to say you own a first-edition of what might become one of piping’s more valuable and influential academic works.

Among his numerous competitive achievements, Jim McGillivray has won both Highland Society of London Gold Medals, the Clasp, and the MSR at the Glenfiddich. He is Director of the Piping and Drumming Program at St. Andrew’s College, an independent boys school in Aurora, Ontario.

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Worrall To Judge Bratach Gorm

Published:

Bob Worrall of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, will be a judge on the bench at the Bratach Gorm piobaireachd competition in London, England, this November.

It is believed that Worrall thus becomes the first North American to sit on the bench of a senior competition at a major event in the United Kingdom. He was added as an approved adjudicator by the Piobaireachd Society this year.

The Bratach Gorm – Gaelic for “Blue Banner” – is one of the piping world’s most coveted piobaireachd prizes. It is generally seen as the first major event of a new season, and is the first official qualifying contest for the annual Glenfiddich Invitational held each October at Blair Atholl Castle in Scotland. The competition is reserved for winners of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medals at Oban and Inverness and/or the Open Piobaireachd at London.

“This is a major breakthrough in making these important piping events truly international,” said one professional competitor. “The Piobaireachd Society is making great strides towards taking a more global perspective.”

The Bratach Gorm will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2000, in downtown London, along with a full slate of other senior piping events.

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Livingstone Wins Canadian Police Piping Competition

Published:

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – September 23, 2000 – Bill Livingstone of Whitby, Ontario, won the aggregate award at the annual Canadian Police Invitational Professional Piping Competition by winning the Piobaireachd event with a performance of “Lament for the Children.”

Ian K. MacDonald of Aurora, Ontario, won the March, Strathspey, Reel, Hornpipe & Jig event. While aggregate points for the overall prize were tied between Livingstone and MacDonald, the piobaireachd event took precedence.

The competition, now in its fourth year, has become a favourite with competitors and attracts many of North America’s best pipers. The event is held in conjunction with a national day of tribute to police and safety officers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Proceeds from the competition go to the families left behind by officers killed on the job.

Piobaireachd
1st Bill Livingstone, “Lament for the Children”
2nd Andrew Hayes, Nepean, Ontario
3rd John Cairns, London, Ontario

Light Music
1st Ian K. MacDonald
2nd James MacHattie, Toronto, Ontario
3rd Andrew Hayes

Both events were judged by Michael Cusack of Houston, Texas, USA. Also competiting were Andrew Berthoff, Toronto, Ontario; Ed Neigh, Wellesley, Ontario; and Andrew Rogers, Fredericton, New Brunswick.

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P/M Donald MacLeod MBE Memorial Competition 2000

Published:

Tennents P/M Donald MacLeod MBE Memorial Competition 2000
World Masters of Piping
Greentrax Recordings, CDTRAX 200
Playing time: 64 minutes

Held in April of this year, highlights from the annual P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial Invitational Piping Competition have been released by burgeoning Greentrax Recordings of Edinburgh, Scotland.

For aficionados of competition-style piping, this is your CD. Five current top-line pipers are featured on the recording: Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland; Gordon Walker of Glasgow, Scotland; Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland; Roddy MacLeod of Glasgow; and Niall Matheson of Inverness, Scotland.

The format of the competition run by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society, which was started in 1993 and was in 2000 for the first time sponsored by Tennent Caledonian Breweries, is to pay homage to P/M Donald MacLeod primarily through his music. Pipers are required to play both MacLeod’s original piobaireachd and light music compositions; the latter interspersed with classic tunes from other sources.

It practically goes without saying these days that the playing on a CD like this is just about technically perfect. The content, however, is what makes this project shine, as MacLeod’s highly captivating ceol mor compositions get a proper airing.

Of particular note is Willie McCallum’s rendition of “Field of Gold.” Delivered flawlessly, with great feeling, this is a standout piece. Niall Matheson’s performance of “The Sound of the Sea” is a treat also, as this highly evocative piobaireachd is truly inspired.

Most of the Donald MacLeod light music on the CD is almost as entrenched in competing piping’s repertory as the other fare. The exceptions are pieces like “Glasgow Skye Association Centenary Gathering,” Duncan MacColl,” and “Sheriff Sandy MacPherson,” which are all welcome listening.

Recording quality captures the live atmosphere of the event, and the altered tone of the players as they march past the microphones lends a welcome warmth to the CD. The CD reflects the feeling of the hall at the Seaforth Hotel in Stornoway.

It’s worth noting that this CD, rather than listing who won what at the contest in excruciating detail, is presented more as a recording of a recital. In fact, the prizelist is barely even noticeable. Perhaps this too is an indicator that the piping world continues to depart from a competitive mindset, putting the proper accent on the music and not the prize.

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Drew Duthart New Lead Drummer for Peel Police

Published:

Drew Duthart, former lead drummer of the Metro Toronto Police Pipe Band and drummer with bands such as Shotts & Dykehead and British Caledonian Airways, hasa been appointed the lead drummer of the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band of Brampton, Ontario.

Duthart takes over the corps from former lead drummer, Jeremy Keddy, who joined the band in 1999 but voluntarily stepped down after the 2000 season. Keddy has decided to leave Peel Police to join crosstown rivals Toronto Police as a member of theat band’s drum line, under lead drummer Alan Savage.

Duthart’s return is welcome news, not for only Peel Police, but for the Ontario scene as a whole, as he has not played with a band for several years.

“We are very pleased that we were able to get Drew, as he brings to the band a wealth of knowledge and experience,” said Pipe Major John Elliott. “Drew is very excited and looking forward to getting back into competition again.”

Peel Police enjoyed a solid 2000 season, winning two Ontario Champion Supreme contests, and beating the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, which finished fifth in the World Pipe band Championship, at Fort Erie and Cambridge.

“It’s great that Drew Duthart is back where he should be: leading a top Grade 1 band’s drum corps,” said one insider. “This will no doubt catapult Peel Police further ahead for 2001.”

Drew Duthart is the son of the great drummer Alex Duthart, who was voted “Most Important Pipe Band Drummer of the Century” by Piper & Drummer readers in the magazine’s “End of the Millennium” issue of November 1999.

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Gandy Leaves College of Piping, PEI

Published:

Bruce Gandy and the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, have parted ways after thre years of Gandy in the position of piping instructor. The change is reportedly effective immediately.

“I really enjoyed my three years in Prince Edward Island, and made great friends along the way,” Gandy commented. “My family and I felt it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving ahead with some exciting plans back in Ontario.”

“After three years of teaching at the College of Piping, Bruce
Gandy is moving on to pursue other career options,” said Scott MacAulay, Director of the college. “The College of Piping wishes Bruce well in his future endeavours.”

