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Published: November 30, 2000

The Book of the Bagpipe
By Hugh Cheape
The Appletree Press, Belfast, Northern Ireland
77 pages

Reviewed by Catharine Heddle

Editor’s note: Catharine Heddle is neither a piper nor a drummer, but has a keen interest in Scottish music, and thus we felt that she is an appropriate reviewer for The Book of the Bagpipe.

Your friends don’t know what a drone is? Your wife can’t distinguish between port-a-bial and canntaireachd? Your boss thinks a chanter is the person who recites passages from the Bible from atop a park bench in New York?

They need The Book of the Bagpipe.

Written by Hugh Cheape, curator of the Scottish Collection at the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and a devotee of the pipes, the book is an eclectic mix of history, tradition and mythology. It will fascinate and inspire just about anyone new to piping, and inform many veterans of the instrument as well.

The book’s nine chapters take the reader through the history of the pipes, from their origins as reeded pipes in the Near East over four millennia ago, to the current form and function of Scotland’s national instrument. Delightful illustrations, photographs and diagrams enliven the pages and demonstrate the richness of the piping tradition in many parts of the world.

The reader learns about the different parts of the Highland bagpipe, as well as how it differs from its Irish and Northumbrian counterparts in sound, construction and character. Laypersons will be surprised to learn the pipes were at one time the universal musical instrument of Europe and parts of Asia, long before they reached Scotland sometime after the 13th century.

The author describes the material evidence for the evolution of the instrument, perhaps in more detail than the true layperson would desire. The illustrations and photographs add interest and accessibility to this overlong discussion.

A serious historian, Cheape also explores the variety of musical traditions and repertoires enjoyed by pipers around the world, and describes the changing role of the pipes in high and low society, the church, government, witchcraft and even war.

Particularly interesting is the evolution of tunes and melodies through the years, influenced by the complex interplay of social, political and economic factors. In addition to written records, much of the evidence for piping’s role in society is gleaned from depictions of the pipes in art and architecture, as pipers adorn church buildings, castles and even medieval weapons.

Readers will remark on piping’s strangely dual role in both religious and secular activities; as folk tradition and the domain of aristocracy; in rural and urban settings; and as an accompaniment to weddings and an instrument of war.

Tremendously well-researched, The Book of the Bagpipe opens up the rich world of piping to the newcomer, portraying the vivid diversity of traditions, instruments and musical styles with solid historical evidence. It will be a treasured addition to libraries and coffee tables around the world.

Catharine Heddle is a public relations professional who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has a general interest in Highland piping.

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Gaelic Choral Tradition To Be Revived in Skye

Published:

Guthan Thròndarnais (“Voices of Trotternish”) is a new musical project launched by Highland piper Barnaby Brown, a Gaelic learner and pibroch scholar from Glasgow, Scotland, intended to bring back original Gaelic choral music.

According to Brown, The project is “a response to the notion that Gaelic choirs and An Comunn Gaidhealach are in a rut, promoting music that belongs more to Victorian drawing rooms than Gaelic culture.”

Rehearsals apparently have started, and Guthan Thròndarnais will be heard on March 17, 2001, at Arainn Chaluim Chille, Slèite.

Part of the program will be a bardic “contest” between Iain Lom and Domhnall Gruamach, a hymn by St Columba, a vocal rendition of Charles MacArthur’s piobaireachd, “Sir James MacDonald’s Lament,” and a poem by Maoileas Caimbeul, all residents of Trotternish. Pupils at the local school, Sgoil Stafainn, are composing lyrics for a new musical work, which will also be performed.

“Rather than taking finished Gaelic melodies and submerging them with urban harmony, I’ve been creating Gaelic vocal polyphony from scratch,” Brown commented. “This has been directly inspired by the outdoor vocal harmonies of Georgia, Bulgaria, Sardinia and the Solomon Islands. But, more importantly, the forms and ethos of the music belong to the local classical tradition.”

The performances will be followed by outdoor recording sessions in May, with choirs, solo singers recorded around cliffs, caves and the sea, with the intent of adding “the majesty of the Trotternish peninsula” to the work. There will be a different “soundscape” for each track.

This project is part of Scotland’s Year of the Artist Residency program, part of a UK-wide initiative placing 1000 artists-in-residence.

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Duncan Resigns Vale P/M Post For Good

Published:

Ian Duncan, who earlier in the month made it clear that he would take a leave of absence from leading the MacNaughton’s Vale of Atholl Pipe Band of Pitlochry, Scotland, has informed Piper & Drummer Online that he will resign from the band permanently, after a commitment to the band of 36 years, 26 as Pipe Major.

Duncan informed Vale band members of his resignation on November 23, and it is expected that an extraordinary general meeting will be called to select the new Pipe Major.

“I have had long break since end of season,” Duncan said. “I told the band members today that I’m not going back. I’m back to full health and want to stay that way. I’m also enjoying being with family and seeing my two six year-olds growing up. I’ve had a good innings.”

With “The Vale,” Duncan enjoyed numerous achievements. In 1977 the band finished last in Grade 4, but by 1988 they were Grade 1 European Champions. Under Ian Duncan’s watch, the band became known worldwide for its concert performances and its adventurous and assertive musical style.

Said one pipe band insider, “Love them or hate them, the Vale was probably the most distinctive and progressive band Scotland has yet produced. For over 15 years they have been Scotland’s answer to the 78th Fraser Highlanders.”

“I will miss the band and the fine people in it, and will continue to be their number one non-playing supporter,” Duncan added.

It is thought that long-time Vale piper Andy Renwick could well be appointed the band’s next Pipe Major.

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ANAPBA Logo Unveiled

Published:

The Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) has unveiled its new logo, determined through a design contest open to any piper, drummer, or drum-major with band/solo membership in any association within the alliance.

Stacey Yongue of North Carolina, USA, was the winner, receiving US$500 for her efforts. Yongue’s design will be used on official stationary, the ANAPBA Web site, and various banners.

