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Draw for World Pipe Band Championships Made

Published: July 31, 2000

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has finalized the order of play for the World Pipe Band Championships on August 12, 2000, in Glasgow, Scotland.

A total of 21 Grade 1 bands will compete for the title, with seven having pre-qualified either through merit of last year’s World Championship or through the new League Table system implemented on a trial basis for the first time this year.

The seven pre-qualified bands are:

Boghall & Bathgate (3rd at British, 5th at European)
Field Marshal Montgomery (4th at British, 1st at European)
McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl (7th at European, 7th at British)
ScottishPower (6th at British, 2nd at European)
Simon Fraser University (1999 World Champion)
Shotts & Dykehead (1st at British, 3rd at European)
Strathclyde Police (2nd at British, 4th at European)

Bands competing in the March, Strathspey & Reel qualifying round, in their order of play:

1. McNeilstown (N. Ireland), 2. Hydro Electric Buchan, 3. 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada), 4. St Laurence O’Toole (Ireland), 5. Los Angeles Scots (United States), 6. Glasgow Skye, 7. Toronto Police (Canada), 8. David Urquhart Travel, 9. Halifax Police (Canada), 10. Royal Ulster Constabulary (N. Ireland), 11. Dysart & Dundonald, 12. Peel Regional Police (Canada), 13. Alberta Caledonia (Canada), 14. City of Wellington (New Zealand).

Five bands from the qualifying round will go through to the final round, where the 12 bands will compete in medley and MSR sections.

In past years, bands vied for six open spots in the final after the top six bands from the previous year’s World’s pre-qualified.

A record number of 231 bands are entered to compete at the 2000 World Pipe Band Championships.

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Cambridge Goes to Peel Police

Published:

Cambridge, Ontario – July 15, 2000 - The Peel Regional Police Pipe Band was victorious in Grade 1 in Ontario once again by taking the Cambridge Highland Games here today in a four band contest.



Peel bested the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band in a hot and humid March, Strathspey & Reel event that saw results from the four band judges scattered across the field. Third prize went to the Toronto Police Pipe Band, and fourth to Celtic Flair.



The Cambridge games were reduced this year, with only grade 1 and 2 bands particpating due to a cash crunch with the event.



In the professional solo piping, John Cairns took top aggregate honours, winning the piobaireachd and capturing prizes in two other events.



Professional Solo Piping



Piobaireachd: 1st John Cairns, “The Big Spree,” 2nd Andrew Berthoff, “Lord Lovat’s Lament,” 3rd Peter Aumonier, “The Blind Piper’s Obstinacy.” Judge: Bob Worrall.



March: 1st Rob Crabtree, 2nd John Cairns, 3rd Colin Clansey. Judge: Ken Eller.



1st Andrew Berthoff, 2nd Ian MacDonald, 3rd John Cairns. Judge: Bob Worrall.



Jig: 1st Colin Clansey, 2nd Jake Watson, 3rd Rob Crabtree. Judge: Willie Connell.



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Non-Musical Competition Rules Can Have Merit

Published:

By Mike Miller, Redlands, California

Editor’s note: We received the following thoughtful message from Mike Miller of Redlands, California, in response to our feature piece, “When Competition Rules Run Amok.” We thought it was well worth sharing.

I agree with your comments about non-musical rules not affecting musical placement of the band, and I certainly would not feel good about winning a contest because one of the pipers in the second place band was out of step. Some of the examples you list have some merit.

Performance presentation as well as musical ability can add or take away from the performance and therefore both should be judged. Also to consider is the games host. Their purpose is to entertain the thousands of people who come to their games for a professional appearing show. Therefore some control should be put on some of the non musical aspects. But reason should reign.

If the band in your example did not march off, how did they get out of the competition circle? Did they dismiss in the circle? Did they play off when the games ruled called for them to march off with pipes down? The point being, did their exit detract from the performance?

Not wearing a hat in the competition circle could detract from the professional appearance of the band and not affect the presentation as a whole, especially if the capless were the bass drummer, or the lone tenor drummer, who are already different. What if three of the ten pipers did not have glengarries, or they had hats that had obviously been abused and not shown proper care? Should less wealthy bands be penalized because they don’t have the means to outfit the band properly?

How does a judge take this into consideration? Reason dictates that if the playing ability of one band is superior to the playing abilities of another the superior band should win the competition unless there is flagrant disregard for the games’ intentions. Then the band should be disqualified. If two bands are close in musical ability to the point of a toss-up, then the little non-musical things can and should play a part as the presentation of the two bands is affected.

Any competition band does not want to make a judge’s job easy by giving the judge a reason to mark them down. If a band cannot do a pipes up/down properly how can they play an MSR? If a band plays a totally awesome MSR, they probably can do a pipes up/down and may just need a reminder.

