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Gandy Wins Metro Cup

Published: February 29, 2000

Bruce Gandy of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, won the annual Metro Cup Invitational Piping Competition in Newark, New Jersey, on February 19, the fourth time he has taken the event and its prize of US$500. The Metro Cup has established itself as one of the more prestigious events in the United States’ piping calendar.

Second prize went to Andrew Hayes of Ottawa, Ontario, third to Michael Rogers of Maryland, and John Patrick of Fankerton, Scotland, and Rob Crabtree of Toronto, Ontario, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Reay Mackay and Ed Neigh of Ontario judged the event.

Invited competitors play a march, strathspey, reel, hornpipe and jig of their own choice.

Also taking part were Mike Green, Maryland; Scot Walker, Pennsylvania; and Ann Gray, Saskatchewan.

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Gold, Silver Medal Requirements Status Quo

Published:

After the Piobaireachd Society decided to reduce the requirement for competitors in the Senior competitions this year, it is sticking to its guns for the Gold and Silver medal events by maintaining entrants must submit six piobaireachds from the lists of eight.

There had been speculation from many competitors that the Piobaireachd Society would follow suit with the two other recommendations.

“The requirements for the Gold Medal and Silver Medal remain the same,” said Andrew Wright, President of the Piobaireachd Society. “Competitors in these events appear to have taken the increased requirements in their stride.”

It appears that most, if not all, discussion has been around the requirements for the Senior competitions at Oban (the Open Piobaireachd) and Inverness (the Clasp). Controversy ensued after the Piobaireachd Society originally demanded that competitors in those events would submit six tunes from the list of eight, comprising relatively obscure tunes and settings.

“The Piobaireachd Society, after discussion with the CPA, have agreed to reduce the recommendations for the Senior set tune requirements this year,” Wright continued. “This was largely in view of the workload which would have imposed on those players who are qualified to play both in the Gold Medal and the Clasp events and their having to learn twelve tunes. Also there was unrest from the Clasp players in having to learn settings of tunes with which they were not familiar.”

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Elite Drummers Gear Up for World Solo Championships

Published:

The world’s top pipe band snare drummers are getting set for the annual RSPBA 2000 World Solo Drumming Championships on February 26 in Bathgate, Scotland.

Sponsored by Andante Percussion of Banbridge, Northern Ireland, the World Solos are seen as the highlight of the individual side drumming calendar. The contest has been held annually for over 40 years, and over half of the first prizes have been won by either the late Alex Duthart or Jim Kilpatrick, both from the “drumming belt” between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Kilpatrick has won the event an unprecedented eleven times.

The 1999 winner, Andrew Scullion of Northern Ireland, will defend the title and is among the favourites to win, along with Shotts & Dykehead’s Kilpatrick, Arthur Cook of the Lothian & Borders Police, Gordon Brown of Boghall & Bathgate, Eric Ward of the Strathclyde Police, and J. Reid Maxwell of Simon Fraser University.

The Andante company stepped in to sponsor the World Solo Drumming Championships after long time sponsor Premier withdrew. The event will be held at Bathgate Academy in Bathgate, Scotland.

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Duirinish Stone Composing Competition Announced

Published:

The community council of Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, has decided to commemorate the erection of the millennium Duirinish Stone in Dunvegan with a competition to find a pipe tune that will be titled The Duirinish Stone.”

A prize of £500 will be given to the composer of the winning tune.

The tune must be a 2/4 march with a minimum of four parts. According to the organizers

Piping With Integrity

Published:

Tryst, Iain MacInnes
Greentrax Recordings, CDTRAX 182

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

Reviewed by Scott MacAulay

Iain MacInnes’s Tryst, the latest piping recording from Greentrax, is a triumph of piping with integrity. MacInnes has invited some of Scotland’s leading instrumentalists to join him in weaving a musical masterpiece. On first hearing, the overall musical impression bears the inimitable footprint of producer William Jackson but, make no mistake about it, the piping of Iain MacInnes is the centerpiece of this outstanding collaboration.

