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Allan Russell nearly perfect at Cupar

Published: June 15, 2014

Allan Russell [photo: Derek Maxwell]

Cupar, Scotland – June 14, 2014 – Allan Russell won three events and was second in the other for a superlative day at the Cupar Highland Games in Fife, Scotland. The event had a smaller entry than usual, mainly due to the UK Pipe Band Championships running on the same day. After some initial confusion about the draw, the contest took place in warm and humid conditions weather.

Open
Piobaireachd
1st Michael Elder
2nd Allan Russell
3rd Robert Gibb
4th Jamie Forrester
5th Craig Martin
6th Grieg Wilson
Judges: Robert Barnes, Andrew Wright

March
1st Allan Russell
2nd Grieg Wilson
3rd Michael Elder
4th Craig Martin
5th Robert Gibb
6th Jamie Forrester
Judge: Iain MacLellan

Strathspey & Reel
1st Allan Russell
2nd Craig Martin
3rd Michael Elder
4th Greig Wilson
5th Robert Gibb
6th Jamie Forrester
Judge: Iain MacLellan

Jig
1st Allan Russell
2nd Michael Elder
3rd Greig Wilson
4th Robert Gibb
5th Craig Martin
Judge: Iain MacLellan

Juvenile
Piobaireachd
1st Calum Wynd
2nd James Millar
Judges: Robert Barnes, Andrew Wright

March
1st James Millar
2nd Calum Wynd
3rd Calum Douglas
4th Jordan Ednie
5th Eubanks Bailey
6th Kay Russell
Judge: Iain MacLellan

Strathspey & Reel
1st James Millar
2nd Calum Douglas
3rd Calum Wynd
4th Jordan Ednie
5th Jean Bailey
6th Kay Russell
Judge: Iain MacLellan

Wellington events won by Williams and Horsburgh

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Marion Horsburgh

Wellington, New Zealand – June 14, 2014 – The Wellington Pipers Club held the 62nd annual Brown Cup and Everest piobaireachd events at the Royal New Zealand Police College, where Tracey Williams won the piobaireachd event and Marion Horsburgh the light music. John Hanning and Nigel Foster judged both events.

Everest Piobaireachd
1st Tracey Williams, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
2nd Marion Horsburgh, “Scarce of Fishing”
3rd Andrew Edwards, “Lament for Donald Duaghal Mackay”

Brown Cup (MSRAJH)
1st Marion Horsburgh
2nd Ross Horsburgh
3rd Tracey Williams

78th Frasers win Georgetown; Grade 2 Ottawa Police win Grade 1 piping, finish 2nd

Published: June 14, 2014

The 78th Fraser Highlanders leave the Georgetown field with the Grade 1 trophy.

Georgetown, Ontario – June 14, 2014 – The 78th Fraser Highlanders hung on to win the Grade 1 competition on ensemble preference, but the big story of the day was the Grade 2 Ottawa Police Services finishing second in the Grade 1 event, taking two firsts in piping, and narrowly missing beating all three certified Grade 1 bands in the competition. Weather was warm and sunny in the afternoon, but chilly in the morning, temperatures struggling to get above 13 degrees until 11 am. Ian K. MacDonald was the Professional Piper of the Day, while Tyler Harris took the equivalent honour in the amateur category.

Full video coverage of the Grade 1 and Grade 2 pipe band events follows. Be sure to subscribe to the pipes|drums Magazine YouTube Video Channel to see our library of hundreds of piping, drumming and pipe band videos.

Bands
Grade 1 (MSR, four competed)
1st 78th Fraser Highlanders (2,2,2,1)
2nd Ottawa Police Services (1,1,3,2)
3rd Peel Regional Police (3,4,1,3)
4th Toronto Police (4,3,4,4)
Judges: Colin MacLellan, Reay Mackay (piping); Alan Savage (drumming); Bob Worrall (ensemble)


Grade 2 (medley, one played)
Ottawa Police Services

Grade 3
1st Paris/Port Dover
2nd Windsor Police
3rd Toronto Police
Drumming: Hamilton Police