To lose a contest for procedural mistakes, such as playing out of the circle when you are supposed to march, medley time being 5 minutes and 10 seconds when it is supposed to be 3 to 5 minutes, shows complete disregard for the spirit of the rules, and anyone claiming a victory on that basis would be just as unhappy as the band that lost. However, a band showing total disregard for those rules probably should be dealt with, and the rules do supply a vehicle for that.

The pipes up and down thing at the line in Scotland may seem militaristic, but it does present a uniform appearance. This may be more important to the hosts and spectators than to our musical judges, but we must show respect for those people shelling out money, and it is not really that much of an inconvenience.

Should a band be marked down musically for forgetting to do pipes up and down thing? No. Can a band demonstrate confidence and professionalism by presenting itself in an appropriate manner? Yes.

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78th Carries Chatham

Published:

Chatham, Ontario – July 8, 2000 - The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band of Toronto, Ontario, took the Grade 1 prize at the third Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario Champion Supreme event of the year here today, winning against a field that did not include the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band.

Peel chose not to attend due to family commitments of many of its members.

Second prize in Grade 1 went to the Toronto Police, and third to Celtic Flair of Hamilton, Ontario.

The Grade 2 band event was small but well contested between Niagara Regional Police of St. Catherines, Ontario, and Midlothian Scottish of Chicago, Illinois. Niagara Police won the event.

The professional solo piping was dominated by Ian MacDonald of Aurora, Ontario, who took away three first prizes, including the piobaireachd event.

Professional Solo Piping
Piobaireachd: 1st Ian MacDonald, “The Vaunting,” 2nd Bill Livingstone, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim,” 3rd Peter Aumonier, “The Blind Piper’s Obstinacy,” 4th Andrew Berthoff, “The King’s Taxes,” 5th John Cairns, “The Big Spree.” Judge: G. Neigh

March: 1st Bill Livingstone, 2nd Andrew Berthoff, 3rd Jake Watson, 4th John Cairns. Judge: T. Anderson.

Strathspey & Reel: 1st Ian MacDonald, 2nd Bill Livingstone, 3rd John Cairns, 4th Andrew Berthoff. Judge: DRoss.

Jig: 1st Ian MacDonald, 2nd John Cairns, 3rd Alan Clark, 4th Jake Watson. Judge: K. Eller.

Full results are obtainable at the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario‘s Web site.

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44 Grade 2 Bands to Compete at World Championships

Published:

The 2000 World Pipe Band Championships, to be held on Saturday, August 12, in Glasgow, Scotland, will see a record number of Grade 2 bands take part in the event.

A total of 44 Grade 2 bands have entered, thus smashing the 35 band threshold set by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association to break the category into two qualifying heats.

Two groups of 22 bands will vie for a minimum of 12 places in the final, with the top six from each group going through. Additionally, bands that place first in drumming but don’t finish in the top six as a band will be allowed to compete for only the drumming prize, thus making a 14 band final a possibility.

In 1997 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia‘s Grade 2 band won the drumming in its heat, but did not place in the top six, and was put through to the final.

The Grade 2 category was also bolstered for 2000 with the relegation of four bands from Grade 1 after the 1999 season. Lothian & Borders Police, Grampian Police, Polkemmet, and Ravara were all sent down.

Bands competing in the Grade 2 event at the World’s will be required to play a medley in both the qualifier and the final, should they make it through.

One insider commented: “The Grade 2 event at the World’s will once again be the most interesting and hard-fought contest of the day.”

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Pipe Fitter

Published:

Editor’s note: At 58, Bill Livingstone is perhaps the oldest professional class piper still actively competing. By our calculation, he has probably competed in over 3,000 separate solo piping and band competition events — surely a record. Even as he approaches 60, he is one of the fittest competing pipers anywhere, of any age. Today, he shows no signs of slowing down. While he’s going strong physically at 4:00 p.m. at a major competition in searing heat, many pipers around him wilt. We asked him to let us in on his thoughts on the role of physical fitness in competitive piping. Although Bill Livingstone provides sound insights, the Piper & Drummer advises readers that they consult their doctor before embarking on a physical fitness regimen.

Picture this: you slap the alarm into silence somewhere around 6:00 a.m. of a July morning. Hurrying through your daily ablutions, you gulp some coffee, and then wrap yourself in several layers of pure wool. You hit the road, and the mercury is just topping 25 ° C. as you pull into the games park, it’s apparent that the Jig event, in which you are scheduled to play third, has already begun, frighteningly close to its preposterous startup time of 8:30. Following a totally hysterical three-minute tune-up, completed while executing a Chaplin-esque version of the Olympic walk, you perform . . . a humiliating display of amusical rubbish.

And the day has just started.

With luck, your three other solo events will have you placed in the order of play such that it may not be necessary to play your bagpipe for nearly four straight hours. But don’t count on it.