The music carries you off through the plaintive airs of the cauld wind pipes in A, C and D, then rouses you up with the driving rhythms and stark clarity of the great Highland bagpipe. With Tony McManus on guitar, Aidan O’Rourke and Mairi Campbell on fiddles, William Jackson alternating on harps and bass, and James MacKintosh on percussion, Iain MacInnes truly has organized a tryst—and there should be nothing secret about it. The individual virtuosity of the players has not been sacrificed in achieving a wonderfully harmonious integration of sound, mood and rhythm.

The longing and pining portrayed to great musical effect in Angus Ramsay’s Lullaby” is contrasted by the driving and lilting presentation of the late Pipe Major Donald MacLeod’s “Dr. MacInnes’s Fancy.” The compatibility of contemporary and traditional 2/4 Marches as interpreted in Michael Grey’s “Jamie MacInnis of Cape Breton

Crabtree Nominated for Canadian Juno Award

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Ontario piper Robert Crabtree’s recording, “The Piper’s Legacy,” has been nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Instrumental category. The Junos are Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

It is the first known time that a recording of mainly Highland piping has garnered a nomination. In 1992, a recording by former Tannahill Weavers members Bill Bourne and Allan MacLeod captured a Juno Award for a recording that included Highland piping.

Other artists nominated in the Best Instremntal Album category are the famed Cape Breton fiddler, Natalie McMaster, and Robert Michael’s top-selling “Utopia” recording.

“The Piper’s Legacy” has enjoyed wide distribution to a mainly non-piping audience, with the project catering to enthusiasts of the instrument and Scottish music in general. The piping, however, has been recognized as being first rate on its own, and brings excellent Highland piping to the masses whose previous perception of the bagpipe is based on poor instruments and players.

“It’s an honour to be nominated for a Juno,” Crabtree said. “I’m pleased that ‘The Piper’s Legacy’ has brought decent piping to a lot of people, and I hope the nomination adds to our instrument’s credibility worldwide.”

Other artists nominated for a Juno this year include Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, and Alanis Morissette.

The Juno Awards ceremony will be held on March 11, 2000, in Toronto, Ontario.

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Piobaireachd Society Reduces Senior Set List

Published:

In an unusual move, the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society has responded to the request of the Competing Pipers Association and has recommended that the requirement for the Clasp at Inverness and the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban be reduced to four tunes, rather than the six it had set in the summer.

Controversy ensued when the Piobaireachd Society released its recommendations for the set tunes when the organization designated obscure settings of eight tunes, six of which had to be submitted.

After much dialog with the CPA a compromise has been reached. Although competitors will have to submit only four tunes, one of them must be of the of the settings designated by the Society.

There is strong expectation that the set tune lists for the Gold and Silver medal competitions will also be reduced to four from the current six.

The Piobaireachd Society’s set tune lists do not necessarily have to be adhered to, and the Northern Meeting at Inverness and Argyllshire Gathering at Oban are free to set their own requirements. There is no record of that happening since the concept of set tunes first started in the 1950s.

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Our Very Own Age of Enlightenment

Published:

[Originally published as an Editorial]

Coinciding with the new century there are, perhaps not just coincidentally, several positive moves forward in piping and drumming around the world.

The Competing Pipers Association (CPA) has taken the extraordinary step of surveying its members on their opinions of prospective judges. The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) has taken the unprecedented initiative of soliciting recommendations from an ad hoc committee of members on how it can improve for the future.

Not to be outdone, the numerous pipe band organizations in North America have commenced unusual dialog on the feasibility of converging, possibly into a North American Pipe Band Association.

Extraordinary? Unprecedented? Unusual? What’s truly curious is the fact that what really are fairly fundamental business procedures are in fact extraordinary. What sort of organization does not routinely ask for and encourage input from its members? How can any association or any person improve and learn without asking questions and learning from the answers?

It’s indeed sad that, for whatever reasons, so many piping and pipe band associations operate in a veil of secrecy. Members are afraid to make their opinions known largely because of the repercussions they fear in competition.