Grade 4 (march medley, eight competed)
1st Rob Roy
2nd Lindsay
3rd Chatham Kent
4th Grand Celtic
Drumming: Rob Roy

Grade 5
1st Paris/Port Dover (Gr5)
2nd Hamilton Police (Gr5)
3rd Lindsay (Gr5)
Drumming: Hamilton Police

Professional Solo Piping
Piobaireachd
A-Grade
1st Ian K. MacDonald
2nd Andrew Hayes
3rd Andrew Berthoff
4th Ed Bush
5th Andrea Boyd
Judge: Colin MacLellan

March
1st Andrew Hayes
2nd Andrea Boyd
3rd Andrew Berthoff
4th Ian K. MacDonald
5th Jacob Dicker
Judge: John Elliott

Strathspey & Reel
1st Andrew Hayes
2nd Andrea Boyd
3rd Ian K. MacDonald
4th Jacob Dicker
5th Nick Hudson
Judge: Ken Eller

Jig
1st Ian K. MacDonald
2nd Doug MacRae
3rd Nick Hudson
4th Andrew Berthoff
5th Andrea Boyd
Judge: Ed Neigh

Field Marshal Montgomery wins first-ever UK Championship in Northern Ireland

Published:

FMM-logoStormont, Northern Ireland – June 14, 2014 – Field Marshal Montgomery won the innagural UK Championships at Stormont, Northern Ireland, near Belfast, continuing the band’s run of consecutive RSPBA major titles, now at seven. The UK Championships took the place of the Cowal Championships on the RSPBA rotation of majors. The competition also marked the return of the Ballycoan Pipe Band of Northern Ireland to Grade 1 competition have several years’ hiatus.

Grade 1 (MSR, 13 competed)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (1,1,14)
2nd ScottishPower (2,2,2,5)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (4,4,4,1)
4th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (3,6,5,2)
5th Inveraray & District (5,3,7,3)
6th Shotts & Dkyehead Caledonia (7,7,3,6)
Drumming: Field Marshal Montgomery
Judges: John McCarlie, John Moles (piping); Sandy Russell (drumming); Tony Sloan (ensemble)

Grade 2 (medley, 12 competed)
1st Bleary & District
2nd Lomond & Clyde
3rd Torphichen & Bathgate
4th Buchan Peterson
5th Manor Cunningham
6th Glasgow Skye
Drumming: Lomond & Clyde
Judges: Cameron Edgar, Ian Wood (piping); Gordon Craig (drumming); Ciaran Mordaunt (ensemble)

Jeannie Campbell receives MBE for Services to Piping

Published: June 13, 2014

Jeannie Campbell [photo: Ned Lecic]

Jean Campbell of Glasgow was made a Member of the British Empire for services to piping on this year’s annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced on June 13, 2014.

Campbell’s contributions to the art include several books and numerous articles on piping, as well as regular reporting on piping competitions. For many years she worked with the late Seumas MacNeill, and has dedicated much of her time to studying bagpipe makers.

Her book, Highland Bagpipe Makers, is considered the best source so far on manufacturers known to have produced the great pipe.

Pipers and drummers are infrequently recognized in the Queen’s Honours for their work, but recipients have included Roddy MacLeod (MBE), Captain John A. MacLellan (MBE), Gavin Stoddart (BEM), Jim Kilpatrick (MBE), Iain MacLellan (BEM), Richard Parkes (MBE) and Donald MacLeod (MBE).

Despite his substantial and often pioneering work for piping, Seumas MacNeill never received a “gong” from Buckingham Palace.

pipes|drums congratulates Jeannie Campbell on her official recognition for many years of contributions to piping.

At 90, Victoria Association gets all tartaned up

Published: June 12, 2014

VHPBA_logoThe RSPBA might claim to be the world’s biggest and most powerful pipe band association, but it will never be the oldest. That honour belongs to the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association of Australia, which this year celebrates its ninetieth anniversary, and will mark the milestone with the unveiling of their own tartan.

The VHPBA tartan, which, according to a statement from the VHPBA, features “the colours of Victoria and shades depicting the natural bush and gardens, the earth and gold,” will be introduced on June 14th at a special ceremony in Melbourne. The tartan has been recognized officially by the Scottish Registry of Tartans.