Noon by the clock. The park now resembles an Easy-Bake Oven, but it’s hi-ho and away we go to the massed bands, where, if you’re like nine out of ten solo pipers in my part of the world, you must perform with your beloved pipe band. Sensitively led by the Marquis de Drum Major, you slug up and down the hard park surface, your kilt weighed down with sweat, and smelling vaguely like a sheep.

It’s over. Released from your bondage. Not so fast, bub. We’ve got a band to get going here. After a brief sampling of the simple but nourishing fare sold by assorted comedians (“Hey, Marge, look! They’re eatin’ it!”), you arrive back at the band’s tuning area.

Now the hard part starts: two hours of nonstop blowing, tuning, fretting, refining, ever mounting pressure culminates in six and a half minutes of absurd effort, concentration, escalating heart rate and blood pressure, all now under a summer sun that would make Lawrence of Arabia cry out for a gin and tonic.

You would expect a mercifully quick end to your misery now—a brief presentation of prizes and home to catch the Blue Jays on television.

Hah! Another hour in or two in the wilting heat, so the organizers can milk the beer tent shenanigans for every dime.

What’s a body to do? You’re dehydrated, blistered, headachy, and smell horrid, but, what the hell, maybe just one or two. Then back out to repeat the massed bands hour. About 14 hours, start to finish.

Boy, you’d sure want to be fit to try that kind of day. Which is the point of this little essay.

Our game is a very hard business. In order to do it well, you had better have a whole lot of youth, or some physical strength and fitness. You can acquire the latter, although the former, once gone stays gone.

The fitness needed involves both muscular strength and endurance and cardio-vascular / pulmonary fitness. Before I tell you what little I know, read the following disclaimer: I ain’t no doctor, no physical therapist, no personal trainer—no expert nohow. What follows is what I’ve learned from years of exercising in various gyms with help from assorted instructors, and from mountain biking with guys too much better and/or younger than me.

This is a personal view, not a prescription. If you’re going to start a fitness program, do what you’re told after consulting a doctor, and get professional instruction.

Here are my personal preferences:

1. Exercise vigorously five to six days a week.

2. Combine weight training and cardio in every session. The cardio stuff can be done on Stairmaster climbing machines, various tricycle types of equipment, cross trainers (they mimic the cross-country skiing motion), treadmills, or just plain jogging.

3. Cardio sessions should be a minimum of 30 minutes at your training or target heart rate, and the weights go up to an hour, time permitting. (If time is short I never sacrifice my cardio, except on “leg days.”)

4. The upper body can be worked in rotating muscle groups, to provide rest days for each group between workouts. For example, work back and chest on Monday, arms on Tuesday, shoulders Wednesday, etc. The rest days seem as important as the actual work.

5. Work your legs every four to five days. These large muscles improve very quickly on a regimen that has you work them hard enough to keep them stiff for two to three days afterwards. If you’re doing leg squats, they’re great, but learn how to do them safely, and with a spotter.

The physical demands of piping are quite unlike those of most others. We need good general upper body strength, chest and back muscles, which can stand the repeated exertion of blowing a typically hard band chanter reed. You need arms (triceps especially) that won’t quiver with the unwelcome and unfamiliar stress of squeezing, and belly muscles that will contract on demand when blowing forcefully. It is not wise, however, for a piper to exercise forearms within a few days of a performance.

All of this stuff leads to some temporary stiffness, and the forearms, which control the fingers, should be left alone for awhile before the competition.

Why work legs? Recall our typical day in the life” at the start of this piece. We stood on the suckers for untold hours; they must be strong. So too with the back—especially the lower back. Keep that area strong and stretched

RSPBA Confirms Pre-Qualifying for World’s

Published:

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has confirmed the six bands that have pre-qualified for the World Pipe Band Championships through the new League Table system of points accrued at the first two championships. An additional pre-qualifying spot is claimed by Simon Fraser University, winner of the 1999 World’s.

Under the League Table system, in which spots in the final are secured in advance by points earned in the previous championships and so-called “overseas” bands in the list at the previous year’s World Championships, the remaining spots will be earned through the final to a maximum total number of twelve.

As has been communicated Piper & Drummer Online, a maximum of six pre-qualifying spots are reserved for bands whose home association is the RSPBA.

While both the David Urquhart Travel and Royal Ulster Constabulary Pipe Bands received a prize at the European and British championships, neither ultimately pre-qualifies due to McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl’s more consistent finishes, with two seventh places at each contest. Piper & Drummer Online had previously received incorrect information on the situation, stating that RUC had qualified.

The following bands have pre-qualified for the World’s final:

Boghall & Bathgate (3rd at British, 5th at European)
Field Marshal Montgomery (4th at British, 1st at European)
McNaughton’s Vale of Atholl (7th at European, 7th at British)
ScottishPower (6th at British, 2nd at European)
Simon Fraser University (1999 World Champion)
Shotts & Dykehead (1st at British, 3rd at European)
Strathclyde Police (2nd at British, 4th at European)

No “overseas” bands competed at the European or British championships, and SFU was the only “overseas” band to garner a prize at the 1999 World Championships.