For too long competitors have simply been told what to do by those with relatively little knowledge or experience in the competitive trenches. Judges are placed on panels with little or no input from the membership. Decisions are made at meetings sparsely attended by anyone but executive officers. In many organizations, post-meeting communication between executives and members is almost non-existent, thus breeding suspicion and contempt.

With all due respect to it as the ultimate parent organization, we dare say that the RSPBA has the furthest to go in terms of encouraging dialog. If world piping and drumming are to reach their potential, the tradition of back room whispering and beer tent bellyaching must come to an end. Even though it’s the world’s leading piping and drumming publication, the Piper & Drummer has received one—yes, that’s one—piece of mail from the RSPBA in the last 20 years, and that was information on the Millennium Group in late 1999.

Members of organizations must be made to feel confident that what they say will be used constructively, and if it is used against them in the contest arena, then judges and other people with power will be heavily reprimanded.

We have said it before: piping and drumming, relative to what it was 30 years ago, is big business. Today’s successful businesses collaborate. They trade ideas with their employees, and they talk to their business partners. Most of all, they recognize and learn from their mistakes. Organizations that operate in isolation are destined at the very least to underachieve and, at worst, are doomed to fail.

It’s frightening that many ethically minded pipers and drummers are afraid of expressing their opinions, for fear of a corrupt judge slamming them not for their music but for the views they previously expressed. Somehow, some way, somewhere, this ridiculous tradition has got to stop.

The CPA, RSPBA, and North American pipe band associations have each in its own way taken significant positive steps to create open dialog, to ask questions and to consider and learn from their members. If they’re smart, they will continually encourage their members to provide input, and create a forum for their opinions to be freely and safely expressed.

There’s a long way to go, but we can see that the era of fear and silence in piping and drumming may be coming to an end, and a new era of enlightenment is just beginning.

Canadian Championships Considering Big Changes

Published: January 31, 2000

The unofficial Canadian Championships held at Cambridge, Ontario, each July may see significant changes for the 2000 season.

Due to incurring a deficit of Cdn$6,000 in 1999, the games is considering a new structure for the pipe band competitions. The games committee apparently chalks up its loss to having to pay travel expenses to upwards of 40 bands.

The games committee has apparently proposed limiting the band entry to the first fifteen on a first-come, first served basis, and this has been refused by the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the event go with only Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands, thus bringing the total entry to around 15 bands.

The games committee has suggested that, with this move, the contest would then be in a position to raise prize money across the board, from 50 to 150 per cent, and still pay travel expenses.

Should the Cambridge games go this route, it would relinquish its “Champion Supreme” status. It appears also that the new Hamilton, Ontario, games will be in a position to take on the Championship status.

The Cambridge Games have consistently been one of the most well attended contests of the Canadian season by competitors and spectators. Without the change in competition structure, the event reportedly would have to fold altogether after nearly 30 years in operation.

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Clan Sutherland Disbands

Published:

Fresh on the heels of the dissolving of the Abbotsford Police Pipe Band and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Pipe Band, England’s Clan Sutherland Pipe Band has also packed it in.

For much of the 1990s, Clan Sutherland has been a contender for the Grade 2 title at the World Pipe Band Championships, and even attained the RSPBA’s Grade 2 “Champions of Champions” title in
1995. The band won many of the major championships in Grade 2.

After a sub-par 1999 season, the band tried to resurrect their previous glory with a new Pipe Major and Leading Drummer. Ex-Pipe Major, Tony Sloane, moved to become Pipe major of the Grade 1 Royal Ulster Constabulary Pipe Band of Northern Ireland, and a number of pipers went with him.

Clan Sutherland officially dissolved this week, with members being split between the RUC and the Grade 2 Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary Pipe Band, which is earmarked by many to be a force in Grade 2 in the 2000 season.

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Move On to Reduce Set Tune List

Published:

A debate on the set tune list for the senior competitions at the 2000 Argyllshire gathering and Northern Meeting has been brewing for several months, with the Competing Pipers Association and the Piobaireachd Society reportedly in active discussions.