The logo contest was created during ANAPBA’s first year to help promote the alliance. Artists were encouraged to design a logo “that symbolized the mission of ANAPBA.”

Ten associations comprise ANAPBA’s membership: the Alberta Society of Pipers and Drummers, the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association; the British Columbia Pipers Association, the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, the Midwest Pipe Band Association, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario; the Prairie Pipe Band Association of Manitoba, the Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association, the Southern United States Pipe Band Association, and the Western United States Pipe Band Association.

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Brown Wins Sherriff Amateur Invitational

Published:

Hamilton, Ontario – November 19, 2000 – The fifth annual George Sherriff Amateur Invitational Piping Competition was held in the steel city of Hamilton, Ontario, with a crowd of 16 players from across North America competing in what is considered the pinnacle for non-professional pipers.

Glenn Brown of Milton, Ontario, at the end of the day was the overall champion. John Wilson of Glasgow, Scotland, was the senior judge at the event, joined at the bench by Michael Grey and John Cairns of Ontario.

Competing were Alison Dunsire, Washington; Janny Wurts, Florida; Erin McCarthy, New York; Andrew Douglas, New York; Andrew Hayes, New York; Matthew Malloch, Massachusetts; Andrea Boyd, Nova Scotia; Gord McLeod, Manitoba; Graham Schmidt, Saskatchewan; Lynda Mackay, Prince Edward Island; Blair Cooper, Saskatchewan; Glenn Brown, Ontario; Doug MacRae, Ontario; Jodie Smith, Ontario; Steven Jenkins, Ontario; and Lionel Tupman, Ontario.

Piobaireachd
1st Erin McCarthy
2nd Lynda Mackay
3rd Glenn Brown
4th Alison Dunsire
5th Lionel Tupman

MSR
1st Alison Dunsire
2nd Lynda Mackay
3rd Andrew Douglas
4th Glenn Brown
5th Andrea Boyd

6/8 March
1st Andrew Douglas
2nd Glenn Brown
3rd Andrea Boyd
4th Graham Schmidt
5th Erin McCarthy

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McCallum and Gillies Get the Axe at Lochaber

Published:

Fort William, Scotland – November 18, 2000 – The Lochaber Gathering was held here on the west coast of Scotland with both current and former competitors vying for the new “Tuagh Oir” (gold axe) for piobaireachd.

Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, won the award for current players, while Arthur Gillies took the contest reserved for retired players.

Tuagh Oir Piobaireachd
1st Willie McCallum, “My King Has landed In Moidart”
2nd Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow, Scotland, “Battle of Auldearn No. 2″
3rd Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “The Red Speckled Bull”
Judges: John Burgess, Dr John MacAskill

March
1st Brian Donaldson, Fife, Scotland, “Abercairney Highlanders”
2nd Roddy MacLeod, “Clan MacColl”
3rd Willie McCallum, “Abercairney Highlanders”
Judges: Ronald Lawrie, Iain MacFadyen

Strathspey & Reel
1st Angus MacColl, “Maggie Cameron,” “Rejected Suitor”
2nd Willie McCallum, “Dora MacLeod,” “The Man from Glengarry”
3rd Dr. Angus MacDonald, Skye
Judges: Ronald Lawrie, Iain MacFadyen

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Angus MacColl, “Jimmy Blue,” “Kenny Gillies of Portnalong”
2nd Willie McCallum, “Lucy Cassidy,” “John Paterson’s Mare”
3rd Brian Donaldson
Judges: John Burgess, Dr. John MacAskill

Overall: Willie McCallum (Awarded The Lochaber Gathering Medal)

Also competing were Colin MacLellan, Glasgow; Greg Wilson, Falkirk; Stuart Liddell, Inverary; James MacPhee, Glasgow; Jenny Hazzard, Glasgow; John Patrick, Fankerton; and Euan MacCrimmon, Skye.

Masters Events

Tuagh Oir Piobaireachd
1st Arthur Gillies, “Battle of Aldearn No. 1″
2nd Iain MacFadyen, Kyle of Lochalsh, “The Rout of the Lowland Captain”

March
1st Arthur Gillies
2nd Iain MacFadyen

Strathspey & Reel
1st Iain MacFadyen
2nd Arthur Gillies

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Iain MacFadyen
2nd Arthur Gillies

Overall: Arthur Gillies (Awarded the Lochaber Gathering Medal)

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Instructional Efficacy On Tape

Published:

Pipes Ready! A Set-Up and Maintenance Guide for the Great Highland Bagpipe
with Jim McGillivray

Video, 86 minutes

Reviewed by Mike Cusack

The great Highland bagpipe is an incredibly finicky and demanding instrument, which, if not properly maintained, is a constant source of irritation. To the beginner who just received that long awaited first set of pipes, figuring out how to make them work can seem more difficult than a crunluath. A couple of good maintenance manuals from Capt. John MacLellan and the College of Piping give basic details and instructions, but lack the instructional effectiveness that comes with watching a professional at work.

Gold medallist and Clasp winner Jim McGillivray, author of Rhythmic Fingerwork, has just released a new bagpipe maintenance instructional video, Pipes Ready! A Set-up and Maintenance Guide to the Great Highland Bagpipe. Assisted by producer Rob Crabtree, McGillivray gives a light-hearted but thorough overview of basic bagpipe maintenance.

Anyone who has recently purchased a set of pipes, or anyone waiting to on receive a set of pipes should buy Pipes Ready! The video is divided into different topics such as the bag, blowsticks, valves and watertraps, fit of joints, chanter reeds, drone reeds, and a workshop, a basic section on proper hemping, seasoning and the like.

After providing an overview of each main topic, McGillivray goes into greater detail, examining the different problematic issues that arise with each component of the bagpipe and demonstrating the proper way to resolve each problem. The video case has a timed index corresponding with the time code in the left corner of the screen, allowing you to go to the topic of interest with ease.