The event will see pipers and drummers gather from across the state of Victoria to celebrate the birthday of the VHPBA, which was formed at a meeting in Geelong, Australia, in 1924, seven years before the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The VHPBA tartan

The history of the VHPBA includes an all‐female pipe band travelling to Scotland in the 1920s, a band of mostly of Victorians on a UK tour in the 1950s, and, most famous of all, the 1998 win of the World Pipe Band Championship by the now-defunct Victoria Police Pipe Band.

“In the 1950s and 1960s, Victoria welcomed hundreds of Scottish immigrants armed with pipes and drums who played a big role in the development of appreciation and participation in Scottish culture,” said VHPBA President Tim McLeod. “Every community in Victoria has experienced the stirring sights and sounds of a pipe band at some time over the last 90 years, and Saturday will be a special celebration of the contributions we have made to the social fabric of Victoria and the advancement of pipe bands since Victoria led the world and formed a pipe band association.”

Harvey Ritch, 1927-2014

Published: June 11, 2014
Harvey Ritch in his famous shop.

Harvey Ritch in his famous shop.

The southeastern United States lost one of the legendary and groundbreaking characters of its comparatively short pipe band history on Sunday, June 8, 2014, with the passing of Harvey Ritch, 86, of Linville, North Carolina. Ritch died after continuing decline in his health over the past few years. He was under hospice care at the time of his passing.

Harvey Ritch began his piping career as a member of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Caledonian Pipe Band under the instruction of the late P-M Jack Smith (ex-H.L.I. and piper for Sir Harry Lauder’s traveling American shows) in the mid-1960s. He was recruited to the group because he was known to been enthusiastic after hearing pipe music in the movie “Gunga Din” as well as the circulated rumour that he owned an LP album of bagpipe music.

Harvey’s growing interest in the bagpipes, and all things Scottish, led to his resignation from a quite lucrative career in print media advertising to pursue his new passion as a retailer of Scottish goods – prominently including piping and drumming supplies (the first storefront Scottish retailer in the South). He was also passionate about passing along his interest in piping, particularly to young people. This led to his formation of a new pipe band, one that focused on competitive success based on other North American standards of play, in Charlotte around 1970.

The Charlotte Scottish Pipe Band, which rose from Grade 4 to Grade 2 under his leadership and that of Pipe-Major Al McMullin, who had relocated to North Carolina and led the band for a couple of years. A number of top players in the Eastern United States, including several of those from the blossoming piping community of the Carolinas which bore the fruit of Harvey’s teaching from that era, passed through the band’s ranks during that band’s relatively short history. The drum corps of that band, in cooperation with a pipe section from the Wilmington, Delaware, area went on to win . . .

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Wake up to three separate bands, upgrade, for 2015

Published: June 9, 2014

Wake_District_logo_smallThe Grade 4 Wake & District Public Safety Pipes & Drums of Raleigh, North Carolina, has made known to the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association that it intends to move up a grade and sustain bands in Grade 4 and Grade 5 by 2015.

Wake & District has added players to its Grade 4 and Grade 5 rosters, now numbering more than 70 pipers and drummers in total through its program. So the group will divide and conquer by expanding with another band, plus the addition of a juvenile program in the shape of the Crossroads Kilty Pipe Band by 2016, in time for the organization’s 10th anniversary year.

With only 13 Grade 3 bands currently in the massive EUSPBA jurisdiction, the information was welcome news to association President Eric MacNeill, who Wake & District Band Manager Joe Brady said was “supportive.” The band sent a formal letter outlining its expansion and upgrading intentions to principals within the EUSPBA.

“We hope to see a few EUSPBA Grade 3 bands push themselves forward to Grade 2 next season,” Brady continued.

Wake_District_med

Wake & District Public Safety Pipes & Drums.

The organization’s competition program is being directed by Ken McKeveny (who leads the Grade 4 band) and drumming instructor Tom Foote, both professional level competitors and accredited judges on the EUSPBA circuit.