In an unusual move, the Piobaireachd Society mandated that for the three set tune lists — the Clasp at Inverness and Open at Oban, the Gold Medals, and the Silver Medals — competitors are required to submit six tunes from the list of eight. Usually, with set lists, the requirement is only four tunes.

Furthering the concern, the Senior list comprises relatively obscure tunes, and demands that competitors play certain settings. The Piobaireachd Society has stated that a motivating reason for the move was to reduce the number of entrants, by making demand son competitors more severe.

Currently, there is considerable controversy with the Senior list, with pressure on the Piobaireachd Society to make the list more manageable. There is no word whether the Gold Medal and Silver Medal lists will be reduced also, but there is anticipation that they would follow if the Senior requirements are reduced.

With numerous competitors competing in both a Gold Medal and Senior event, and some North American pipers even having to prepare for all three, having as many as 18 tunes at the ready is seen as near impossible.

One piper competing in the Gold Medal events said, “Last year at Inverness there were mistakes and breakdowns galore throughout the Gold Medal. I can only imagine what the 2000 event will be like with an even greater demand being placed on competitors. The audience might be in for a real let-down in the standard.”

The point has also been made that the competitions are intended to be enjoyable for the competitors, as well as the audience, and that very, very few pipers actually make a living from their talent.

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Abbotsford Police Disbands

Published:

After several successful years in Grade 1, the Abbotsford Police Pipe Band of British Columbia, Canada, has folded, leaving the area with one Grade 1 band, the 1999 World Champion Simon Fraser University.

Apparently five members of the Abbotsford pipe section decided to join SFU’s operation following Abbotsford’s trip to the Scotland in the August of 1999. Three members went to SFU’s Grade 2 band, Robert Malcolm Memorial, and two went to the Grade 1 band. Other bands in the area have also benefitted from Abbotsford’s demise.

Abbotsford faired quite well at the 1999 World’s, with the pipe corps placing 8th and 9th in the qualifying section.

“The last few months we were actively recruiting without any success,” said former P/M Doug Bird. “It’s difficult to recruit anyone with the World Champion on your doorstep.”

Abbotsford Police was started in 1961, and moved up and down the grades until the early 1990s when the band moved to Grade 1. At that time there were four bands in Grade 1 in British Columbia. There is only one today.

There has been considerable discussion in the last five years especially of the effect SFU has had on the BC pipe band scene. Some say that the organization has drained other bands of good players, while others contend that the extensive SFU teaching program has nurtured piping and drumming in the area.

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RSPBA Millennium Group Report Issued

Published:

The much anticipated report from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s ad hoc Millennium Group has been made public, and the Piper & Drummer is among the first to learn its contents. The report is seen by many as one of the most important developments in the 57 years of the organization’s history.

The elements of the report will be debated at the RSPBA’s annual general meeting in March, where its adoption will be voted on.

Basically, the report advises that the entire organization is restructured. The existing extremely controversial National Council and Music Board would be eliminated in favour of a smaller Management Board. The Management Board would comprise six executive members, including a Chief Executive and five Directors. There would be two non-voting members, a President and a Chairman of the RSPBA.

The five unpaid Directors would head separate committees: Finance, Operations, Education & Training, Marketing & Public Relations, and Strategic Development. Each group would concentrate only on its specific function, and each Director would be responsible for the progress of his or her committee.

Conflict of Interest Addressed

The report makes significant recommendations on eliminating the perception of conflict of interest within the RSPBA, which has dogged the organization since its inception. The Millennium Group report suggests that a charter be created to which all members would adhere. Part of the charter would be a declaration that RSPBA office bearers and adjudicators declare commercial interests in relation to the pipe band world.

This portion is almost certain to be the most contentious portion of the report.

It is perhaps interesting to note the charter approach appears to be similar to the process adopted for members of the new Scottish Parliament.

The report also recommends that the RSPBA should be all times open and transparent.