In past years, bands vied for six open spots in the final after the top six bands from the previous year’s World’s pre-qualified.

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ScottishPower Cuts Field Marshal’s All-Ireland String

Published:

Kilkenny, Eire – July 1, 2000 – The Glasgow-based ScottishPower Pipe Band made the journey to the annual All-Ireland Championship here today and came away with the top prize, thus halting Field Marshal Montgomery‘s streak of eleven consecutive All-Ireland titles.

ScottishPower took the event by an aggregate score over the Medley and March, Strathspey & Reel events. The band won the MSR, while Field Marshal took the Medley after the band tied ScottishPower but got the decision on ensemble preference. Field Marshal won the drumming in both events.

While bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland regularly travel to Scotland and England to compete, it’s uncommon for Scottish or English bands to make the trip to Ireland. Even more infrequent is a top Grade 1 band making the journey.

Grade 1
1st ScottishPower (12 points), 2nd Field Marshal Montgomery (14), 3rd St. Laurence O’Toole Condalkin (25), 4th McNeillstown (29).

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Clansey Makes Clean Sweep at Embro

Published:

Embro, Ontario – July 1, 2000 - British Columbia native Colin Clansey celebrated Canada Day in high style by taking four out of four possible first prizes at the annual Embro Highland Games here today in perfect weather conditions.

Clansey’s sweeping the boards is a rare achievement in professional piping. The last time the trick was accomplished was in the early 1990s by Michael Grey. It was also turned in 1951 by John Wilson.

No Grade 1 or Grade 2 bands competed in the band competitions.

Professional Piping
Piobaireachd: 1st Colin Clansey, “Beloved Scotland,” 2nd Andrew Berthoff, “The King’s Taxes,” 3rd Robert Crabtree, “The Vaunting.” Judge: W. McCallum
March: 1st Colin Clansey, 2nd John Cairns, 3rd Martyn Brown. Judge: W. McCallum
Strathspey & Reel: 1st Colin Clansey, 2nd John Cairns, 3rd Andrew Berthoff. Judge: J. McGillivray
Jig: 1st Colin Clansey, 2nd John cairns, 3rd Robert Crabtree.

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RSPBA Strongly Recommends That Bands Confirm World’s Entry

Published: June 30, 2000

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has recommended that all bands that entered for the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, on August 12 should confirm that their entry has been received and recorded.

With the RSPBA without an Executive Officer, the organization wants to be sure that all bands planning to compete at the World’s contact the association’s headquarters in Glasgow at (0141) 221-5414.

The official draw for the championship is to take place on Wednesday, July 5, 2000, at 11.00 (Glasgow time) at the headquarters.

One RSPBA official stated in no uncertain terms to bands planning to compete at the World’s, “If you are not in, you are out, so get on the phone now!”

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78th Frasers Even the Score at Canadian Championships

Published:

Hamilton, Ontario – June 24, 2000 - The 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto, Ontario, won the Canadian Pipe Band Championships here today, clawing their first major back from Peel Regional Police, winners the previous week at Fort Erie. Toronto Police finished third.

Grade 2 was again dominated by Niagara Regional Police.

In the professional piping, results were widespread, and Ian MacDonald came away with the most aggregate points to earn the “Piper of the Day” award.

Grade 1 Bands (medley)
1st 78th Fraser Highlanders, 2nd Peel Regional Police, 3rd Toronto Police.

Grade 2 Bands (MSR)
1st Niagara Regional Police, 2nd 400 Squadron.

Professional Solo PipingPiobaireachd: 1st Bill Livingstone, “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee,” 2nd Andrew Berthoff, “The MacRae’s March,” 3rd Ian MacDonald, “The King’s Taxes,” 4th Pete Aumonier, “The Blind Piper’s Obstinacy,” 5th Robert Crabtree, “The Pride of Barra.” Judge: W. Connell

March: 1st John Cairns, 2nd Robert Crabtree, 3rd Andrew Berthoff, 4th Ian MacDonald, 5th Bill Livingstone. Judge: N. Slagle

Strathspey & Reel: 1st Robert Crabtree, 2nd Ian MacDonald, 3rd Andrew Berthoff, 4th John Cairns, 5th Bill Livingstone. Judge: W. Connell

Jig: 1st Ian MacDonald, 2nd Robert Crabtree, 3rd John Cairns, 4th Bill Livingstone, 5th Hector MacDonald. Judge: T. Anderson

Full results are obtainable at the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario‘s Web site.