“We are opening a new chapter and want to transparent about how we continue to grow and how new members come into the band,” said Ken McKeveny, “we have policies in place to address this.”

“There is a really good piping scene in the Raleigh area,” said June Hanley, chair of the EUSPBA music board, “Wake & District is a big part of that, and . . . it is great to see good things happening down there.”

The EUSPBA was partially at the centre of a recent grading controversy after the RSPBA proactively upgraded the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highlanders to Grade 1. The EUSPBA is keeping the band in Grade 2.

SFU, Bonar ring true at Bellingham

Published: June 8, 2014
Bonar_Andrew_2011_03

Andrew Bonar

Bellingham, Washington – June 7, 2014 – Simon Fraser University won both Grade 1 events and Andrew Bonar swept the Professional Solo Piping at the annual Bellingham Games.

Bands
Grade 1
Medley
1st Simon Fraser University
2nd Triumph Street

MSR
1st Simon Fraser University
2nd Triumph Street

Grade 2
1st Robert Malcolm Memorial
2nd Portland Metro

Grade 3
1st Greighlan Crossing

Grade 4
1st White Spot (ens. pref.)
2nd Robert Malcolm Memorial
3rd Northwest Junior

Grade 5
1st White Spot (ens. pref.)
2nd Robert Malcolm Memorial

Solo Piping
Professional
Piobaireachd (10 competed)
1st Andrew Bonar, “The Battle of the Pass of Crieff”
2nd Andrew Lee, “The Big Spree”
3rd Alastair Lee, “His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie”
4th Myles Stewart, “Corrienessan’s Salute”
5th Brittney Otto
6th Joseph Stewart
Judge: Rene Cusson

MSR (11 competed)
1st Andrew Bonar
2nd Andrew Lee
3rd Alastair Lee
4th Myles Stewart
5th Richard Gillies
6th Brittney Otto
Judge: Alan Bevan

Roddy MacLeod wins 2014 MacDonald Quaich

Published: June 7, 2014

Roddy MacLeod with the 2014 Donald MacDonald Quaich [photo: Derek Maxwell]

Skye, Scotland – June 6, 2014 – Roddy MacLeod of Glasgow won the annual Donald MacDonald Quaich, an invitational competition that features the music of the great piper. MacLeod played “The Piper’s Warning to His Master.” The competition received even more support from the Clan Donald Trust, with increased prize money and compensation for judges.

Also competing were Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland, “The Old Lament for the Sword”; Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “Lady MacDonald’s Lament”; Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland, “The White Flag”; and Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, “The Groat.”

The event was judged by Colin MacLellan. Margaret Stewart provided additional music for the audience.

Donald MacDonald Invitational 2014 competitors, L-R: Stuart Liddell, Iain Speirs, Angus MacColl, Willie McCallum, Roddy MacLeod. [Photo: Derek Maxwell]

Allan MacDonald releases new mobile apps for basic piping tuition

Published:
Bagpipe_Apps_01

Screenshot from the Bagpipe Basics app.

Allan MacDonald is known for his stellar compositions, prize-winning success, and love of the Gaelic tradition, and now he’s added a new dimension to his repertoire with the release of the first in a series of mobile applications, developed with Thomas Zöller of Germany.

“Bagpipe Basics” has just been launched on Apple’s iTunes App Store for $3.99, and is intended to teach the basics of Highland piping to rank beginners. Described as “leaning how to play the bagpipes in the simplest way imaginable,” the app takes users through the fundamentals of the Highland pipe, including fingering, basic notation and how to play the scale in an animated and interactive way.

Allan MacDonald

Allan MacDonald

MacDonald and Zöller have created several games designed to train the learner’s ear and take quizzes on fingering and notation.

The developers plan to release three more apps in 2014: “The Canntaireachd Tutor” promises to teach the basics of the “ancient codified pipers’ language” for communicating tunes; “Bagpipe Flashcards” will bring will work on light music repertoire and the concept of “beat position” and even the fingering accidentals such as C-natural and F-natural; and the “The Bagpipe-App” will be a resource to “interrelate the terminology, rhythmic subtleties, finger technique, canntaireachd and the notation through an ‘atomistic approach,’ presenting learners with the vocabulary that makes the poem, as it were.”