Run the RSPBA Like a Business

The report recommends that the RSPBA be run as a business, rather than by the piecemeal approach it takes now. A formal business plan with specific objectives would be developed. With a business plan in place, the RSPBA could then better apply for funding from various charitable and cultural organizations, such as Britain’s National Lottery and local and national Arts Councils. An example of this successful funding is Glasgow’s Piping Centre, which in 1999 received a grant of £180,000 from the National Lottery. Without a formal business plan, partnerships and funding, the committee contends, are nearly impossible to attain.

Also recommended is that RSPBA involve its membership in ways never before attempted. At the heart of this is a Branch Trustee Council, which is basically an advisory board from each of the existing branches. The Branch Trustee Council would have no actual power, but would have considerable clout in advising the organization.

Said one member of a top Scottish band: Right now the RSPBA is a completely closed operation

Canadian Forces Sponsor Tune Contest

Published:

The Canadian Forces have announced a competition for three new “parade music” compositions written especially for the Canadian Forces, including a “lament for solo bagpipes.”

In a somewhat confusing move, the contest offers a prize of $1000 to the winning pipe tune, but three times as much for the quick and slow marches written for military bands.

The winning lament for pipes will get its first public airing at the ceremony commemorating the Repatriation of Canada’s Unknown Soldier in May 2000. The military marches will debut at the Canadian Forces Massed Bands Beating Retreat Ceremony on July 20 to 22, 2000.

All entrants will receive a Certificate of Participation, and a professionally recorded CD of their composition.

Entries will be judged by a selection board chaired by Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Bouchard, Canadian Forces Supervisor of Music. The board will consist of recognized leaders, military and civilian, in the field of music.

The Canadian Forces could not be reached for comment on why the pipe tune prize is only a third of the prize for other music.

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Lothian & Borders Police Add All-Stars to Pipe Section

Published:

The Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, relegated to Grade 2 after the 1999 season, have added three top pipers to the band, thus raising the prospect of remaining in Grade 1.

New pipers joining the band are Iain Speirs, Donald MacBride, and Gregor Speirs, all soloists who compete on the world stage. MacBride and Iain Speirs have both won prizes in the Highland Society of London Gold Medal competitions.

The band has asked the RSPBA to reconsider the band’s relegation, since it has a new Pipe Major (Colin MacLellan), Leading Drummer (Arthur Cooke), and several other players with established band and solo credentials, including Jenny Hazzard, formerly with the 78th Fraser Highlanders.

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RSPBA Millennium Committee to Submit Report

Published:

The much anticipated report from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Millennium Review Group will likely be presented in the first week in January 2000 and at the top of the lengthy list of recommendations will be the eradication of conflict of interest in judging.

With a membership comprising luminaries in the pipe band world, such as drumming adjudicator Alistair Aitken, John Wilson of the Strathclyde Police, and Gordon Parkes of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, the Review Group was by all accounts carefully selected from those with no apparent outside interests beyond the good of the RSPBA.

In addition to the conflict of interest issue, the report will address the overall objectives of the RSPBA, possible sources of income for the association, and marketing and communications.

There is speculation that certain factions within the organization have been attempting to discredit the Review Group’s report before it is released.

Conflict of interest in judging unfortunately is something of a tradition in the RSPBA

The pipes|drums Survey

Published: December 31, 1999

The world’s pipers and drummers tell you how they feel about mid-section instruments and judging and how many bass and tenors should be allowed

 

Royal Mile March a Sponsored Spectacle

Published:

Some 1200 pipers and drummers turned out on the evening of December 30 at the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, to take part in a publicity stunt for tourists put on by Dewar’s whisky.

The throng of kilted musicians played from Edinburgh Castle to Hollyrood Palace as the famed Edinburgh thoroughfare was lined with camera-toting tourists. The High Street was festooned with Dewar’s banners, and company officials helped to organize the event.

To help attract band members, the sponsoring company offered £25 to each participating musician, and offered a “beverage” at Edinburgh University’s Pollock Halls after the march.