Got news? Be sure to send your information to the Editor

Shotts Takes British

Published:

Ashbourne, England – June 24, 2000 - The 2000 British Pipe Band Championship was won by Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia here today in a tightly contested event, which also saw a solid showing from Strathclyde Police and Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia.

Field Marshal Montgomery of Belfast, Northern Ireland, which won the European Championship in May, and was favoured by many to take this event, had to settle for fourth.

In Grade 2, Bucksburn & District of Aberdeen won the top prize, while Lothian & Borders Police of Edinburgh came up second, improving on their third prize at the European.

Grade 1
1st Shotts & Dykehead, 2nd Strathclyde Police, 3rd Boghall & Bathgate, 4th Field Marshal Montgomery, 5th Royal Ulster Constabulary, 6th ScottishPower. Drumming: RUC.

Grade 2
1st Bucksburn & District, 2nd Lothian & Borders Police, 3rd Grampian Police, 4th Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary, 5th City of Glasgow, 6th Tayside Police. Drumming: Lothian & Borders Police.

Grade 3a
1st Culter & District, 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 3rd Muhl Pipes and Drums (Belgium), 4th Milngavie, 5th McLean of Annan Pipe Band, 6th Oban. Drumming: Culter & District.

Grade 3b
1st Kirkaldy and District, 2nd Johnstone, 3rd Luton, 4th Inverness, 5th Pride of Murray, 6th Perth & District.
Drumming: Kirkaldy & District.

Juvenile
1st Lochgelly High School, 2nd Paisley, 3rd Vale of Atholl, 4th Bucksburn & District, 5th Dunoon Grammar School, 6th Burntisland. Drumming: Lochgelly High School.

Grade 4A
1st Newtongrange, 2nd Troon Blackrock, 3rd Houghton Le Spring, 4th Banbury, 5th West Midlands Fire Service, 6th Wolverhampton.
Drumming: Newtongrange.

Grade 4B
1st Lomond & Clyde, 2nd Kinglassie & District, 3rd Essex Caledonian, 4th Penicuik & District, 5th East Kilbride. Drumming: Lomond & Clyde

Novice Juvenile
1st George Watson’s College, 2nd Seafield & District, 3rd Dumbarton & District, 4th Craigmount High School, 5th Lochgelly High School, 6th Stirling & District Schools. Drumming: George Watson’s College

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What do you think? We always want to hear from our readers, so please use our comment system to provide your thoughts!

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Choosing the Set Tunes

Published:

Editor’s note: Each year the Piobaireachd Society recommends three lists of tunes for the Silver Medal, Gold Medal and Senior competitions at the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Scotland; the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland; and the Piobaireachd Society (Canada) Gold Medal Competitions at Maxville, Ontario. From these lists, competitors generally have to choose a certain number of piobaireachds—usually four, six or eight—to be submitted in the competitions. We asked Piobaireachd Society president Andrew Wright to tell us the process of selecting the tunes each year, and he was more than pleased to accept our offer.

The learning of set tunes every year takes up much of the practice time of pipers whose aim is to win the premier prizes for piobaireachd. The question is often asked, who selects the tunes and what are the factors that influence the choice?

The Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society chooses the set tunes. The main objective of the Society is to encourage the study and playing of piobaireachd on the Highland bagpipe. Formed in 1903, the Society undertakes the task of selecting the set tunes on behalf of the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting. These gatherings of long standing and tradition have the added distinction of awarding gold medals presented by the Highland Society of London.

The characteristics of piobaireachd vary from tune to tune by degrees of length and difficulty. There are many great pieces — tunes with long groundwork and short technical variations and others with short groundwork and lengthy technical variations.

One of the general objectives in setting tunes has been to group tunes together of the same weight for the same competition and, so, lessen the difficulty in assessing the merits of one performance against another. This policy has been departed from on recent occasions, as in the case of the Silver Medal events where there is a wide diversity of skill levels over the competitors. In these instances, longer pieces have been included along with shorter pieces in order to allow those who are able to demonstrate their skill.

When “The Blue Ribbon” was set for this event a few years back, it was submitted by about thirty per cent of the competitors. However, with the three grades of competition (the Silver Medal, the Gold Medal, and the Senior events) the policy is to weight the tunes to each event. This would to seem to make good sense, but the larger numbers wanting to compete, along with the great improvement in standard, has resulted in skill levels being evened out at the top and bottom of each section. The distinction in tune weighting cannot now be all that clear cut.

It is a fact that the understanding and depth of interpretation of the music increase in direct proportion to the size of a player’s repertoire. The Music Committee is mindful of this, and, in line with the aims of the Society, care is taken in tune selection to take in as much of the available repertoire as practical. Although the view has always been that because a tune is published it is not necessarily seen as suitable for competition.

Records of what has been set in the past are kept and these are referred to when compiling the lists. Likewise the number of times a tune is submitted is noted and pieces that have been neglected and which the committee think are worth playing and being heard are often inserted into the list a few years later.