Replacing Gandy is Sean Somers, a piper from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

“We are very pleased to welcome Sean Somers to the faculty of the College of Piping in Summerside,” MacAulay continued. “Sean is a talented and enthusiastic teacher of youth with a strong track record of successful students in Saskatchewan.”

The college recently announced the Doug & Debbie Hall Scholarship Fund, which provides free weekly lessons year round. The college reports that over 200 new students have signed up for the program to date.

Gandy, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, took the instructor post at the college after a long search and recruitment process. The former pipe sergeant of the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, Bruce Gandy has experienced a high degree of success as a solo piper since joining the college, winning, among other major prizes, both the Grade A March and Strathspey & Reel at the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland, in 1999, and finishing second in the Silver Star Former Winners MSR at the same gathering this year.

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RSPBA Music Board to Meet on Grading

Published:

The Music Board of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association is scheduled to meet on September 30, 2001 in Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss, among other matters, grading of bands.

The Music Board will examine a report by the board’s Grading Sub-Committee, which has assessed bands and results over the course of the 2000 season.

Several bands in Grade 1 and Grade 2 are thought to be potentially impacted by the meeting. Among them are the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, which won the Grade 2 Champion of Champions award and finished the 2000 season with first prizes and eight straight first placings from judges at the last two major championships; Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band and Hydro Electric Buchan, which had relatively poor seasons in Grade 1, have an outside chance of being dropped to Grade 2.

In addition, Glasgow Skye’s Pipe Major, Iain Roddick, has announced that the 2000 season was his last as leader of the band.

Speculation has it that no bands from Grade 1 will be relegated, as RSPBA contests have seen dwindling numbers in the premier grade. For example, only 10 bands competed in Grade 1 at the Scottish Championships at Arbroath, thought to be the lowest number since the 1940s.

In Grade 3A, both Coulter & District and the 1st Batallion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders will have the best chance of moving to Grade 2.

Grading recommendations from the Music Board are passed to the National Council, which meets on October 14-15. The National Council then generally accepts the Music Board’s decisions.

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Walker Wins MSR At Inverness

Published:

Inverness, Scotland – September 6-7, 2000 –Gordon Walker of Glasgow, Scotland, won the Silver Star March, Strathspey & Reel for former winners of A Grade light music events at the Northern Meeting at Inverness, and Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland, won the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal for piobaireachd in an excelent competition.

Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland, won the Clasp for piobaireachd, while Robert Watt of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, won the Silver Medal for piobaireachd.

MacColl completed a rare senior double, adding the Clasp to his victory in the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Scotland, the previous week.

Greg Wilson of Falkirk, Scotland, won the A Grade March, Douglas Murray of Glenrothes, Scotland, won the A Grade Strathspey & Reel, and Angus MacColl took the Hornpipe & Jig, which is reserved only for A Grade players.

Gold Medal
1st Stuart Liddell, “Lament for the Dead”
2nd Iain Macey, Michigan, USA
3rd Bruce Gandy, Prince Edward Island, Canada
4th Ian MacDonald, Toronto, Canada
5th P/M Stuart Samson, The Highlanders
Judges: James Young, Andrew Wright, Malcolm MacRae

Unlike the Gold Medal at Oban, the Inverness Gold Medal was a particularly good contest. One insider said that “as many as 12 competitors were in the running for a prize.” The contest was lacking the winner of the Argyllshire Gathering’s medal, Michael Rogers, who could not attend the Northern Meeting because of illness. John Patrick of Fankerton, Scotland, also could not compete because of personal reasons.

Clasp
1st Angus MacColl
2nd Bill Livingstone, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
3rd Robert Wallce, Glasgow, Scotland
4th Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
Judges: Lt. Col. DJS Murray, Dr. Jack Taylor, Iain MacFadyen

Silver Medal
1st Robert Watt
2nd Graeme Roy, Blanefield, Scotland
3rd Colin Clansey, Ontario, Canada
4th George Taylor, Glasgow, Scotland
5th Daroch Urquhart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
Judges: William MacDonald (Benbecula), Neil Mulvie, Ronald Lawrie

Silver Star MSR
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Bruce Gandy
3rd Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland
4th Willie McCallum
Judges: Iain MacLellan, John Wilson, Barry Donaldson

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Angus MacColl
2nd Gordon Walker
3rd Greg Wilson
4th Lourne Cousin, Edinburgh, Scotland
Judges: Iain MacLellan, John Wilson, Barry Donaldson

A Grade March
1st Greg Wilson
2nd Douglas Murray, Glenrothes, Scotland
3rd Ian MacDonald, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4th Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, Scotland
Judges: Alan Forbes, Walter Drysdale, Walter Cowan

A Grade Strathspey & Reel
1st Douglas Murray
2nd Andrew Matheson, Lochgelly, Scotland
3rd Niall Matheson, Inverness, Scotland
4th Donald MacPhee, Alexandria, Scotland
Judges: Alan Forbes, Walter Drysdale, Walter Cowan

B Grade March
1st Ann Gray, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2nd Gavin Walker, Glasgow, Scotland
3rd Sgt D.J. McIntyre, The Highlanders
4th Ross Cowan, Annan, Scotland
Judges: Donald MacPherson, Hugh MacInnes, Angus MacLellan

B Grade Strathspey & Reel
1st P/M Michael Gray, The Highlanders
2nd Gavin Walker
3rd Andrew Berthoff, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4th James MacPhee, Glasgow, Scotland
Judges: Donald MacPherson, Hugh MacInnes, Angus MacLellan

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Field Marshal Wins Scottish at Arbroath

Published:

Arbroath, Scotland – September 1, 2000 – The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band of Belfast, Northern Ireland, won the Scottish Pipe Band Championships here on a cold but generally clear and sunny day on the east coast of Scotland.

2000 World Champions Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia had to settle for second, but celebrated the victory of the RSPBA Champion of Champions aggregate award in a tie with Field Marshal broken by Shotts’s better showing at the World Championships in August.

Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, coming off the band’s victory at the Cowal Championships a week previous, fell to fourth place in the medley contest.

In Grade 1 perhaps the biggest talk of the day was over the fact that the Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band, which has not featured in a major prize list for almost a decade, finished sixth. By many accounts, Dysart could well have placed even higher. The band is led by Pipe Major Brian Lamond, who took over the post this past winter.

Grade 2 was won by Lothian & Borders Police, which, for the second straight week, took straight first placings from the four judges. The band played under questionable weather.

In the solo piping, Anne Spalding of Broughty Ferry took overall aggregate honours with three excellent performances.