Professionally produced and filmed, with good, tight close ups of various maintenance techniques and comparison charts of different types of bags and reeds, the video leaves nothing to chance. McGillivray deals thoroughly with the basics of maintenance and addresses a few of the topics I tend to harp on at summer piping schools, such as bag size, blowstick length and bore size, and chanter reed strength.

It is nice to hear him emphasize that the good sounding bagpipe will always be the comfortable bagpipe. He does make the necessary distinction between solo and band instrument, but still gives the amount of time a person should be able to play continuously on either type of set up. This in itself should be an eye opener to many beginning players and a good defense against those who still insist that you cannot be a good player or produce a good sound unless you are on the verge of death through physical exhaustion.

The video is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to be. As McGillivray states a couple of times in the video, more details on topics such as tuning will be available on forthcoming videos in the series. I am sure the tuning video will be more exhaustive in its treatment of reed manipulation. These finer points would be lost on a beginner. There is enough to learn and absorb as it is.

If you are a teacher, buy this video. I played it to my sixth grade students and they loved it. I loved it too. Now I don’t have to repeat the same things over and over again. I’ll just let Jim McGillivray do it for me.

Mike Cusack is director of the piping and drumming program at St. Thomas Episcopal School in Houston, Texas, USA. Along with just about every other piobaireachd prize, he has won both Highland Society of London Gold Medals, the Bratach Gorm, and the Clasp. He lives in Houston.

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Jim Hutton

Published:

There are few people alive today in the pipe band world who have been part of so many great pipe bands as Jim Hutton. Over his 50 years of competing at the Grade 1 level, not only did he play with and against the great Alex Duthart, but he worked with legendary pipe majors, such as Jack Smith, Bob Hardie, Donald Shaw-Ramsay, Iain McLeod, and Tom McAllister. Along the way, he was a part of over a dozen World Drum Corps Championships, three World Solo Drumming Championships (1970, ’71, ’73), six World Pipe Band Championships (Edinburgh City Police 1954, Muirhead & Sons 1961, Shotts & Dykehead 1970, ’73, ’74, ’80), and five Champion of Champions titles (Muirheads 1962, Edinburgh Police 1969, Shotts 1970, ’73, ’80).

And, remarkably, most of this he was able to achieve while being general manager of a major engineering company in Grangemouth, Scotland.

The Edinburgh City Police, Muirhead & Sons, Invergordon Distillery, a reprise with the Edinburgh Police, and, finally, the celebrated 1970s vintage Shotts & Dykehead with Alex Duthart make for an unparalleled pipe band career—one that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association paid homage to in 1997 when they presented Hutton with a special medal.

Born in 1936 in Wishaw, Scotland, Jim Hutton was destined—whether as a piper or drummer—to play in pipe bands. With his brother, David, a piper of renown who played with Muirhead & Sons a remarkable 29 years (1949-’78)—fifteen of those years (1963-’78) as Pipe Sergeant—and nine years with Shotts (1979-’86), Jim Hutton actually started as a piper. A brotherly tiff over a practice chanter resulted in Jim taking up the Highland snare. And, by chance or destiny, he ended up being taught by John Duthart, father of the great Alex, as well as the renowned drummer Gordon Jelly, and Alex Duthart himself.

There are few people today whose very person embodies pipe band drumming so well. Always a man of great personality and charm, of sharp wit and tremendous insight, since his retirement from competition in 1986 Jim Hutton has been great demand around the world as an adjudicator. Since he retired from his demanding job several years ago, he has turned his attention more to teaching, passing along his knowledge to young drummers in every continent where pipe bands play.

His teaching, though, is not limited to drumming. Jim Hutton knows what makes a good band work, whether its collaboration between Pipe Major and Leading Drummer, attention to musical detail from the drum section, or dealing with and building from questionable judging. Indeed, his thoughts are as interesting to pipers as they are to drummers. He’s known for his honesty and integrity—and his gift for telling great stories.

Jim Hutton today lives in Grangemouth, Scotland, with his wife Eileen. He has two children, and three grandchildren.

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PPBSO Annual Meeting Held

Published:

St. Catharines, Ontario – November 11, 2000- The annual general meeting of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario was held here today, with about 3-percent of the organization’s overall membership attending.

Few changes were enacted by the 40-odd members present, but the most significant motions passed were an increased requirement for the Senior Amateur Piobaireachd event from two tunes to be submitted to three, and the agreement to “study” the addition of a Grade 5 category for pipe band events.

Also passed was a change to the Grade 4 band requirement so that some contests will require bands to submit a quick time “march medley,” if they don’t require the normal medley requirement, which will still exist.

The 2000 PPBSO Executive Parent Body was reinstated for 2001, comprising Bob Allen, president; Charlie MacDonald, vice president; George Leonard, treasurer; and Evelyn Hazzard, secretary.

Motions carried:

D-11.4 Tune Requirements – Grade 4 – to be amended to read: Grade 4 bands shall submit one medley of tunes of 3 to 5 minutes duration and 1 march medley of tunes, played in quick time, of 2 minutes 45 seconds to 4 minutes 30 seconds duration.
– Bob Allen, Western Branch

What it means: Grade 4 band competitions will sometimes require a quick march medley instead of a medley.

D-12.1 Starting position – to be amended to read: For medley contests, excluding the march medley contest for Grade 4 bands, bands are not required to begin their performance at the starting line and may assume their final position before starting the contest.
– Bob Allen, Western Branch

What it means: When the event is a quick march medley, bands must start from the trigger and march into the circle. Medleys are optional.

D-1.2 Receipt of membership and rosters – to be amended to read: Band rosters must be received by February 1 in any year.
– Bob Allen, Western Branch

What it means: Band rosters must be in the hands of the PPBSO executive by February 1.

D-1.4 New section to be title “Pipe Band Grading” D-1.4.1 Grading. Based on the pipe band rosters received in accordance with D-1.2, the executive, as advised by the Music Board, shall notify a pipe band that is deemed to be improperly graded by April 1 of that year. The pipe band will be allowed four weeks to submit opposing arguments in writing to the executive. A final decision shall be provided in writing by the executive to the pipe band in question by June 1 of that year.