The apps are and will be available in English and German.

Allan MacDonald is a winner of the Clasp at the Northern Meeting in 1989 and 1990, and has worked to uncover and resurrect a style of Highland piping that reflects Gaelic culture of 1550-1750. His study in the correlation between piobaireachd and Gaelic song was seen as pioneering work in the 1990s in his self-described attempt to “reverse the effects of post-industrial sanitization and cultural colonialism.”

The apps promise to draw upon the connection between the Gaelic language and modern piping: “In our apps we provide audio recordings of its pronunciation that offer direct access even for those that have not been exposed to this Celtic language so far.”

Thomas Zöller is a Highland piping innovator and a member of the folk group As a’ Phìob (Out of the Pipes). He has a bachelor’s degree in Scottish music from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

UNB embraces ceol mor with 78th pipers

Published: June 4, 2014
MacLean_Rod_78Halifax_Worlds2012_small

Roderick MacLean

The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is taking an unusual interest in the classical music of the Highland pipe, with a Piobaireachd Festival on June 7th featuring four members of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band, which will be equal parts entertainment and education.

Pipe-Major Alex Gandy, Bruce Gandy, Andy Rogers and former pipe-major Roderick MacLean will wow the crowd at the university’s Memorial Hall, each playing a piece of ceol mor at the event, which is sponsored by two pubs and a beer company.

Gandy_Alex_Aug_2013_small

Alex Gandy

The four will participate in a workshop the following day, and the recital will be prefaced with a lecture on piobaireachd. MacLean will play “The Battle of Aldearn” and Rogers “The Blue Ribbon.” Both Gandys haven’t said what they will perform, keeping everyone in suspense.

The event is part of the university’s college of extended learning, and organized by Associate Professor Dr. Mike Farnworth of the economics department. Tickets range from $20 to $10.

 

African Skye marches on at De la Salle

Published: June 2, 2014

AfricanSkye_logoDe la Salle, South Africa – May 31, 2014 – A sunny and warm winter’s day marked the midway point of the South African pipe band contest season, with African Skye making it four wins in four contests, taking the De la Salle Highland Gathering. The Transvaal Scottish drum section, however, remains unbeaten.

Grade 2
Medley
1st African Skye (Gr2) (1,1,3,1)
2nd Benoni MacTalla (3,2,1,3)
3rd Transvaal Scottish (Gr2) (2,3,2,2)
Judges: Laurence Davies,Geoff Irvine (piping); Ewen Gilchrist (ensemble); Dave Jeffrey (drumming)

MSR
1st African Skye (Gr2) (1,1,2,2)
2nd Transvaal Scottish (Gr2) (3,2,1,1)
3rd Benoni MacTalla (2,3,3,3)
Judges: Roy Blevins,David Harris (piping); Roger Davies (ensemble); Duncan Tee (drumming)

The Grade 2 African Skye looking confident at De la Salle [Photo: C. Holz]

Grade 3
1st Glen Allen
2nd Sandton Scottish
3rd SA Irish

Grade 4
1st Transvaal Scottish (Gr4)
2nd Lyttelton Manor
3rd African Skye (Gr4)
4th Pretoria Highlanders
5th De La Salle Combined

Juvenile
1st Pretoria Boys Juvenile
2nd St Benedict’s Juvenile
3rd Benoni Juvenile

Novice Juvenile
1st Jeppe CBC Boksburg
2nd Benoni Novice Juvenile

Good at it, Geddes, at Markinch

Published: June 1, 2014

Markinch, Scotland – June 1, 2014 – William Geddes won both events in the open senior solo piping at the annual Markinch Highland Games against a relatively small turnout of contestants.