Grade 1
1st Field Marshal Montgomery
2nd Shotts & Dykehead
3rd ScottishPower
4th Boghall & Bathgate
5th Strathclyde Police
6th Dysart & Dundonald
Drumming: Boghall & Bathgate

Champion of Champions: Shotts & Dykehead
Champion of Champions Drumming: Field Marshal Montgomery

Grade 2
1st Lothian & Borders Police
2nd Bucksburn & District
3rd Grampian Police
4th Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
5th Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary
6th Dumbarton & District
Drumming: Lothian and Borders Police

Champion of Champions: Lothian & Borders Police
Champion of Champions Drumming: Lothian & Borders Police

Grade 3A
1st Culter & District
2nd 1st Btn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
3rd Milngavie
4th Coalburn I.O.R.
5th Dingwall RBLS
6th McLean Annan
Drumming: Culter & District

Champion of Champions: Culter & District
Champion of Champions Drumming: McLean Annan

Grade 3B
1st Howard Memorial
2nd Johnstone
3rd Inverness
4th Perth & District
5th Kirkaldy & District
6th 42nd Highlanders
Drumming: Johnstone

Champion of Champions: Howard Memorial
Champion of Champions Drumming: Kirkaldy & District

Juvenile
1st Lochgelly High School
2nd Paisley
3rd Bucksburn & District
4th MacNaughton’s Vale of Atholl
5th Inverness Schools
6th Burntisland & District
Drumming: Burntisland & District

Champion of Champions: Lochgelly High School
Champion of Champions Drumming: Lochgelly High School

Grade 4A
1st Newtongrange
2nd Cullenfad
3rd Troon Blackrock
4th Milngavie
5th Bo’ness RBL
6th Linlithgow
Drumming: Newtongrange

Champion of Champions: Syerla
Champion of Champions Drumming: Newtongrange

Grade 4B
1st Lomond & Clyde
2nd Penicuik & District
3rd Kirkcudbright & District
4th Kilsyth Thistle
5th Kinglassie & District
6th Muirkirk & District
Drumming: Kylsyth Thistle

Champion of Champions: Lomond & Clyde
Champion of Champions Drumming: Penicuik

Novice Juvenile
1st George Watson’s College
2th Lochgelly High School
3th Seafield & District
4th Dumbarton & District
5th 47th Culter Boys Brigade
6th SYHA Vale of Atholl
Drumming: George Watson’s College

Champion of Champions: George Watsons College

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Pearly Victoria

Published:

The Victoria Collection
Compiled and published by Colin Magee
79 tunes, 68 pages

Reviewed by Roderick MacLean

Until now, Colin Magee was perhaps best known for composing the jig “Troy’s Wedding.” With the publication of The Victoria Collection, his much-anticipated collection, Magee’s reputation will undoubtedly grow. Overall, the book is quite strong and falls only slightly short of excellent.

I evaluated Magee’s book according to three categories of review. The first, and by far the most important, is the music. Were there enough good tunes here to recommend the book to other people? An appraisal of the technical aspects of the publication — type, notation, etc. – comprises the second category of evaluation. The third area of examination is additional information the collection provides.

To start, then, there is the music. Magee provides us with 79 tunes in total: 26 marches, six strathspeys, six reels, nine slow airs, 17 jigs and 15 hornpipes. Overall, I found the selections to be melodically strong. Magee has an ear for choosing pieces that surprise but remain musically pleasing. One often finds, for example, slightly different uses of tied notes or unusual placement, or combinations of gracenotes. In general, the collection is geared towards pipers of high technical ability. However, pipers of all grades will find something to suit their talents and tastes.

A number of tunes specifically sparked my interest. “Beausejour Cottage” by James MacHattie would enhance any band’s selection of street tunes. Magee’s “Dusty Miller’s Farewell to Dieppe,” written in 6/4 time, was also pleasing. Additionally, the “Lament for PM Harry MacAleer” demonstrates an effective use of the glissando or slur movement.

The real strength of the collection, however, is the jigs and hornpipes. Ann Gray, for instance, provides two 9/8 slip jigs that promise plenty of forward motion in an Irish style, while MacHattie adds a bright sounding, “Pugwash the Smuggler.” Magee’s “The Phantom Phiddler” and additional contributions from Gray, MacHattie and Michael J. Evans comprise a few of the notable hornpipes.

Technically, the book is also competent. I could find no obvious notation errors and the type is easy to read. The collection’s one real weakness, however, is the lack of additional contextual information. I would have enjoyed reading more about the City of Victoria Pipe Band (to whom the book is partially dedicated), the composers, and some notes on the origins of the tunes themselves. In short, this would have raised my ranking of the collection from very good to superb.

Roderick MacLean is from Kingston, Ontario, and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he is the Pipe Major of the Halifax Police Pipe Band.

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Piping in America — A Brief History

Published:

Preface: In 1982, the Journal of American Ethnic History published “Under the Kilt: Variations on the Scottish-American Ground” by Rowland Berthoff, professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The 15,000 word study examined the history of Highland games in the United States, and the ethnic identity of Scottish-Americans.

The Piper & Drummer is pleased to provide excerpts from the study that pertain specifically to piping. At a time when American pipers, drummers and pipe bands are contending on the world’s most important competition platforms, the study serves to highlight just how far things have come in the United States.

Off-prints of “Under the Kilt: Variations on the Scottish-American Ground” are available from the author at no charge. Professor Berthoff will even cover the cost of postage. They may be obtained by writing to: Rowland Berthoff, 7195 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63130 USA.

Part 1

At the smaller [American] games [in the mid-1800s] the only piper — too often a poor one – was the accompanist hired for the dancers. As late as 1865 “a genuine Scotch bagpiper” was called “a rare sight to be seen in this country.” Only the largest games in the 1870s and 1880s managed to engage several pipers, in place of the usual American brass band with its poetry-in-translation version of Scottish tunes, to lead the parade that enticed spectators to the games. “Six pipers playing together,” such as the Philadelphia Caledonian Club could boast in 1875, were “not to be seen or heard on many occasions.” Albany reached the pinnacle of twelve in l886. Beginning about 1869, at a few games—never more than a third each year—the pipers also competed, on the system followed in Scotland since 1781, for a single set of cash prizes in “bagpipe playing” or “bagpipe music.” The first North American United Caledonian Association (NAUCA) rules, in 1877, were sub-rudimentary: “competitors to appear in Highland costume, and to repeat each piece of music three times. Judges [who were notorious for being better acquainted with the pipers than with pipe music] to be in a closed tent, or otherwise concealed from the competitors. Separate prizes for “pibrochs and marches” and for “reel and strathspey,” the common arrangement in Scotland and Ontario, were introduced in the late 1880s but remained beyond the resources of most games.