One piper described the event as “a hoot, man,” and clearly most of the 1200 pipers and drummers enjoyed themselves, even though they were clearly pitchmen and women for Dewar’s for a short time.

Confirmed reports state that Dewar’s company officials initially insisted that bands sponsored by rival distillers or brands cover up any sign of their affiliation before they could take part. These initial requests were quickly met with derision, and Dewar’s officials eventually gave in.

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What Makes an Alex Duthart Score a Masterpiece

Published:

By Doug Stronach

Think about all the drum scores you’ve ever played. Hundreds, perhaps thousands. Now think about all of the drum scores that you can remember, not including this year’s competition tunes. Ten, twenty? Not many, eh?

That’s because we write scores using drumming cliches—popular sticking combinations. We use them again and again because they sound good and they feel good to play. Unfortunately each new score we write tends to sound like the last one.

Scores that are memorable are often simple. By that I don’t mean easy to play, I mean thoughtfully and musically married to their pipe tune. We shrug off the massed band scores because they’re too repetitive, but it’s repetition that makes symphonies or pop songs into classics. Let’s not forget piobaireachd as well.

What I’d like to do is take you through a score that has become a classic. Every year Grade One bands and soloists the world over play Alex Duthart’s Cameronian Rant.” There are countless imitations

Masterwork 2

Published:

Masters of Piobaireachd, Volume 2, Greentrax Recordings

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

Reviewed by Bill Livingstone

Masters of Piobaireachd Volume 2 presents thoughts, oral instruction augmented by singing, and the playing of Robert Nicol and Robert Brown. It is entirely devoted to piobaireachd, and is handsomely packaged with interesting and instructive notes on the tunes, a brief biography of John MacDonald, and tributes from Andrew Wright and John Hanning. Intelligently edited, it brings together various recordings of the two Bobs made principally in the early 1970s.

The predictable conclusion to a review of this CD is almost certain to be that it’s terrific, enlightening, and indispensable to the piobaireachd enthusiast. So let me get that out of the way—it’s all of the above and more.

Most serious pipers will have heard, or have copies of at least some of the many tape recordings made of the ceol mor playing, singing, and instruction of Nicol and Brown. Indeed, it seems that in Canada at least, several pipers have copies of one or the other of the two Bobs playing or singing most of the piobaireachd repertoire. At last, this series collects and organizes this disparate material, and delivers it in every high quality, unlike the muddy sounding 20th generation duplicates that I have usually heard.

What makes this CD so important, of course, is that it represents the accumulated knowledge of two men who devoted a significant, if not the major portion of their lives to the study of piobaireachd. Their knowledge of the repertoire and understanding of pulse, tempo, and light and shade, was profound, and clearly shows in this CD. Importantly, they were both very good players, and it’s relatively rare that serious competitors have the time or motivation to acquire knowledge of ceol mor in such a broad way. One is simply too busy learning competition repertoire, and set tunes to be a scholar as well.

But, words of caution: these men are steeped in the teaching and playing of John MacDonald and make no apology for the fact that they were trying to impart exactly what they learned from him, intact, without any gloss of their own added.

The world is now small. The travel and geographic restraints of earlier times have disappeared. It’s often been argued that the development of various schools” of playing arose because of those limitations. The connected world now means instant access to myriad styles

Andante Rescues World Solo Drumming

Published:

Andante Percussion of Banbridge, Northern Ireland, has stepped in to sponsor the World Solo Drumming Championships in Scotland after long time sponsor Premier withdrew because of increased demands from the RSPBA.

Sources say that Premier pulled out of underwriting the event after the RSPBA asked the drum company to potentially share sponsorship with other organizations. Premier reportedly demanded exclusivity to the event and also asked the RSPBA to lower its title rate from the £7,000 the company had paid previously.

The World Solo Drumming Championships will be held on February 26, 2000, at the Bathgate Academy in Bathgate, Scotland.

It is not clear as to what the terms of Andante’s financial commitment are.