D-1.4.2 Pipe bands from other jurisdictions. Pipe band from other jurisdictions shall play in the same grade in which they play in their own jurisdiction.

Part D: Rules Governing Pipe Band Competitions: That the executive and Music Board develop a Grade 5 band competition to bring the PPBSO in line with other organizations and bring recommendations forward by January 2001 for possible executive approval and implementation for the 2002 season.
– Ed Neigh, Western Branch

What it means: The PPBSO will study the possibility of adding a Grade 5 band category.

C-10.1 Senior Amateur Piobaireachd – to be amended to read: Senior Amateur Piobaireachd. Competitors shall submit three piobaireachds and shall play one, as chosen by the judge from the tunes submitted.
– Ed Neigh, Western Branch

What it means: Senior Amateur Piobaireachd competitors need to submit another tune from now on.

C-9 Grade 3 Amateur Piping Contest Requirements. C-9.2 Strathspey and Reel – to be amended to read: Strathspey and Reel. Grade 3 Amateur competitors shall submit and play two parts of a strathspey and two parts of a reel.
– Kevin Mitchell, Western Branch

What it means: Grade 3 pipers submit two parts strathspey and two parts reel.

A-7.3 AGM Motions – to be amended to read: (b) Motions provided to members. All motions to be considered at the Society AGM must be provided to the members two weeks prior to the date of the AGM. All branches must have their motions delivered to the executive at least one month prior to the AGM.
– Julie Stewart, Niagara/Hamilton Branch

What it means: Other forms of communications (e.g. e-mail) can be used in addition to printed correspondence.

Also agreed was a directive for the executive to consider the ability for members to vote via mail-in ballots, subject to constitutional requirement.

Among the more interesting motions that were defeated was one recommending a change in tune requirement for Junior Amateur Piobaireachd competitions from one to two, and a proposal to eradicate tenor drumming competitions altogether.

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MacDonald Back In As LA Scots Pipe Major

Published:

Scott MacDonald has returned as Pipe Major of the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band less than a month after submitting his resignation.

LA Scot’s lead drummer Carl Lenny left the band on October 28, and he was followed closely by that of almost the entire drum section. It is not yet known which band Lenny and his drummers will ultimately join, but it is thought that they will stay together as a unit.

Under Scott MacDonald’s leadership, LA Scots has become one of only two Grade 1 bands in the United States. The band was moved to the top grade by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association after it won the Grade 2 event at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1997 after several years finishing in the top three in the contest.

In 1999, LA Scots became the first US-based band to qualify for the Grade 1 final at the World Championships, but in 2000 failed to reach the last cut.

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Roddy MacLeod Wins Overall at London

Published:

London, England – November 4, 2000 – Greg Wilson of Falkirk, Scotland, won the Bratach Gorm (Blue Banner) for piobaireachd at the annual Scottish Society of London competitions at Glaziers’ Hall here today. Roddy MacLeod of Glasgow, Scotland, won the Open Piobaireachd for the seventh time in his still young career, while Willie McCallum , Bearsden, Scotland, took the Former Winners March, Strathspey & Reel.

Interestingly, McCallum was second in the Open Piobaireachd for the sixth time in his career, and he has never won the event.

MacLeod won the trophy for the overall champion at the event.

London is considered the kick-off event for the new piping season. By merit of his win in the Bratach, Wilson gains an automatic invite to the 2001 Glenfiddich Championship in October.

Bratach Gorm (reserved for winners of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal or select other events)
1st Greg Wilson, “Scarce of Fishing”
2nd Colin MacLellan, Glasgow, “The Red Speckled Bull”
3rd Roddy MacLeod, “The Old Men of the Shells”
4th Willie McCallum, “In Praise of Morag”

Gillies Cup Open Piobaireachd
1st Roddy Macleod, “Battle of Auldearn No. 2″
2nd Willie McCallum, “My King Has Landed in Moidart”
3rd Greg Wilson, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”

Former Winners MSR
1st Willie McCallum, “Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling,” “Dora MacLeod,” “The Man From Glengarry”
2nd Gordon Walker, Glasgow
3rd Roddy MacLeod

Strachan Cup MSR
1st Margaret Houlihan, Ireland

Jig
1st Gordon Walker

J.B. Robertson March
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Roddy MacLeod
3rd Willie McCallum

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A pail of spit?

Published:

[Originally published as an Editorial]

Prizes won by pupils when their teachers were judging are not worth a pail of spit

Joint Committee on Piping Competitions Meets in Perth

Published: October 31, 2000

Perth, Scotland – October 29, 2000 – The annual general meeting of the “Joint Committee” on solo piping competitions was held here today, with representatives attending from the Competing Pipers Association, the Piobaireachd Society and the major UK piping competitions.

There are nine seats on the committee: three for the CPA, three for the Piobaireachd Society, three for promoters of the major competitions (Oban, Inverness, London, Skye, and the National Mod).

Perhaps the most contentious issue raised was the results of the CPA’s members’ poll on judges. In 1999, all CPA members were asked to rate judges from a comprehensive list and return the form confidentially to the association.

According to the CPA, “The result is a list of all judges considered acceptable by the CPA. These judges would not have to subscribe to a list, or have their permission to be put onto a list solicited by the Joint Committee. The list would simply represent a pool of all judges from which the competitions promoters could confidently choose their judging panels.”

After a short discussion on the matter, it was proposed that the meeting be adjourned and further discussion postponed. While results of the CPA poll are not known, it is believed that several well-established judges have received an overall vote of no confidence from CPA members.

Also discussed at the meeting was the matter of teachers judging pupils in competition. The CPA has also recommended that judges submit a list of pupils to the competition committees at the beginning of the year, and allow the contests to select judges accordingly.

