If not now, then when? If not you, then whom?

Published: November 30, 1997

[Originally published as an Editorial]

Most readers of the Piper & Drummer compete in piping, drumming, and pipe band events. Competition can make us see our world and our music in a critical light, making us perhaps too often too quick to judge in everything what’s good and what’s not, what’s better and what’s worse.

Pipers and drummers consequently are often overly critical of the people who make the whole thing work, the volunteers who organize competitions, who perform the administrative duties that allow us to hold events, to compete, and to better our arts.

Except for the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, which has the resources to appoint and pay a full time administrative staff, all other organizations cross their fingers and hope good people will voluntarily work for us.

An excellent example of tireless effort is that of Henry Roberts, president of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario for nine years. During that time, he has dedicated a staggering amount of his personal time to piping and drumming in Ontario. He didn’t have to work for us. He could have easily concentrated on family and fishing, but, instead, he did what he thought was right for the membership of the PPBSO.

For sure, no politician, whether professional or volunteer, will have his constituents in agreement 100% of the time, and Henry Roberts, as he would no doubt be the first to agree, is no exception.

Even the Piper & Drummer magazine is assembled and distributed largely on a voluntary basis. It’s hoped that our several thousand readers worldwide will gain something positive, whether it’s a tidbit of information, a laugh at a joke, or a particularly insightful comment from one of our many luminaries who basically volunteer their time and expertise for the good of all.

Every piping and pipe band organization around the world looks to volunteers to make it all work. Without exception, they all perform their tasks to the best of their ability, and for this they cannot be faulted.

Every so often it’s important to step back to realize and appreciate the good work the volunteers of the piping and drumming world do for all of us. We’re often too quick to attack, to point out perceived faults and inadequacies, and to insist volunteers act more like professionals. It must be difficult for these volunteers who try their best to do a good job, only to be criticized by those for whom they work.

With few exceptions, those who do the most grousing about the work of volunteers are the ones who sit back and do least. To these people we can only paraphrase the famous words of John Kennedy: ask not what your pipe band association can do for you, ask what you can do for your association.

The fall is a time when many pipe band associations in the northern hemisphere hold their annual general meetings. Occasionally, people who attend these meetings forget that the administrators are all amateurs trying to do things in their spare time as well as professionals. The truth is that, without volunteers, nothing would get done. It would be great if we could temper our customary competitive approach, and appreciate the efforts of those who could easily have chosen to do something else for themselves.

As this issue of the Piper & Drummer is the last during the presidency of Henry Roberts, we would like to say thanks, on behalf of pipers and drummers everywhere, for the effort you’ve made. And thanks, also, to pipers, drummers and enthusiasts around the world who volunteer their time, expertise, and good will for everyone’s benefit.



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McKerrell scoops up Livingstone


Hamilton, Ontario – May 10, 2008 - The 29th William Livingstone Memorial Invitational Solo Piping Competition was won by Simon McKerrell (pictured right) of Glasgow with a first-prize in the Light Music event and a second in the Piobaireachd.Piobaireachd1st James MacHattie, Toronto, “MacNeill of Barra’s March”2nd Simon McKerrell, “Mrs. MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute”3rd Lionel Tupman, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, “MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart” no. 2MSRHJ1st Simon McKerrell, “Knightswood Ceilidh,” “Atholl Cummers,” “Bessie McIntyre,” “Joe McGann’s Fiddle,” “The Baldooser”2nd Lionel Tupman, “John MacFadyen of Melfort,” “Tulloch Castle,” “John Morrison, Assynt House,” “Lucy Cassidy,” “The Loch Ness Monster”3rd James P. Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, “John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage,” “Susan MacLeod,” “The Smith of Chillichassie,” “The Henningham Reunion,” “Caber Feidh”Also competing but not in the prizes were Michael Grey, Dundas, Ontario; Seam McKeown, Toronto; and Will Nichols, Blaine, Washington.James MacHattie and Simon McKerrell celebrate their first-prizes at the 2008 Livingstone Invitational.Both events were judged by Reay Mackay, Robert Wallace and Bob Worrall.p|dWhat do you think? We always want to hear from our readers, so please use our comments system to provide your thoughts!Do you have competition results? Be sure to send them to pipes|drums. We can’t report what we don’t know about! Please remember to support the businesses that advertise and make the not-for-profit p|d possible.

McCallum takes down another Dan Reid


San Francisco – May 10, 2008 - Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, was the winner of the annual Dr. Dan Reid Memorial Invitational Solo Piping Competition and Recital held at the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel.MastersPiobaireachd1st Willie McCallum2nd Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia3rd Roddy MacLeod, GlasgowMSR1st Willie McCallum2nd Roddy MacLeod3rd Iain Speirs, EdinburghJig & Hornpipe1st Jack Lee2nd Andrew Hayes, Ottawa3rd Roddy MacLeodUrlar1st Iain Speirs2nd Willie McCallum3rd Roddy MacLeodCameron-GilliesPiobaireachd1st Alex Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia2nd Glenn Brown, Milton, Ontario3rd Andrea Boyd, Antigonish, Nova ScotiaMSR1st Alex Gandy2nd Glenn Brown3rd Andrea Boyd6/8 March1st Glenn Brown2nd Alex Gandy3rd Andrea Boydp|dWhat do you think? We always want to hear from our readers, so please use our comments system to provide your thoughts!Do you have competition results? Be sure to send them to pipes|drums. We can’t report what we don’t know about! Please remember to support the businesses that advertise and make the not-for-profit p|d possible.

September 20, 1961Donald Morrison wins Gold Medal at Inverness playing “Alisdair Dhearg”.
  • Instant replay
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Don’t start tuning chanters too soon; make sure that the band has blown long enough for the reeds to stabilize.
Richard Parkes, P-M Field Marshal Montgomery