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Surf’s Up

Published:

At The Beach, Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, Monarch Klub Records (CDMON 836)

At The Beach, the first CD from the Los Angeles Scots, contains 17 tracks, of which eight feature the full band. The rest are a mixture of solo tracks, a duet, solo on Deger pipes, pipe corps/percussion and pipe/guitar combos. The sleeve notes are a bit brief, not mentioning the piper on track five (although I assume it is Seumas Coyne), and the names of the tracks are mixed up in track eight.

The pipe band tracks overall have a bright and well pipe section set tone, very reminiscent of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band—hardly a surprise given the connections between the two bands. The balance of pipes and drums is generally good throughout At The Beach. What’s lacking is a better resonance from the bass drum, though, and it needs to be more dominant. The use of harmonies is plentiful, but in the main enhances the music.

The L.A. Scots play in an enjoyable, very relaxed manner. It is a few years since I heard them and they certainly are moving upwards steadily. The only faults I would pick here are the odd lapses in the unison and blowing.

The pure pipe band tracks very much follow the predictable music of the bands: MSR, hornpipes, selection 6/8s, 9/8s, 3/4s—no real surprises on the content side. There are some fine tunes scattered through the recording, such as the popular 6/8 Bruce Gandy’s Farewell to the Iron Horse

RSPBA in Turmoil?

Published:

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has continued its year of turmoil as the organization struggles to redefine its role in the pipe band world.

Executive Officer Iain White has allegedly announced that he will step down from the RSPBA’s most important post after the organization’s annual general meeting in March 2000. White reportedly will stay on until then so that he can attend the AGM, which is expected to be a heated session.

At the most recent meeting of the Glasgow Branch of the RSPBA, Matt Connell, Chairman of the RSPBA and a member of the branch, was given a vote of no confidence, thus setting the stage for his inability to stand again for the Chairmanship.

One observer described the situation as “a shambles.”

In other RSPBA news, the organization’s ad hoc ‘Millennium Committee’ is on the verge of presenting its much anticipated report outlining recommendations for the future.

It is thought by many that one of the most significant proposals will be for the RSPBA to set conflict of interest rules that will prevent merchants in piping and drumming paraphernalia from judging.

The Millennium Committee report will also address marketing and management issues, and provide a vision for the RSPBA for two, five and 10 years in the future.

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Polkemmet Still Together, Looking to Return to Grade 1

Published:

The Polkemmet Pipe Band is still together and reportedly practicing hard to return to Grade 1 status as quickly as possible.

The band had reputedly broken up some weeks ago, but, according to Pipe Major Steven Young, has added players, is practcing regularly, and looking forward to the new season.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association downgraded the well established Grade 1 band to Grade 2 after the 1999 season, along with three other Scottish bands. Polkemmet has accepted the relegation, and there are no reports that it will be appealed.

“We’re obviously very disappointed at the downgrading but are currently practicing hard for the new season,” said Pipe Major Steven Young. “Our numbers have grown since last year and we’re very confidant of a quick return to Grade 1.”

Other bands relegated to Grade 2 are Ravara, Grampian Police, and Lothian & Borders Police. With new a new Pipe Major, Lead Drummer, and personnel on board, Lothian & Borders have appealed the RSPBA’s decision and are hoping to be in Grade 1 for the 2000 season.

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CPA Asks Members for Opinions on Judges

Published:

The Competing Pipers Association has distributed a survey to its members around the world asking for their feedback on their level of respect for and faith in piping judges who commonly adjudicate professional events.

The survey is thought to be a first in the history of piping, and is the first big move by the CPA’s new executive.

Members are asked for feedback on more than 50 judges in both piobaireachd and light music. Each judge receives a mark out of four options, from total faith to complete misgivings.

Also included on the list are several North American judges, including Archie Cairns, Bob Worrall, and Willie Connell. The inclusion of North Americans is seen by some as a move by the CPA to become more worldwide.

This is a brilliant and extraordinary step by the CPA

THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
January 28, 1908Sir Jimmy Shand, MBE, born, East Wemyss, Scotland.
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