It is thought that both topics are a first for piping in the UK, and demonstrate a major initiative on the part of the CPA for competition reform.

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Lynda MacKay Wins McCallum Prize Pipe

Published:

Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada – October 29, 2000 – Lynda MacKay won the McCallum Prize Pipe as the aggregate champion in the first Paderno Cup Amateur Invitational Solo Piping Competition hosted here by the College of Piping.

MacKay placed first in the March, Strathspey and Reel and second in the Piobaireachd to claim the overall title. For her efforts she received the Paderno Cup and the Prize Pipe donated by McCallum Bagpipe Makers.

Matthew Malloch of South Weymouth, Massachusetts, won first place in the Piobaireachd event with “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee.” He received a custom bound, 15-book Piobaireachd Society Collection. Eleven amateur pipers from Canada, the United
States, New Zealand and Scotland competed in the competition.

Piobaireachd
1st Matthew Malloch, “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee”
2nd Lynda MacKay, “The Battle of Strome”
3rd Jonathan Grady, Summerside, “Queen Anne’s Lament”
4th Andrea Boyd, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, “The Groat”
5th Ben Schurman, Summerside, “Salute To Donald”

March, Strathspey & Reel
1st Lynda MacKay
2nd Andrea Boyd
3rd Elizabeth Tomlik, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
4th Heather MacIsaac, Halifax, Nova Scotia
5th Jonathan Grady

Also competing were Kali Dunlap, Chicago, Illinois; Blair
Cooper, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Matthew Smith, Dunedin New Zealand; and Christpher Gibb, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The judge for both events was Andrew Hayes of Ottawa, Ontario.

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Lenny Leaves Los Angeles Scots

Published:

Carl Lenny, Lead Drummer of the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, has resigned. Lenny’s departure comes close on the heels of the resignation of Scott MacDonald as Pipe Major.

Reasons for Lenny’s leaving the band are not certain, though it is understood that problems within the pipe section are the primary reason. There is some speculation also that the majority of the drum section will follow Lenny once he has determined where he will play.

Carl Lenny joined LA Scots in 1998, relocating to California from Scotland, where he played with several bands, including Polkemmet, Lothian & Borders Police, and Shotts & Dykehead.

LA Scots is one of only two Grade 1 bands in the United States. The band was moved to the top grade by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association after it won the Grade 2 event at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1997 after several years finishing in the top three in the contest.

In 1999, LA Scots became the first US-based band to qualify for the Grade 1 final at the World Championships, but in 2000 failed to reach the last cut.

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McCallum Takes Overall at Glenfiddich to Break Record

Published:

Blair Atholl, Scotland – October 28, 2000 – Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, became the first person in history to win five aggregate titles at the Glenfiddich Invitational Piping Championship here today in a contest that showcased the year’s most successful pipers.

McCallum won the overall title on the merit of placing third in the piobaireachd event and third in the March, Strathspey & Reel.

Bill Livingstone of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, won the piobaireachd, with a rendition of “Lament for the Earl of Antrim,” while Gordon Walker of Glasgow, Scotland, won the MSR, completing a near-perfect light music season.

Willie McCallum’s win broke the tie he held for most aggregate wins at the contest with Iain MacFadyen and Murray Henderson. McCallum enjoyed one of the greatest competitive years ever in 2000, with a collection of major prizes that would satisfy most pipers over the course of a career.

The Glenfiddich Championship is sponsored by Wm Grant & Sons Whisky Distillers, a company that has supported piping throughout the world for over 30 years. The 2000 event marked the 26th straight year that the Grant’s company has underwritten the event.

Piobaireachd
1st Bill Livingstone, “The Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
2nd Robert Wallace, Stepps, Scotland, “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”
3rd Willie McCallum, “My King Has Landed In Moidart”
4th Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, Lament for the Children”
5th Stuart Liddell, Inverary, Scotland, “The End of the Great Bridge”
Judge: Andrew Wright, John Allan, and William MacDonald (Benbecula)

March, Strathspey & Reel
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Greg Wilson, Falkirk, Scotland
3rd Willie McCallum
4th Angus MacColl
5th Stuart Liddell
Judges: Iain MacLellan, Angus J. MacLellan, and Malcolm MacRae

Overall: 1st Willie McCallum, 2nd Bill Livingstone, 3rd Gordon Walker

Also competing were Michael Cusack, Houston, Texas, USA; Michael Rogers, Maryland, USA; and Bruce Gandy, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

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RSPBA Re-Grading Recommendations Complete

Published:

The RSPBA’s organizational body, the National Council, at its meeting on October 21, made a carte-blanche approval of the association’s Music Board for re-gradings on bands.

Recommended for upgrading to Grade 1:
Bucksburn & District
Grampian Police
Lothian & Borders Police

Recommended for downgrading to Grade 2:
Hydro-Electric Buchan

Recommended for upgrading to Grade 2:
1st Battalion
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Culter & District
Cumberclaudy (N. Ireland)

Recommended for downgrading to Grade 3A:
Scots Guards Association

Recommended for upgrading to Grade 3A:
Holbaek (Denmark)
Howard Memorial
Johnstone
Perth & District
University of Luton

Recommended for upgrading to Grade 3B:
Cullenfad
Maghrafelt & District
Newtongrange
Syerla (Northern Ireland)
Troon Blackrock

Recommended for upgrading to Juvenile:
Dumbarton & District
George Watson’s College
Seafield & District

Recommended for upgrading to Grade 4A:
Finvoy (Ireland)
Gilnahirk
Lomond & Clyde
Northern Caledonia
Penicuik & District

Recommended for downgrading to Grade 4B:
Downpatrick (Northern Ireland)
Thomas Davies

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Switalla Makes Near Clean Sweep at NZ Championships

Published:

Christchurch, New Zealand – Brian Switalla of Dunedin, New Zealand, won the overall title at the New Zealand Solo Piping Championships held here over the weekend.