The pipers of the time seem to have been ordinary immigrant workingmen who incidentally played the pipes. Although there were at least eighteen in New York in 1882, a Saratoga hotel sent to Scotland when it wanted six pipers for the season. Knowledgeable critics blamed the low state of playing on games committees too quick to hire anyone “who could skirl out the outlines of a tune. . . no matter how unearthly and harsh.” At best, “continual repetition of the same airs” disgusted “even enthusiastic admirers of the piobh mhor. (“The Campbells are Coming” was inescapable; it welcomed the chief of the Macleans to the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.) Nothing about piping impressed Americans as much as the pipers’ ornate costumes, except perhaps their ability to render simple but familiar tunes like “My Grandfather’s Clock.” Purists complained that too many pipers, facing such incomprehension, became “wanting in dignity and self respect . . . ready to go anywhere, indifferent to who or what they play for, . . . as long as they are paid.” It was enough to drive pipers to the drink for which they were already proverbial.

The pipers themselves, however, undertook reform. Robert Ireland, formerly of the 93rd Highlanders and winner of a first prize at the Braemar Highland Gathering, helped to organize a Highland Pipers’ Association in New York in 1882 “for the better encouragement and practice of their instrument” throughout the country, and sent off an order for reeds to David Glen of Edinburgh. The association expired within a year or two, evidently victim of NAUCA jealousy, but new NAUCA rules in 1887 and larger prizes at games began to lift the standard. “The points to be observed in arriving at a decision” were still fairly simple:

1st, whether the pipes are in tune; 2d, the character of piece played, whether difficult or easy; 3d, taste and time maintained, whether shifting, too fast, or slow; 4th, mistakes, such as missing notes, omitting to repeat a part or playing it over too often.

On the west coast, another Highland Pipers’ Association briefly existed at San Francisco in 1890.

Regularization of piping, dancing, and athletics left little in which the less skillful, among whom officers of the sponsoring club might be numbered, could distinguish themselves. As in Scotland, consequently, many games offered prizes for the “best-dressed Highlander,” although in the 1870s uncertainty about proper Highland dress sometimes led judges to favor a competitor whose ornamental buttons or extraordinarily crooked walking-stick “lookit gey an’ Scotchy” or who was just “a guid lookin’ chap.” In 1884 the NAUCA adopted far more explicit rules than those for piping or dancing:

“Kilt and plaid to be of uniform tartan, and preference to be given to recognized clan family patterns. The jacket to be of velvet or cloth, with lozenge shaped buttons. Vest to be of tartan, or cloth of a color approximating to the leading colors of the tartan worn. Kilt to be worn plain, without bows of ribbon, or other attached ornaments. Hose to correspond in color and design as nearly as possible with the kilt. Plaid to be of full size. The bonnet to be of recognized Balmoral, Glengarry, or broad pattern. Shoes to he low cut. Ornaments to consist of brooch, crest on bonnet, and buckles on shoes, and eagle or blackcock feathers in bonnet. Powderhorn, suspended from the shoulder. Sporran to be of goat or horse hair. Arms and belts to consist of claymore, dirk, skene-dhu and pistols, sword and waistbelts. All mountings to be of silver, or silver-plated, and the chasing or engraving to be of uniform design throughout. Judges will take into account the manner in which the costume is worn, the richness of each part, and the harmony of the design of the whole.”

Toward the end of the century the games began to change. The non-Scottish spectators drifted away to more novel amusements, including modern track and field meets adapted from those the immigrants had introduced. What remained was coming to seem only “the ‘auld hech howe’.” In Scotland, a critic observed, games now were enlivened with “military matches, broadsword combats, climbing of greasy poles, archery, and many other things.” In America they went on presenting year after year a succession of hammer and stone throwing, caber tossing, two dances, and a miscellaneous collection of walks, runs and jumps, with a game of quoits thrown in to please the curlers.”

The era of Highland dancing and piping, and of pipe and drum bands, now began in earnest. By 1913 almost all the games were holding solo piping competition. The bagpipe had always been a solo instrument; the pipers who occasionally paraded together at American Highland games had seldom been accompanied by drummers. In Scotland, for that matter, army pipers were not formed into regimental bands until the 1850s, and the craze for local pipe bands in Lowland towns and mining villages came a generation later. The first pipe band competition was at the Cowal Gathering at Dunoon in 1906. The oldest bands in the United States consequently date from a time well within the memory of pipers still active in recent years.

A kilted drill corps in Chicago calling itself the First Regiment of Royal Scots sponsored, in 1893, the first regularly organized pipe and drum band in the United States. Next, in 1898, came the Pittsburgh Bagpipe Society; in 1902 the Chicago Highlanders Pipe Band, and the band of the Massachusetts Highland Dress Association, at Boston; 1903, the pipe band of the Gordon Highlanders of Buffalo, another quasi-military unit; 1904, the International Pipe Band of Detroit and Windsor; 1905, the New York Scottish Highlanders Pipe Band under Robert Ireland, recently pipe major of the 48th Toronto Highland Regiment; 1907, the band of the Scottish Dress Association of Rhode Island, at Providence; 1908, bands at Philadelphia, Chicago and St. Louis; 1909, at Yonkers and among the Scottish papermakers of Holyoke; by 1910, the Clan Gordon (Order of Scottish Clans) Pipe band, Denver; and in 1912 at Rockford, Illinois. The First World War evidently inspired another wave: in 1914 at Manchester, Waterbury, Jersey City, Chicago, and the coalmining village of Gillespie, Illinois; 1916, at Worcester, Bridgeport, Hartford, Paterson, Youngstown, and Seattle, and the Lovat Pipe Band of New York; 1917, Cincinnati; 1918, Schenectady; 1921 the Chicago Highlanders (later the Stock Yard Kilties); and at least a dozen more during the 1920s and 1930s. All thirty-odd bands were in centers of Scottish immigration; none was south of Washington, and only the Seattle Pipe Band in the Far West. Like the earlier pipers, almost all band members were immigrants who had learned what they knew of piping or drumming in Scotland. Since such skill was always in short supply, the Yonkers Kilty Band posted a watch at the New York docks to intercept any new arrival “who carried anything that even looked like a pipe box.” Inland, however, as early as 1905 the Pittsburgh pipe-major resorted to tutoring “several young Scots” on the practice chanter. No band seems to have thought of women pipers. The quality of bagpiping in America, so distant from the source, improved slowly if at all. At a ball in New York in 1916 the playing by a trio of Angus Fraser, Murdo MacKenzie, and William Armstrong was called “superb” simply for seeming “to come from one set of pipes alone.” (Although Fraser was pipe-major of the Lovat band, by later standards he was “not a great piper.”) Pipers still interspersed their marches, strathspeys, and reels with popular tunes of the day, such as “Tipperary,” “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” and “Marching through Georgia,” which the New York Scottish Highlanders “got up especially” for a wartime concert.

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SFU to Perform at Sydney Opera House

Published: August 31, 2000

Following their successful 1998 Carnegie Hall concert and recording, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band is working out the details for an April 2001 concert at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

The band is also planning to hold concerts in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Melbourne Australia.

Three concerts are planned: April 7 in Christchurch, April 11 at the Sydney Opera House, and April 13 in Melbourne. The band will also compete at the Australian Championships on April 14 and 15.