Piobaireachd
1st William Geddes
2nd Greig Canning
3rd Craig Muirhead
4th George Stewart
Judges: Andrew Frater, Andrew Wright

MSR
1st William Geddes
2nd George Stewart
3rd Greig Wilson
4th Greig Canning
Judges: Roderick Barron, Ian Duncan

2014 British Pipe Band Champions: Field Marshal Montgomery

Published: May 31, 2014

FMM-logoBathgate, Scotland – May 31, 2014 – Field Marshal Montgomery won the British Pipe Band Championship, the first of the five RSPBA majors in 2014. The band finished on top in the 12-band medley contest, in sunny and warm weather. It was the sixth consecutive RSPBA major win for the band. The 2014 British included a few other significant firsts in that it was the championship debut for Alen Tully as pipe-major of the St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band of Dublin, after taking the place of his father, Terry, following several decades in charge of the 2010 World Champions.

Results in Grade 1 were scattered, with Inveraray & District receiving a 10th and a 2nd in piping being one of the widest separations. ScottishPower was first overall in piping, but down in drumming, which St. Laurence O’Toole won. Hometown favourites Boghall & Bathgate were second, and Torphichen & Bathgate won Grade 2, overcoming Northern Ireland’s Bleary & District’s two firsts in piping. Bleary was buried by a ninth in ensemble.

The contest was also the first for the “Tiny Torphies,” the Grade 2 Torphichen & Bathgate Pipe Band’s new Novice Juvenile band, after a training program was started in 2011. The young band is led by Andrew Gray, whose younger sister, Rachel, is pipe-major of the James Gillespies High School Pipe Band of Edinburgh, and at age 18 is one of the youngest pipe-majors ever.

Grade 1 (medley, 12 entered)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (1,3,3,3)
2nd Boghall & Bathgate (5,4,2,1)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (3,7,1,2)
4th ScottishPower (2,1,7,5)
5th Inveraray & District (10,2,4,4)
6th Greater Glasgow Police (4,5,5,7)
Drumming: St. Laurence O’Toole
Judges: James Wark, Ronnie McShannon (piping); David Brown (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

Field Marshal Montgomery marching off with the 2014 British Championship trophy.

Grade 2 (MSR, 15 entered)
1st Torphichen & Bathgate (3,2,4,1)
2nd Buchan (4,5,1,2)
3rd Bleary & District (1,1,3,9)
4th Lomond & Clyde (6,4,2,6)
5th Glasgow Skye (7,3,5,4)
6th Mackenzie Caledonia (2,8,8,5)
Drumming: Buchan
Judges: James Campbell, William Garrett (piping); Sandy Steele (drumming); Trevor Dear (ensemble)

Barry Wilson confirms 2014 will be final season with ScottishPower

Published: May 30, 2014

Barry Wilson in a 2010 photo.

Following the 2014 UK pipe band season, the Grade 1 ScottishPower Pipe Band will be without Leading-Drummer Barry Wilson, who confirmed to pipes|drums that he will retire after 12 years with the band.

Although Wilson has shared his intentions, ScottishPower Pipe-Major Chris Armstrong said that the 2014 competition campaign is fully on, with full focus on the events ahead.

“We are very much concentrating on the job at hand, and the rest is a secondary concern,” Armstrong said about the situation.

Wilson said that his decision was for “personal reasons.”

Several high-profile candidates are said to be possible replacements to Wilson, but none have confirmed their intentions.

The 42-year-old Wilson is a four-time winner of the World Solo Drumming Championship, and has been Leading-Drummer of ScottishPower since 2002, working first with Pipe-Major Roddy MacLeod and then with Armstrong. He started in 1982 with the Mauchline & District Pipe Band, a few years later joined the Killoch Colliery Pipe Band, and after only five years playing became a member Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, where he stayed for 15 years playing under Kilpatrick.

The news comes on the brink of the first RSPBA major, the British Championships in Bathgate, Scotland, on Saturday, May 31st,, at which ScottishPower is drawn first on in the 12-band medley contest.

Considered one of the greatest pipe band drummers of all time, Barry Wilson was a featured performer with Chris Armstrong at the 2012 Pipes+Drums Recital at Piping Live! sponsored by pipes|drums Magazine.

ScottishPower began its season at Dunfermline last week, debuting a new medley that was widely applauded for its musical ingenuity.

pipes|drums published a “10 Questions With . . .” interview with Wilson in 2008. He won the World Solo Drumming four straight times, from 2007 to 2010.