Switalla took the March and Strathspey & Reel light music event and the Piobaireachd contest, and then went on to win the March, Strathspey & Reel for previous winners.

The former Pipe Major of the Dunedin Police Pipe Band, Switalla has also played with the New Zealand Police and, at the 2000 World Championships, Field Marshal Montgomery.

George Mason of Wellington, New Zealand, managed to keep Switalla honest by taking the Hornpipe & Jig contest.

Event were judged by Jack Lee of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Lewis Turrell of New Zealand.

Piobaireachd
1st Brian Switalla, “lament for Donald Duaghald MacKay”
2nd Fiona Manson
3rd Glenn Harris
4th Vaughan Wheeler

March
1st Brian Switalla
2nd Richard Hawke
3rd Casey Wilkes

Strathspey & Reel
1st Brian Switalla
2nd Casey Wilkes
3rd Richard Hawke

Hornpipe & Jig
1st George Mason
2nd Brian Switalla
3rd Stewart McKenzie

Clasp MSR (for previous winners of Silver Chanter)
1st Brian Switalla
2nd Martin Frewen
3rd Richard Hawke

Silver Chanter MSR (previous winners excluded)
1st Fiona Manson
2nd Ross Horsborough
3rd Vaughan Wheeler
4th Stuart Easton

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St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg Pipe Band

Published:

The St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg Pipe Band of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is one of province’s best pipe bands, and only recently has the band made themselves stand out in the worldwide piping community.

From basically never competing, the band won almost every competition they played in in 2000, including events in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Minnesota. In 2001 the band plans to play at the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario. The band also does many performances, including a recent “Celtic Connections” concert put on by the St. Andrews Society at Winnipeg’s Walker Theater, featuring the Hadhirgaan fiddle group from Orkney, Scotland.

The St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band was formed in 1973 through the efforts of graduates of the Lord Selkirk Boy Scout Pipe Band. Pipe Major Bob Fraser was approached with the proposal that a band be formed from ex-members of the LSPSPB.

The band is still primarily made up of ex-members of the LSBSPB but has acquired other players who wish to play in a competitive band. At present the band comprises 20 pipers, eight snares, and three tenor/bass players. Many of the band’s players are top prize winners in solo events, and many members compete in solo competitions all over North America.

With its extensive repertoire, the St. Andrew’s Pipe Band performs for virtually any audience. Combining traditional music and contemporary tunes the band is known for putting on a good show. According to band member Rob Bailie, “The band’s strength and success have come, and will continue to come, from the commitment of the band members to the organization.”

Contact information:
St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band
Rob Bailie

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Munroe Wins Scottish Junior Solo Piping Championship

Published:

Carnoustie, Scotland – October 21, 2000 – The annual Scottish Junior Solo Piping Championships were held here today at Carnoustie High School with strong attendance from both competitors and listeners.

Run by the Practical Pipers Society, the event showcases the country’s best solo pipers under the age of sixteen.

Ultimately, Hamish Munroe was awarded the championship, with a fine performance in the Champion of Champions competition. To decide the winners, each competitor plays in a Piobaireachd and March, Strathspey & Reel event.

Under 13 Piping Championship
1st Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland
2nd Alexander Stewart, Banchory, Scotland
3rd Gillian Chalmers, Fraserburgh, Scotland

Junior Champion 13-16 years
1st Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, Scotland
2nd Arlene Kerr, Argyll, Scotland
3rd James Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland

Champion of Champions
1st Hamish Munro
2nd Thomas Fraser, Aberdeen, Scotland
3rd Colin Stewart, Banchory, Scotland

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RSPBA National Council Chairman Resigns

Published:

Glasgow, Scotland – October 21, 2000 – The National Council of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association held its scheduled meeting here today resulting in RSPBA Chairman James Cruickshank resigning allegedly before a vote of no confidence in him was to be made.

Vice-Chairman George Ussher of Northern Ireland took over the Chairmanship, and the Council, according to sources, breathed with a new air of unity, uplifted by the presence of the highly respected Ussher in the chair. The National Council then progressed efficiently with the affairs of the meeting.

Matters dealt with at the meeting included moving forward with the selection of the RSPBA’s Millennium Implementation Group, re-establishing links with the Adjudicators’ Panel and the regrading of bands.

Additionally, unconfirmed reports state that Jim McCready, Chairman of the Glasgow branch of the RSPBA, will reportedly become the association’s interim Executive Officer effective October 23. McCready will allegedly hold the post until the RSPBA’s annual general meeting in March 2001.

The council ratified the RSPBA’s Music Board recommendation that Bucksburn & District, Grampian Police and Lothian & Borders Police move to Grade 1 and that Hydro-Electric Buchan go down to Grade 2.

Piper & Drummer Online expects to make available the full list of RSPBA regradings shortly. The association in the coming week will apparently notify bands affected.

For the first time since the adoption of a new rule that allows RSPBA members to attend but not participate at National Council and Music Board meetings, an audience was present.

The next National Council meeting is set for December 2 and the next Music Board meeting on November 18.

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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 pipes|drums 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 2

At the sixty American Highland games in 1979 the cultural showpieces now were the pipe bands, more than 180 of which called themselves Scots, Caledonians, Highlanders, “kilties,” and the like. (Another 120 high school, college, Shrine, and Irish bands had also adopted the Great Highland Bagpipe but without any pretension to Scottish ethnicity.) About a dozen of the pre-1940 bands still existed — the oldest now at Buffalo — but nearly half the rest were creations of the 1970s. By that time it was a recognized peculiarity of North American pipers that almost all of them, even the few who were also “open” or “professional” solo competitors, belonged to bands. Although more than half the bands were still in the Northeast and Midwest, more than a quarter now were in the Far West and almost a fifth in the South. Since the Great American Piping Desert between Kansas City and Denver defeated attempts to form a national pipe band federa-tion, an east-west division of the country was effected by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association and the Pacific Coast Pipe Band As-sociation, both founded in 1963. At the end of the 1970s the EUSPBA in-cluded 47 Scottish and 19 other bands, the PCPBA 27 and 2, respec-tively, and the two associations supervised competition at most of the games. In the Pacific Northwest 5 bands belonged to the Western Pipe Band Association, a British Columbia federation, whose rules governed the Seattle and Portland games.