According to Pipe Sergeant and band general manager Jack Lee, “We enjoyed playing and recording at Carnegie Hall very much
in 1998. After that trip our focus was on trying to regain the World Championship, which we did in 1999. Now the members feel that we would like to do at least one more concert and record a CD at a major venue. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous and spectacular venues in the world. This trip is a huge financial and organizational undertaking, but one that will be a thrill of a lifetime for us.”

The band is also in discussion with various recording companies, including Lismor Digital and Monarch, to record the Sydney concert for a summer release.

In 1998 SFU was the first pipe band ever to play in the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York city, and the ensuing recording was heralded by the Piper & Drummer, among others, as one of the finest ever made by pipe band. The Sydney Opera House concert will also be a first for a pipe band.

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Boghall & Bathgate Wins Cowal Championship

Published:

Dunoon, Scotland – August 25, 2000 – The Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band enjoyed a surprise upset victory at the Cowal Championships in the band’s first win of a major since the 1990s. ScottishPower of Glasgow, Scotland, came a close second, while 2000 World Champions Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia had to settle for fourth prize in the March, Strathspey & Reel contest.

Grade 2 went to the Lothian & Borders Police, which won its first major of the year and sewed up the Champion of Champions title. The band dominated with first placings from all four judges.

Grade 1
1st Boghall & Bathgate (6 points)
2nd ScottishPower (10)
3rd Field Marshal Montgomery (12)
4th Shotts & Dykehead (16)
5th McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl (21)
6th Royal Ulster Constabulary (22)
Drumming: RUC

Grade 2
1st Lothian & Borders Police (4)
2nd Grampian Police (17)
3rd Bucksburn & District (18)
4th Bleary & District (24)
5th Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (28)
6th Tayside Police (33)
Drumming: Lothian & Borders Police

Grade 3A
1st Culter & District (6)
2nd 1st Btn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (11)
3rd Banbridge (18)
4th Dornoch (19)
5th Leapoughs (22)
6th MacLean (25)
Drumming: Leapoughs

Grade 3B
1st Johstone (10)
2nd Howard Memorial (11)
3rd Perth & District (13)
4th Kirkaldy (16)
5th Inverness (17)
6th Kinross & District (19)
Drumming: Kinross

Juvenile
1st Lochgelly High School (9)
2nd Paisley (11) ensemble pref.
3rd Bucksburn & District (11)
4th McNaughton’s vale of Atholl (16)
5th Burntisland (20)
6th Boghall & Bathgate (21)
Drumming: Boghall

Grade 4A
1st Syerla (6)
2nd Castlerock (12)
3rd Annsborough (18)
4th Wolverhampton (22)
5th Bellaghy (23)
6th Bo’ness RBL (7)
Drumming: Syerla

Grade 4B
1st Penicuik & District (5)
2nd Lomond & Clyde (11)
3rd Kinglassie & District (14)
4th Kilsyth Thistle (24) ensemble pref.
5th St. Lawrence Howth (24)
6th Muirkirk & District (28)
Drumming: Penicuik

Novice Juvenile
1st Dumbarton & District (7)
2nd Lochgelly High School (13)
3rd George Watson’s College (17)
4th Boghall & Bathgate (24)
5th Oldmeldrum RBL (27)
6th Glasgow Schools (29)
Drumming: Geoirge Watson’s

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Walker Sweeps the Boards at Cowal Gathering

Published:

Dunoon, Scotland – August 25, 2000 – Gordon Walker of Glasgow, Scotland, won all three A Grade solo piping events here today at the Cowal Highland Gathering in weather that started overcast and cold, but quickly turned into a rare sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-80s.

By taking all three events, Walker won the Brymay Trophy, one of oldest trophies in existence in the piping world.

Stuart Liddell of Inverary, Scotland, also enjoyed a fine day, winning two second and one sixth prize.

In the B Grade piping, Jori Chisholm of Seattle, Washington, USA, enjoyed a fine day, winning a first and two second prizes.

Grade A Piobaireachd
1st Gordon Walker, “The MacKay’s Banner”
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland
4th Andrew Berthoff, Toronto, Canada
5th Andrew Hayes, Ottawa, Canada
6th Willie Morrison, Glasgow, Scotland
Judges: M. MacRae, R. Lawrie, A.J. MacLellan

Grade A March
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Willie Morrison
3rd Robert Watt, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
4th John Angus Smith, England
5th Chris Armstrong, Bathgate, Scotland
6th Stuart Liddell
Judges: W. Cowan, J. Pryde

Grade A Strathspey & Reel
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Willie Morrison
4th Robert Watt
5th John Angus Smith
6th Chris Armstrong
Judges: B. Donaldson, J. Allan

Grade B Piobaireachd
1st James Robertson
2nd Jori Chisholm
3rd Chris Armstrong
4th James Smith
Judges: A. Wright, I. MacFadyen

Grade B March
1st James Smith
2nd Jori Chisholm
3rd Ross Cowan
4th John MacPhee

Grade B Strathspey & Reel
1st Jori Chisholm
2nd D. Johnstone
3rd D. Russell
4th A. Walker

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MacColl Wins Senior at Argyllshire Gathering

Published:

Oban, Scotland – August 23-24, 2000 – Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland, took the biggest prize here today at the Argyllshire Gathering by winning the Senior Open Piobaireachd event with a rendition of “Donald Duaghal MacKay,” while Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, took the Former Winners March, Strathspey & Reel and Michael Rogers of Maryland won the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal for piobaireachd.

The light music events on day two of the gathering were dominated by players from the United Kingdom, with only one prize being give to a North American, despite the fact that some 40-percent of all players were from abroad.

Donald MacPhee of Alexandria, Scotland, addedd the Grade A Strathspey & Reel to his list of successes, and Chris Armstrong took the A Grade March.

Gordon Walker of Glasgow won the Open Jig, making it his seventh consecutive victory in the jigs at the Argyllshire Gathering.