There is no fixed rotation system for the setting of tunes. Categories of tune by title (i.e. salutes, laments, and gatherings) are not taken into consideration when compiling the lists. There is no policy of including an equal spread of each type. Occasionally, a number of tunes have been set from the same Piobaireachd Society book, usually the later publications. This is not to boost sales of any book, but is due to the fact that the later books contain the highest number of least played or obscure tunes. Once a book has been published for a suitable time it might be used as the basis for selection, but mostly for the senior events.

Over and above the large increase in the number of people playing, listening to, and wanting to learn about piobaireachd, there has been a tremendous improvement in the standard of play overall. Today there are more people playing piobaireachd worldwide than ever before. This can at least be partly attributed to the set tune policy that spreads the repertoire, challenges and extends the ability of those who play, fascinates audiences and stimulates discussion. Furthermore, the set tune system encourages research into the music.

Andrew Wright is president of the Piobaireachd Society and one of the world’s greatest authorities on piobaireachd. In his competing career, he won almost all the top prizes, and today he is sought after as a piping judge and teacher. He lives in Dunblane, Scotland.

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100 Years of Fortitude

Published:

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming
Compiled by Drum Majors Wilson Young and Allan Chatto
108 pages, published independently by the authors

Reviewed by Greg Dinsdale

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming is a book that shows the development of pipe band drumming over the last one hundred years. It was put together by drummers Wilson Young and Allan Chatto, and provides readers with examples of pipe band drum scores over the last century. Each chapter in the book represents one decade of the century and includes profiles of the influential drummers of each period along with one of their scores.

The compilers have included drum settings of drummers who were leading drummers of Grade 1 bands, or regular prize winners in the World Solo Championships, and considered to have been influential in developing and enhancing the standard of drumming. The book also includes a history of the military drum, a list of World Champion Drum Corps and World Champion Pipe Bands, and a register of World Solo Drumming Champions.

For each drummer profiled in the book, there is a photograph with a short biography. A reproduction of the original score showing the penmanship of the drummer is also provided. This is very clever and provides a real personal touch to the work. These scores are also typeset to allow for easy reading.

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming provides dramatic evidence of how pipe band drumming has developed over the years. It also provides some wonderful background to help drummers understand how drumming has evolved. Many drummers understand the impact that Jim Kilpatrick and Alex Duthart have had on drumming, but they may be less aware of the impact of Paddy Donovan, Jimmy Catherwood and John Seton. By looking at and playing their scores we get a real appreciation for the contributions they have made.

The collection also gives us a chance to review and play material to which one would not normally be exposed. There are some wonderful scores to suit all tastes and I would encourage drummers to play through this book. In particular, there are several great scores from the 1950s and ’60s. I really enjoyed playing and contrasting the material written between the late 1950s and late 1960s from Duthart, Jim Hutton, John Kerr and Wilson Young, just to name a few. One can quickly see just how much impact these drummers and others have had on the current standard of play.

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming is an excellent resource and learning tool for all drummers and it is also quite good fun. It is a must have for any serious drummer.

Greg Dinsdale has been leading drummer with the Metro Toronto Police, St. Thomas Police and Dofasco pipe bands of Ontario. He was also a member of the British Caledonia Airways Pipe Band. Greg is currently on the judging panel of the PPBSO and lives in London, Ontario.

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Matheson Wins MacDonald Quaich at Skye

Published:

Isle of Skye – June 16, 2000 - Niall Matheson of Newtonmore, Scotland, won the 14th annual Donald MacDonald Quaich competition here today at the Clan Donald Centre, Isle of Skye.

Four world-class pipers were invited to play in the event, and each had to play piobaireachds taken from the Donald MacDonald manuscript of 1822.

Matheson played “Beinn a’ Ghrian.” He is a piping instructor for Highland area schools.

Other competitors were Colin MacLellan, Glasgow, Stuart Sheddon, Glasgow, and Greg Wilson, Falkirk.

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McCallum Wins Campbeltown Invitational

Published:

June 10, 2000 – Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland - Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, won the overall award at the Kintyre Piping Society’s invitational piping competition here today by taking the piobaireachd event and finishing third in the MSR. The success is the latest in McCallum’s string of substantial victories so far this year.

The competition was created to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Royal Burgh of Campbeltown, and only winners of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal were invited. Invitees were Brian Donaldson, Scots Guards; Angus MacColl, Oban; Roddy MacLeod, Cumbernauld; McCallum; Stuart Shedden, Glasgow; Gordon Walker, Glasgow; Robert Wallace, Glasgow; and Greg Wilson, Falkirk. The events were judged by John Burgess, John MacDougall, and Norman Gillies.

Piobaireachd
1st Willie McCallum (“Nameless – Cherede Darievea”); 2nd Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow; 3rd Brian Donaldson, Scots Guards; 4th Angus MacColl, Oban.