The pipe band associations and certain of the larger games introduced a form of the Scottish and Canadian graded competition — four grades in the East, three in the West. In 1979 all seven bands in eastern Grades I and II or western Grade I — Worcester Kiltie; Manchester, Connecticut; Denny & Dunnipace (Maryland namesake of a band in Scotland); West-ern Reserve of Cleveland; Culloden Moor and Prince Charles, both of San Francisco; and Los Angeles Police — were in the North or West and able to make use of Canadian as well as Scottish-born pipers. Worcester, the only consistently first-grade eastern band, competing on equal terms with the best in Canada, was three-fourths Scots, including pipers and drum-mers expressly recruited from the most renowned bands in Scotland. In the West first-class instruction was likely to come from Canada. It has been estimated that during the rapid proliferation of bands in the 1950s and 1960s more than forty pipe-majors from Canada were active in Washington, Oregon, and California. Occasionally, of course, immi-grant expertise fell flat. “Some of our most dismal failures,” an experi-enced band-organizer recalls, “have been some of the champion piper and drummer drunks from Scotland” — one of the “cold hard facts not usually mentioned about bonnie Scotland.”

Southern bands might have been happy to put up with the inconveni-ence. As recently as the 1930s there was not a piper to be found in cities like Richmond or Atlanta, nor thirty years later in Wilmington, New Or-leans, or Oklahoma City. Even in 1969 a fledgling pipe-major in North Carolina lamented, “A lot of bands are being formed, and the tragedy of it is that they do not have any help,” no one with any “old country pipe band experience to speak of.” By 1979, although almost all southern bands regularly competed at games in the region — unlike the one band in four elsewhere that was simply a “parade band” — none had achieved much distinction beyond the South. The most rigorously competitive games were all elsewhere: Alma, Michigan, a two-day affair attracting the best Ontario pipers; Delco (Philadelphia) and Ligonier (Pittsburgh); Santa Rosa (San Francisco) and Coeur d’Alene (or Spokane). Southern games tended to use pipe bands as accompaniment to the other activities; even Grandfather Mountain, the largest gathering of all and the oldest (1956) in the South, offered only solo piping competition. Ethnic fervor came more readily to “Scotland the South” than did the ethnic music.

For all the Gaelic resonance of the piob mhor, piping was steadily moving away from the ethnic group. The twenty-three hundred pipers and twelve hundred drummers who belonged to the 180 bands of 1979 (which were also training some twelve hundred pupils) were far less uniformly Scottish than their tartans suggested. Although 7 percent of the bandsmen still were Scottish-born and another 16 percent had Scottish parents, while 46 percent could at least claim distant Scottish roots, nearly one-third had no family ties whatever to Scotland. The First World War had inspired immigrant Scots to organize pipe bands; during the Second, hun-dreds of thousands of Americans, stationed in Britain for a year or two, heard good piping for the first time. Within a few years the non-Scottish bagpiper, “a thing unheard of in the ‘old’ band,” as it was noted in 1963 at Yonkers — where German, Slavic, Armenian, and Jewish names now appeared among the Kilties — had become a regular element (36 percent) of pipe bands in the North and West. In the South, although the bands were newer, only 23 percent of their members had no Scottish ancestry; a mere 10 percent, if Florida and Texas are omitted. In short, southern pipers had the most “Scottish blood,” but others, who might not be Scottish at all, generally had the best-trained birl fingers.

The pipers’ growing detachment from the ethnic group proper was reflected, in a sense, in the 15 percent of band members in 1979 who were women, something unprecedented in pipe band tradition. In Scotland enough prejudice remained against women’s playing a “man’s instru-ment” and wearing a man’s kilt to confine most female players to “ladies’ bands” and, until passage of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, to bar even the best of them from certain major solo competitions. Fewer than a fifth of the Scottish-American bands, however, were all-male, and the only girls’ pipe bands were at a few high schools and non-ethnic.

The non-Scots who have taken up Scottish arts have nevertheless had to cultivate much closer ties to contemporary Scotland than many Scottish immigrants maintain. The pipers of the 1970s were working to strictly old-country standards, and to good effect. As recently as the 1950s, a distinguished immigrant piper has recalled, “the very idea of comparing the North American piper with the Scottish pipers would have been laughed at.”

The remedy was prescribed by certain Americans, though administered by Scots, beginning in 1962, in a dozen two-week summer schools of piping-and also drumming, Highland dancing, and, most recently, Scottish fiddle-playing. Like the two decades older Gaelic College in Nova Scotia, these summer camps have been staffed by a handful of leading Scottish and Canadian professionals, some of whom spend the season proceeding around the country from school to school, where they attract pupils of all ages and every grade from novice to seasoned com-petitor. The first overseas contingent, at the Invermark school in 1962, was John MacFadyen, John MacLellan and Seumas MacNeill. By 1979 the important distinction, as a southern pipe-major ob-served, was not where a piper was trained but by whom.

At most American Highland games in the l970s the judges of piping and drumming — who, after annotating each competitor’s tempos, “breaks,” tuning, tone, steadiness, execution, and expression and assigning him a mark, customarily gave a friendly private critique as well — were drawn from a panel of two or three dozen resident Scots of much the same origins as the school instructors. As winners of somewhat lesser honors in Scotland, however, most of them seem to have emigrated for reasons apart from this avocation of their summer weekends. But like the school instructors they have been indispensable. Although there are competent teachers and at least potential judges among American-born pipers, greater confidence still resides with someone known to have won the Gold Medal or simply to have placed at the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban or the Northern Meeting at Inverness.