Senior Piobaireachd
1st Angus MacColl, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
2nd Willie McCallum, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
3rd Greg Wilson, Falkirk, Scotland, “War or Peace”
4th Niall Matheson, Inverness, “The Red Hand in the MacDonald’s Arms”

Gold Medal
1st Michael Rogers, Maryland, USA, “Sobieski’s Salute”
2nd Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, Scotland
3rd Herve Lafloc’h, Brest, France
4th Stuart Sheddon, Glasgow, Scotland
5th Greg Wilson

Silver Medal
1st Graame Roy, Blanefield, Scotland
2nd Robert Watt, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
3rd Neil Walker, Dunblane, Scotland
4th George Taylor, Glasgow, Scotland
5th Innes Smithh, Bridge of Allan, Scotland

Former Winners MSR
1st Willie McCallum
2nd Angus MacColl
3rd Gordon Walker, Glasgow, Scotland
4th Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland

Grade A March
1st Chris Armstrong, Bathgate, Scotland
2nd Naill Matheson, Inverness, Scotland
3rd Allan Bevan, Vancouver, British Columbia
4th Robert Watt
5th Greg Wilson

Grade A Strathspey & Reel
1st Donald MacPhee
2nd Andrew Mathieson,
3th Douglas Murray, Fife
4th John Patrick
5th John Angus Smith, England

Grade B March
1st Brendon Eade
2nd Herve Lefloc’h
3rd George Taylor
4th Innes Smith
5th Neil Walker

Grade B Strathspey & Reel
1st Gavin Walker, Glasgow, Scotland
2nd Les Hutt, Inverness, Scotland
3rd Ross Cowan
4th Innes Smith
5th Pipe Major Michael Gray, The Highlanders

Open Jig
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Stuart Liddell, Inverary, Scotland
3rd Robert Watt

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What Really Happened: LA Scots Pipe Major Clarifies Situation

Published:

Scott MacDonald, Pipe Major of the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, has brought factual clarity to an incident with the band at the qualifying round of the World Pipe Band Championship at Glasgow Green on August 12.

It had been incorrectly rumoured on the day and on the Internet that LA Scots were disqualified for a rules infraction at the starting line at the contest.

According to MacDonald: “As the band reached the line, one of our front rank pipers noticed that the piper next to him had a drone top dangling down. At this point we were at ease and waiting for the judges. The piper re-attached his tenor drone and checked his drones. He then proceeded to put his pipes back down with the rest of us. This whole incident took about 10 seconds, but I along with the rest of the band did not know what the rule is and didn’t think there was a problem because we had not even put our pipes up to start yet. Then the judges arrived, we put our pipes up and off we went.”

When did the band become aware that an impropriety may have occurred?

MacDonald continues: “I was told that there were protests lodged from a few bands. Again, not knowing the rule I went to the officials and talked to them about what happened. Obviously there was confusion and at the end we were not disqualified, but it sure didn’t help.”

Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association rules state that bands must follow military-style decorum at the starting line or risk being disqualified. This comprises certain commands from the Pipe Major, and the band following a physical drill of putting pipes and drums in the “pipes down,” “at ease,” “ready,” “get ready” format.

The rule has been criticized by many as being a holdover from another era and out of touch with today’s focus on musicality.

“It was an unfortunate mistake on our part and we will get over it. The spirits of the band are good and the future is bright. We are a young band and we will have many successes in the future and this whole incident will be behind us,” MacDonald concluded.

Said one Scottish pipe band insider: “Rules are rules and they are there in black and white for all to read.”

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Comprehensive Results From World Pipe Band Championships

Published:

We have obtained from the RSPBA the final official results from the 2000 World Pipe Band Championships of August 12 at Glasgow Green, Glasgow, Scotland.

Please note that the results pages linked below are optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer, which is available at no charge from Microsoft.

Grade 1
Final Round
Qualifying Round

Grade 2
Final Round
Section 1 Qualifying Round
Section 2 Qualifying Round

Grade 3A
Summary

Grade 3B
Summary

Juvenile
Summary

Grade 4A
Summary

Grade 4B
Final Round
Section 1 Qualifying Round
Section 2 Qualifying Round

Novice Juvenile
Summary

Los Angeles Scots Not Disqualified

Published:

Contrary to rumours circulating from Glasgow Green and on the Internet, the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band was not in fact disqualified from the qualifying round at the World Pipe Band Championships.

According to one of the RSPBA’s compilers on the day, the band was marked by the judges, received crit sheets, and was included in the contest summary. Ultimately, LA Scots finished 9th out of the 14 bands that competed in the qualifier.

It had been rumoured that the LA Scots had been disqualified for tuning at the starting line after a piper’s tenor drone top had come loose. While a piper apparently did tune at the line, the band was not put out of the contest for the action.

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Mad COW Release

Published:

Scottish Rant, The World Champion City of Washington Pipe Band
Maggie’s Music Inc.
Playing time: 45 minutes

Reviewer's rating: 3 gracenotes out of a possible 5

Reviewed by John Walsh

1999 was a year to remember for the City of Washington Pipe Band as they finally made their mark at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow by winning the Grade 2 event, even though this important bit of information is not mentioned on the cover of their new recording, Scottish Rant.

Scottish Rant, which, I must say, is quite an interesting name, comprises a varied mixture of traditional and modern tunes, many of which are accompanied by other musical instruments.

The first track opens with a fast and lively group of Asturian reels and jigs originating from Spain. Following a brief drum intro and a slight difference in tempo between the drummers and pipers the band generally settles and is soon joined by the fiddle, cittern and bodhran, with a mixture of band, solo, and combination performances throughout the track. It’s quite an entertaining set and one of the best on the recording.

“The Congress Reel” and “The Swallow-Tailed Coat,” two old Irish dance tunes, are somewhat bland, though they are followed by “Captain Chops,” which is an intriguing short drum break done on Colonial rope tension snare drums. There is once again a conflict in tempos when the band joins in to play “The Phoenix.” The rope tension and snares are played together in this tune along with heavy harmony by the pipers.

“Amazing Grace” incorporates both traditional and gospel styles of music starting with Bonnie Rideout on the fiddle. Mike Rogers delivers a very good solo performance on a lovely sounding bagpipe. What else can be said for “Amazing Grace”?

The medley on Scottish Rant is a well-executed, solid performance. I especially enjoyed the slow air but found the strathspeys and reels somewhat monotonous and lacking in sufficient key changes. However, the harmony at the end ensured a well-intended big finish.

Pipe Major Mike Green displays his talent on a good sounding bagpipe and is joined by a cittern and dombek, both of which were very nicely tuned. He played a great selection of tunes reminiscent of what was popular in the 1980s.

The three 9/8 marches are a collection of traditional old fashioned-sounding tunes, which finish with “The Iceman,” a tune by Mike Green composed for band piper Chris Hamilton. There is a neat story about “The Iceman” that appears to run through the whole band performance. Apparently, Chris’s taste in piping and rock music has been frozen in time somewhere back in 1976. Still a nice group of tunes, but this a track where the pipers struggle with the chanter sound.

“Dunblane” is an amazing tune written by Charlie Glendinning, and it’s inspired by the mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996. A beautiful and haunting rendition of the tune starting off with Bonnie Rideout on the fiddle joined by the viola, and Paula Glendinning on the Highland pipes. This track is a very good reason why one should purchase Rant.

I was not too impressed with “The Recruits.” The march itself is okay, but I am not certain the pipes and fiddle blend well together. The jigs that follow are ordinary tunes jazzed up a wee bit with the bodhran, cittern, and guitar.