MSR
1st Brian Donaldson, 2nd Gordon Walker, Glasgow; 3rd Willie McCallum,; 4th Roddy MacLeod.

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Gordon Walker, 2nd Angus MacColl, 3rd Roddy MacLeod, 4th Brian Donaldson.

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Peel Police Win Georgetown Games

Published:

Georgetown, Ontario – June 10, 2000 - The Peel Regional Police Pipe Band started its 2000 season on a strong note by winning the first contest of the year here today. Toronto Police finished second and Celtic Flair of Hamilton, Ontario, came in third.

The 78th Fraser Highlanders did not attend the Georgetown games, citing organizational problems with the event. (See story.)

Peel Police had a strong showing, with two first placings in piping, first in ensemble and second in drumming. Toronto Police were first in the drumming category.

In the Professional Piping events, Michael Grey of Toronto started his outdoor season well, taking two firsts and a second prize.

Grade 1 Bands
1st Peel Regional Police, 2nd Toronto Police, 3rd Celtic Flair, Drumming: Toronto Police

Professional Piping
Piobaireachd: 1st Andrew Berthoff, Toronto, (“The King’s Taxes”), 2nd Robert Crabtree, Toronto, (“Lament for the Dead”), 3rd Martyn Brown (“The Vaunting”)
March: 1st Ian MacDonald, Toronto, 2nd Michael Grey, 3rd Rob Crabtree
S/R: 1st Michael Grey, 2nd Ian MacDonald, 3rd Andrew Berthoff
Jig: 1st Michael Grey, 2nd Rob Crabtree, 3rd Ian MacDonald

Full results are obtainable at the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario‘s Web site.

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78th Frasers Choose to Give Ontario Contests a Miss

Published:

The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band has disclosed to Piper & Drummer Online that it will not attend at least two Ontario competitions this year.

The winners of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario‘s 1999 Champion Supreme award and the current North American Pipe Band Champions will not attend either the Georgetown or Barrie highland games. Bill Livingstone, pipe major of the band, cited the primary reason for the 78th Frasers bowing out of the events as being a “completely unimaginative” band contest format.

“There’s so much more that these games could be doing to showcase the pipe band competition event,” Livingstone said. “With 12 contests on the Ontario circuit to pick from, we’ve decided to attend the ones that know how to put on a show. This is not about prize money; it’s all about taking a stand on how bands should be displayed. We’re really concerned about the future of the Highland games scene and our ability to perform at them.”

Livingstone said the 78th Frasers plan to attend the new Kincardine Highland Games, which he says promises to put on a great show for spectators and bands alike. He also acknowledged the Pleasanton Highland Games, held in California each September, as a benchmark for how a pipe band contest should be conducted.

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New RSPBA Executive Officer Resigns

Published:

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has confirmed that Colin Darroch, the Executive Officer of the organization since only March of this year, abruptly resigned the position on June 6.

Darroch officially took over the RSPBA’s most important position at the organization’s AGM, succeeding embattled leader Iain White.

While the RSPBA confirmed the news, it could not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding Darroch’s resignation. In the absence of an Executive Officer, the association will be run by the various leaders of the RSPBA’s National Council and Music Committee.

Darroch’s resignation comes at an inopportune time for the RSPBA, as it is in the midst of considering major changes to its structure. In January, the RSPBA’s ad hocMillennium Group submitted its much-anticipated report, which recommends a dramatic overhaul of the association.

In further news, the RSPBA confirmed that it is working on an official Web site for the organization, which it hopes to unveil in the next few months.

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When Competition Rules Run Amok

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We at the pipes|drums are often amazed at the number of rules for piping and drumming competitions that really have nothing to do with making music. Bands must stand at attention. Bands cannot “play off” the field. Competitors must wear a hat. Bands must march off when “the command” is given.

It’s enough to make you want to stay home and play music instead of putting art through a rules-bound competitive wringer.

Case in point: the Grade 4 Hamilton-Wentworth Police Pipe Band competes at the venerable Alma Highland Games in Michigan last week. The band neglects or forgets to march off at the “command” (we love that antiquated terms from the bygone military days), and is thus socked with a 30 point deduction from its overall score. Band plays, by most accounts, very well for the grade, and finishes 9th.

Now, there need to be rules for any trial, otherwise anarchy will ensue and there will be no pretext for what it takes to win. We accept the need for certain rules, even in almost impossible situations like piping and drumming where art is to be judged.

But many of the “rules” of pipe band competitions are holdovers from an era when making music was often secondary to military-style deportment.

When a Grade 4 band forgets to march off like little soldiers, what musical difference could it possibly make? When pipe band associations dogmatically adhere to non-musical rules, does it not communicate a very negative and archaic message that marching and discipline mean more than ensemble and expression? Yes, yes, it’s a rule, but what right-thinking rival band, judge, or association would relish seeing a contestant knocked down for something so insipid?