By the 1970s there were many American pipers whom their Scottish in-structors found it “a pleasure to listen to” and perhaps two dozen capable of “open” competition in Scotland. Distance, however, made a “world-class” reputation elusive. Even within the United States, where Highland games are hundreds or thousands of miles apart, no band or piper will have competed against enough of the others to become undis-puted champion. As for crossing the Atlantic, although several American pipers have devoted a summer or two to study in Scotland and several since 1969 have placed in the highest level of competition there, none by 1979 (and only one, Michael Cusack, by 1999) had taken the supreme honors at Oban and Inverness.

Since many of the American pipers are not of Scottish descent, they are not simply persisting in tradition. Indeed, they strive to keep their art abreast of every new tune, new settings, every new prescription from Edinburgh or Glasgow, and from Guelph or St. Catharines in Ontario as well. No doubt they would keep at it even if there were no immigrants’ societies or clan associations to provide annual Highland games for competition. They belong to a lively transatlantic community centred upon present-day Scotland although nearly as esoteric there — “the ‘closed shop’ of all closed shops” — as in America.

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MacDonald Resigns as LA Scots Pipe Major

Published:

Scott MacDonald has resigned as Pipe Major of the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band of California.

The move is effective immediately, and the band has not yet determined who will replace MacDonald, although it is believed that Steve Megarity will take the Pipe Major’s spot. Megarity is a former member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, and is also know for his reed making business, Megarity-Ross.

Under Scott MacDonald’s leadership, LA Scots has become one of only two Grade 1 bands in the United States. The band was moved to the top grade by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association after it won the Grade 2 event at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1997 after several years finishing in the top three in the contest.

In 1999, LA Scots became the first US-based band to qualify for the Grade 1 final at the World Championships, but in 2000 failed to reach the last cut.

MacDonald’s last contest as Pipe Major of the LA Scots was at the Loon Mountain Highland Games in New Hampshire in September, where the band beat cross-country rivals City of Washington of Washington, DC.

Stay tuned to Piper & Drummer Online for further information on MacDonald’s replacement when it becomes known.

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CPA Discusses Judging, Set Tunes, Formats at AGM

Published:

Perth, Scotland – October 15, 2000 – The Competing Pipers Association held its annual general meeting here today at the Salutation Hotel with 17 of its more than 250 members attending.

Numerous items were discussed at the nearly four-hour meeting, the most important of which involved teachers judging pupils, the light music formats for the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting, and set tune requirements for the major piobaireachd competition.

The CPA approved a motion “that suggestions be made to Oban and Inverness that the A Grade March and Strathspey/Reel events be combined to MSR, winning which would mean qualification for Former Winners MSR. (Players who had won one event in 2000 should be allowed to play in the Former Winners). Further suggestion to have waiting lists for light music events and to consider qualifying contests.”

This motion comes as a result of steadily-increasing numbers in the light music events at Oban and Inverness, with pipers officially Grade A by the CPA being forced to play in the B Grade light music events.

After deliberation from the floor on the current requirement of six tunes to be submitted for the Gold and Silver medal competitions from a list of 10, the following motion was approved: “To voice pipers’ concerns to the Piobaireachd Society, and to request that the number of set tunes for the Gold and Silver Medals 2001 be reduced to four, of the ten already proposed.”

For the 2000 senior piobaireachd events, the Piobaireachd Society acquiesced to the wishes of pipers and reduced the submission requirement from six to four. The CPA’s discussion this year centred attention on the notion that the six-tune requirement “Directs focus too much on competition and removes pleasure from piping.”

Although no motions were presented on the contentious matter of teachers judging pupils, the AGM included a discussion on the topic. CPA president Colin MacLellan acknowledged that the organization has no officially policy on the matter, but suggested that all pipers could declare their tutors at the beginning of the year, and this could be distributed to competition promoters to help them reduce instances of teachers judging pupils.

A hike in annual membership dues across the board was also agreed to, with senior members now paying £12 and junior members £6.

Resolutions will be tabled at the October 29 meeting of the joint committees comprising the CPA, the Piobaireachd Society, the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting. It is believed that the CPA at this meeting will also table the results of its comprehensive survey of members on their opinions of judges. Results have been collated, assigning each judge with a grade of “Senior,” “Approved,” or “No confidence.”

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Wilson and MacLeod Take Top Prizes at Mod

Published:

Dunoon, Scotland – October 14, 2000 – Scotland’s annual National Mod was held here today, with piping contests taking a temporary spotlight in the midst of Gaelic singing competitions.

Greg Wilson of Falkirk, Scotland, threw down a ceol mor gauntlet by winning the piobaireachd event, while Roddy MacLeod of Glasgow, Scotland, took the March, Strathpsey & Reel. In August of this year Wilson won the Silver Chanter and the Dunvegan Medal at Skye.

Piobaireachd
1st Greg Wilson, “Craigellachie”
2nd Colin MacLellan, Glasgow, “MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament”
3rd Gordon Walker, Glasgow, “Lament for MacSwan of Roaig”
4th Pipe Major Stuart Samson, The Highlanders, “Lament for Captain MacDougall”
Judges: Malcolm MacRae, Angus J. MacLellan

MSR
1st Roddy MacLeod
2nd Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
3rd Pipe Major Stuart Samson
4th Gordon Walker
Judges: Walter Drysdale, Ronald Lawrie

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
July 1, 1951John Wilson wins all three events, Embro, Ontario.
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UPCOMING EVENTS July 2, 2015Instructors’ RecitalKing City, ON

July 4, 2015Penticton Scottish FestivalKings Park, Penticton, BC

July 4, 2015All Ireland ChampionshipOmagh

July 4, 2015Kincardine Scottish Festival716 Princess St. N, Kincardine, ON

July 5, 2015PEI Summerside School of Piping and DrummingCollege of Piping, Summerside, PEI

TIP OF THE DAY
If your drones are falling off your shoulder it may be your cords are too far apart, but it may also suggest a wrong bag size or poorly fitted stocks.
James Begg, Glasgow