Track 10 is a March, Strathspey & Reel: “Highland Wedding,” “Bogan Lochan” and “The Smith of Chilliechassie,” all of which helped the band finally win the Grade 2 prize at the 1999 World’s. Very nicely played throughout.

The last four tracks are made up of mostly traditional tunes, some of which are solo performances, such as Chris Hamilton playing the slow air “The Mist Covered Mountains.” Next Bonnie Rideout takes over on a set of old reels and is accompanied by smallpipes and a variety of other instruments. The band finishes off with a “Marching Reels” set and “Scotland the Brave.”

Generally speaking, Scottish Rant is well presented. The sleeve notes are very informative and, on the whole, all tracks are played on well set-up instruments. The Asturian tunes at the beginning, the competition medley and MSR, the traditional filler tunes and, most importantly, “Dunblane” (which was the highlight for me), combined with the other musical instruments, makes Scottish Rant well worth a listen.

A native of Bradford, England, John Walsh lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he manufacturers the very popular Walsh Shuttle Pipes. He has played with several top bands, including Shotts & Dykehead, British Caledonian Airways, and the 78th Fraser Highlanders, with which he was Pipe Sergeant in the 1980s. Most recently he was Pipe Major of the Halifax Police Pipe Band of Nova Scotia.

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Fergus Goes On Despite Low Grade 1 Turn Out

Published:

Fergus, Ontario – August 12, 2000 – The renowned Fergus Highland Games made its annual appearance in southwestern Ontario today in stunning, sunny weather.

Three of the usual four Ontario Grade 1 bands were not in attendance due to the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, but Cletic Flair of Hamilton, Ontario, put in a performance for the huge crowd.

In the Professional Solo Piping events, Michael Grey and Andrew Berthoff, both of Toronto, Ontario, split the first prizes, with Berthoff taking the aggregate award for the day.

Professional Solo Piping

Piobaireachd: 1st Andrew Berthoff, “The MacRae’s March,” 2nd John MacKenzie, Newmarket, Ont, 3rd Robert Crabtree, Toronto, 4th Michael Grey. Judge: W. Connell

March: 1st Andrew Berthoff, 2nd Michael Grey, 3rd Robert Crabtree, 4th Martyn Brown. Judge: W. Connell

Strathspey & Reel: 1st Michael Grey, 2nd Robert Crabtree, 3rd Andrew Berthoff, 4th John MacKenzie. Judge: T. Anderson

Jig: 1st Michael Grey, 2nd John MacKenzie, 3rd Andrew Berthoff, 4th Martyn Brown. Judge: B. Gandy

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Shotts & Dykehead: 2000 World Champions

Published:

Glasgow, Scotland – August 12, 2000 – Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia took the 2000 World Pipe Band Championships here today in a close victory over Field Marshal Montgomery of Northern Ireland.

Shotts won the March, Strathspey, & Reel section of the contest, while Field Marshal took the tightly contested medley event and also had a strong showing in the drumming.

In the highly anticipated Grade 2 event, the Prince Charles Pipe Band of San Francisco, California, came out on top, with Lothian & Borders Police of Edinburgh, Scotland, finishing second.

1999 World Champions, Simon Fraser University, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, came up third in their bid to repeat, and Glasgow-based ScottishPower finished fourth.

The 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, returned to the prize list after a one-year absence.

Grade 1
2000 World Champions: Shotts & Dykehead
2nd Field Marshal Montgomery
3rd Simon Fraser University
4th ScottishPower
5th 78th Fraser Highlanders
6th Boghall & Bathgate
Drumming: Royal Ulster Constabulary, 2nd Field Marshal. Bass Section: 78th Fraser Highlanders

Shotts & Dykehead finished first in the MSR, while Field Marshal won the medley. Drum corps finishes were split between Field Marshal Montgomery, which won the MSR, and Royal Ulster Constabulary, which won the medley.

“The result could have gone several different ways,” said an observer. “The standard was high, but most of the pipe band world who is in the know, pretty much knew that Shotts had a great chance of winning today.”

Judges for the Grade 1 events were: Medley: I. MacLellan, R. Shepherd (piping), C.Mordaunt (drumming), G. Lumsden (ensemble). MSR: D. Clark, H. Stevenson (piping), K. Reynolds (drumming), D. Brown (ensemble).

Also qualifying for the 13 band Grade 1 final were: Alberta Caledonia (Canada), David Urquhart Travel, Dysart & Dundonald, McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl, Royal Ulster Constabulary (Northern Ireland), Strathclyde Police, Toronto Police (Canada).

From a swirl of false reports from Glasgow Green and on the Internet, the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band was said to have been disqualified. The nad actually was not disqualified and finished 9th in the qualifying section. See story.

Grade 2
1st Prince Charles (USA)
2nd Lothian & Borders Police
3rd Niagara Regional Police(Canada)
4th Grampian Police
5th Queensland Highlanders (Australia)
6th Ravara (Northern Ireland)
Drumming: Lothian & Borders Police

Also qualifying for the 12 band Grade 2 final: Upper Crossgare (Northern Ireland), Bleary (Northern Ireland), Richmond Avenue (South Africa), Bagad Cap Caval (France), Northern Ireland Prison Service, Boghall & Bathgate.

Forty-four bands competed in Grade 2.

Grade 3A
1st Cumberclaudy
2nd RP Blandford & Son
3rd 1st Btn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
4th Tullylaga (Northern Ireland)
5th Mountjoy (Eire)
6th Banbridge
Drumming: Cumberclaudy, Bass section: Cumberclaudy

Grade 3B
1st Howard Memorial
2nd Holbaeck (Denmark)
3rd Perth & District
4th Pontyfract & District (England)
5th Bready (Northern Ireland)
6th Big Rock (Canada)

Juvenile
1st Paisley
2nd Lochgelly High School
3rd McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl
4th Bucksburn & District
5th Lord Selkirk Boy Scouts (Canada)
6th Burntisland & District
Drumming: Paisley

Grade 4A
1st Syerla (Northern Ireland)
2nd Cullenfad (Northern Ireland)
3rd Malahide & District (Eire)
4th Ballybriest (Northern Ireland)
5th Quinn Memorial (Northern Ireland)
6th Kilmarnock
Drumming: Syerla

Twenty-three bands competed in Grade 4A.

Grade 4B
1st Gilnahirk (Northern Ireland)
2nd Northern Caledonia
3rd Big Rock (Canada)
4th Penicuik & District
5th Lomond & Clyde
6th Finvoy
Drumming: Penicuik & District

Novice Juvenile
1st Dumbarton & District
2nd George Watson’s College
3rd Monkston Mossely (Northern Ireland)
4th Boghall & Bathgate
5th Lochgelly High School
6th Bowhill & District
Drumming: Dumbarton

Twenty-three bands competed in Novice Juvenile.