Even the Royal Scottish Pipe band Association routinely turns a blind eye to bands that inadvertently neglect to do their old-fashioned (but strangely charming) “pipes down / pipes ready / pipes up” choreography rule at the line. It could be pouring rain (and it usually is), but the steward or ensemble judge will generally whisper a bit of friendly advice in the pipe major’s ear about the rule if he sees the band’s forgotten.

We’re all for creating equitable musical rules that attempt to place bands on an equal playing field. But we’re also for eliminating or, depending on the situation, choosing to overlook nonsensical, non-musical rules that are simply holdovers from a long-gone era when military conduct actually had relevance on what we do.

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Gordon Walker Leaves College for Centre

Published: May 31, 2000

We have learned that world renowned piper Gordon Walker has left the College of Piping to become a senior instructor at the cross-town Piping Centre after only a few months with the College.

Despite the two Glasgow organizations resolutely claiming they want to work together, there has been clear rivalry between them since the mid-1990s, after the late Seumas MacNeill left the planning committee for the Centre.

When the College of Piping announced that it had secured Walker’s services in the early spring, there was no small amount of pride from the College at scooping one of piping’s leading soloists.

Walker concluded his military service early this year, after 15 years with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Further details on this news will be made available as they become known.

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New Campbeltown Contest Added to Growing List of Invitationals

Published:

The Kintyre Piping Society has announced that it will hold an invitational piping competition in Campbeltown, Argyllshire, Scotland, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Royal Burgh of Campbeltown.

The competition – reserved for winners of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal – will be held on June 10, 2000, at the Argyll Arms Hotel in Campbeltown. Springbank Distillery of Campbeltown is reportedly putting up the prize money.

The contest will comprise Piobaireachd; March, Strathspey & Reel; and Hornpipe & Jig events. Invited players are: Brian Donaldson, Scots Guards; Angus MacColl, Oban; Roddy MacLeod, Cumbernauld; Willie McCallum, Bearsden; Stuart Shedden, Glasgow; Gordon Walker, Glasgow; Robert Wallace, Glasgow; and Greg Wilson, Falkirk. The events will by judged by John Burgess, John MacDougall, and Norman Gillies.

The new event is the latest in the growing list of invitational piping competitions, which have increased in popularity since the launch of the Grant’s Championship was formed in the mid-1970s.

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Jim Brown Wins Duirinish Stone Composing Competition

Published:

Jim Brown of Callendar, Scotland, has been announced the winner of the Isle of Skye’s Duirinish Stone composing competition and the event’s £500 prize.

There were 34 entries for the event, with 14 coming from outside of Scotland. Tunes had to be a 2/4 march with a minimum of four parts.

Brown plays with the Grade 3B Gleneagles-Strathearn Pipe Band, but has in the past played with the famous Muiread & Sons Pipe Band and, latterly, was Pipe Sergeant with the Grade 1 Toyota Pipe Band.

The contest was judged by Allan Beaton, Skye; Malcolm MacRae, Inverness; and Dr. Tony Fisher.

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Boghall Wins on Home Ground

Published:

Bathgate, Scotland – May 27, 2000 – Local favourites Boghall & Bathgate took first prize at the annual Bathgate Highland Games here today. Only two Grade 1 bands took part in the top event, with several from Grade 2 playing up.

Weather was typical of Bathgate in May: unpredictable and changeable, but generally warm. Sort of.

Grade 1: 1st Boghall & Bathgate (92.75 points), 2nd Dysart & Dundonald (87.75), 3rd 1st Battalion Black Watch (86.5), 4th City of Glasgow (85.25). Drumming: Boghall.

Grade 2: 1st 1st Battalion Black Watch (87), 2nd Boghall & Bathgate (86.5), 3rd Denny & Dunnipace (84), 4th Newtongrange (78). Drumming: City of Glasgow.

Grade 3: 1st Lochgelly High School (67.5), 2nd MacLean of Annan (64.5), 3rd Paisley (64.25), 4th Bowhill & Seafield (61.5). Drumming: MacLean of Annan.

Grade 4: 1st Newtongrange (82), 2nd Bo’ness Royal British Legion (77.75), 3rd Tweedvale (76.75), 4th Kirkcudbright & District (75). Drumming: Newtongrange.

Novice Juvenile: 1st Seafield & District (65), 2nd George Watson’s College (61.75), 3rd Bowhill & Seafield (61), 4th Dumbarton & District (57.75). Drumming: Seafield & District.

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: The trend today is to sink a chanter reed as far as it can go in the reed seat, and then tape all the holes that are sharp, or drill the holes bigger if the note is flat. Raising a reed slightly or just getting the reed placed ideally in the seat can make a world of difference.
Brian Donaldson, Inveran Bagpipes, Edinburgh