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Greg Wilson Awarded Silver Chanter

Published:

Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland – August 9, 2000 – Greg Wilson, a native of New Zealand and now resident in Falkirk, Scotland, was awarded the renowned Silver Chanter at the annual event held at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye.

Wilson receieved the prize with a rendition of “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay,” one of the tunes set for the senior competitions this year.

The Silver Chanter is considered one of the highest awards for piobaireachd playing in the piping world. The trophy cannot be won and, instead, the event’s organizers prefer to consider it as being earned. The previous day, Wilson won the Col. Jock MacDonald Clasp to the Dunvegan Medal at the Skye Gathering at Portree.

Also accepting the invitation to the Silver Chanter were Roddy MacLeod (recepient of the award in 1999), Glasgow; Willie McCallum, Bearsden; Angus MacColl, Oban; and Euan MacCrimmon, Skye.

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McCallum Keeps On Rolling With Dunvegan Medal Win

Published:

Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland – August 9, 2000 – Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, continued his tremendously successful 2000 piobaireachd competition campaign by winning the Dunvegan Medal here today at the annual Skye Gathering.

He won the event in high style with one of the longest and most challenging tunes in the piobaireachd repertory, “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon.” Competitors in the event must submit six tunes from a list of piobaireachds accredited to MacCrimmon composers.

McCallum’s win builds on his success so far this year in major piobaireachd contests, which include the Donald MacLeod Memorial, the Scottish Pipers’ Association, and the Highland & Islands Invitational.

Dunvegan Medal
1st Willie McCallum, “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon”
2nd Duncan MacGillivray
3rd John Angus Smith
4th James Stewart
5th John Don Mackenzie

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78th Frasers Win North American Championship

Published:

Maxville, Ontario – August 5, 2000 – The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band of Toronto, Ontario, took home another North American Pipe Band Championship title from the Glengarry Highland Games here today in stunningly sunny, cloudless, breezy conditions. The 78th Frasers won both the Medley and March, Strathspey & Reel events against a field of four other Grade 1 bands.

City of Washington, of Washington, DC, made an impressive statement by finishing a convincing second in the band’s first real foray into Grade 1 since winning the Grade 2 event at the 1999 World Pipe Band Championships. Peel Regional Police, winners of a PPBSO championship at Fort Erie, Ontario, in June, and Toronto Police, winners of the Barrie Championship in July, finished third and fourth, respectively, while Celtic Flair of Hamilton, Ontario, came in fifth.

In the Grade 2 contest, 11 bands competed, and Niagara Regional Police, which has dominated the grade all season, again dominated here. Robert-Malcolm Memorial Senior, the Grade 2 band of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band program, finished second. Results from judges were scattered widely over the two Grade 2 events.

In Grade 3, Dartmouth & District of Nova Scotia took top honours, and MacDonald Caledonia Juvenile of Milton, Ontario, extended its 2000 undefeated streak in Grade 4.

In the solo piping, John Cairns of London, Ontario, garnered the overall “North American Champion” title, sealing the deal by winning the coveted Professional Piobaireachd event and taking prizes in the other three contests.

Grade 1
1st 78th Fraser Highlanders, 2nd City of Washington, 3rd Peel Regional Police, 4th Toronto Police , 5th Celtic Flair

Grade 2
1st Niagara regional Police, 2nd Robert-Malcolm Memorial Senior (Vancouver, BC), 3rd Midlothian Scottish (Chicago, IL), 4th North Coast (Cleveland, OH), 5th Fredericton Society of St. Andrew (Fredericton, NB), 6th Worcester Kiltie (Worcester, MA)

Grade 3
1st Dartmouth & District (Dartmouth, NS), 2 Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police (Hamilton, ON), 3rd Delmar & District (Delaware), 4th Toronto Police, 5th Durham Regional Police (Ontario), 6th College of Piping (PEI)

Grade 4
1st MacDonald Caledonia Juvenile (Milton, ON), 2nd Glengarry (Maxville, ON), 3rd Dofasco (Hamilton, ON), 4th Cincinnati Caledonian, 5th 8th Wing Command, 6th Edmonton Boys (Edmonton, AB)

Professional Solo Piping

Piobaireachd: 1st John Cairns, “MacDougall’s Gathering,” 2nd Bill Livingstone, 3rd Andrew Berthoff, 4th Bruce Gandy, 5th Ian K. MacDonald. Judge: R. Lawrie

March: 1st Bruce Gandy, 2nd John Cairns, 3rd Andrew Hayes, 4th Andrew Berthoff, 5th Bill Livingstone. Judge: R. Mackay

Strathspey & Reel: 1st Andrew Hayes, 2nd Bruce Gandy, 3rd John Cairns, 4th Colin Clansey, 5th Andrew Berthoff. Judge: J. MacKenzie

Jig: 1st Colin Clansey, 2nd Andrew Hayes, 3rd Ian K. MacDonald, 4th John Cairns, 5th Michael Grey. Judge: J. McGillivray

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Livingstone Takes Another Clasp

Published:

Maxville, Ontario – August 4, 2000 – The annual Piobaireachd Society (Canada) competitions were held here today on a bright and sunny day as part of the Glengarry Highland Games.

Andrew Berthoff of Toronto, Ontario, playing Angus MacKay’s setting of “Lord Lovat’s Lament,” was awarded the Piobaireachd Society’s Gold Medal, and Bill Livingstone of Whitby, Ontario, received the Clasp to the medal with a performance of the Donald MacDonald rendition of “Lament for John Garve MacLeod of Raasay.”

In the light music events, Robert Crabtree of Toronto won the March, Strathspey & Reel, and Andrew Hayes of Ottawa, Ontario, took the Former Winners MSR.

Ronald Lawrie of Oban, Scotland, judged all the events but the MSR, which was adjudicated by John Cairns of London, Ontario.

For gaining the Clasp, Livingstone is elligible to be invited to the annual Glenfiddich Piping Championship at Blair Atholl, Scotland, in October, although in recent years this invitation has not been extended.

Pioabireachd Society Gold Medal

1st Andrew Berthoff, “Lord Lovat’s Lament,” 2nd Martyn Brown, 3rd Andrew Hayes, Ottawa, Ont, 4th Robert Crabtree, Toronto, Ont, 5th Peter Aumonier, Oakville, Ont.

Clasp for Previous Winners of the Gold Medal
1st Bill Livingstone, “Lament for John Garve MacLeod of Raasay,” 2nd John Cairns, London, Ont, 3rd Matthew Turnbull, Michigan

March Strathspey & Reel
1st Robert Crabtree, 2nd Andrew Berthoff, 3rd Hector MacDonald, Scarborough, Ont, 4th John MacPhee, Summerside, PEI, 5th Peter Aumonier

Former Winners MSR
1st Andrew Hayes, 2nd Matthew Turnbull, 3rd John Cairns

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
May 25, 1833General CS Thomason born, Azamgarh, India.
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