Carlisle rises to McIntosh Challenge

Published: May 28, 2014

Andrew Carlisle [photo: pipes|drums]

Greenville, South Carolina – May 23, 2014 – Andrew Carlisle of Pittsburgh was the winner of the second annual Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Challenge, part of the Greenville Scottish Games. Jackez Pincet of Brittany judged the event.

Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Challenge
1st Andrew Carlisle, “Lament for the Children”
2nd E.J. Jones, Asheville, North Carolina, “Beloved Scotland”
3rd Bobby Minnear, Atlanta, “The King’s Taxes”
4th Bill Caudill, Laurinburg, North Carolina, “Lament for Captain MacDougall”
5th Michael Rogers, Silver Spring, Maryland, “The MacDougalls’ Gathering”
6th Alastair Murray, Moon, Pennsylvania, “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”

Also playing but not in the chips were Dan Lyden, Derek Midgley and Katy Rashid.

Glasgow Police working to sparkle in and out of the rain in August

Published:

The keyboardist who co-wrote and played on “Alive and Kicking” and many other hits with the 1980s Scottish pop group Simple Minds will put words into action with the Greater Glasgow Police Pipe Band at their “Ceolry” concert just before the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships.

The band has announced that former Simple Minds member Mick MacNeil will join them on the final segment of the first half of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall concert on August 13th when together they plan to perform renditions of “Belfast Child” (adapted from the traditional air, “She Moves Through the Fair”) and the reels “The Lads of Mull” and “Ridhle Mo Nighean Donn” from the band’s “Dolina MacKay” medley. MacNeil has strong family ties with the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s outer Hebrides.

“Hopefully, this will add something a little different to the concert to go along with the MSR, medley, drum fanfare, etc.,” said Pipe-Major Duncan Nicholson, who  added that “preparation for the concert is going well and we hope to have something for everyone coming along.”

Earlier in the year the Greater Glasgow Police Pipe Band announced the addition of award winning Gaelic singer Rachel Walker to the bill.

Mick MacNeil earned a few of his stripes with Simple Minds.

With Walker and MacNeil on board, and Nicholson with Hebridean roots, the concert continues to round out a strong Highland flavour to the event. MacNeil co-wrote several song that reached number-one status in the UK and around the world, and individually has recorded more than 15 albums, mostly with in a Scottish traditional vein, but with a heavy digital influence.

In addition to MacNeil’s predilection for number-one hits, he also has a penchant for number-one pipe band tunics.

Australia gets a jolt at the top with resurrection of City of Whitehorse

Published: May 27, 2014

Former Clan Gregor Pipe Band Pipe-Major George Shepherd is leading a new band in the Melbourne area built on the four-years-dormant Grade 1 Nunawading Pipe Band / Australia Highlanders, reforming as the City of Whitehorse, with an eye on the top grade, with some 21 pipers on the books to start. The band plans to come out strong with the start of the Australia season in December of this year.

City of Whitehorse has Olav Goud as leading-drummer, bringing a resume of experience in Grade 1 with the likes of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Polkemmet and Lothian & Borders Police under his belt in Scotland. The Pipe-Sergeant is R.J. Houston, formerly with the Australia Highlanders and originally from the Vancouver area, playing in the Simon Fraser University organization with Robert Malcolm Memorial. Kirsty McLellan is lead-tenor with experience in Shotts & Dykehead in the late-1990s and early-2000s.

The band is already planning to compete at the New Zealand Championships in 2015 and hit Scotland and the World Championships in 2016.

George Shepherd

“The initial response and uptake has been very promising,” Shepherd said. “Currently I have 21 pipers on roster, which is somewhat of a rarity in the Southern Hemisphere. Low numbers are always a concern for bands on the Australian circuit. Olav and Kirsty also have healthy numbers throughout the drum core so it looks well for the future.”

Shepherd is best known for his leadership of the now-defunct Clan Gregor of Scotland when the band in its first year in Grade 1 made the prize-list of an RSPBA major, taking fifth at the European Championship in 2004. The band won Grade 2 at the World’s the previous year with Shepherd as pipe-sergeant. He immigrated to Australia in 2006.

The assets of the Australia Highlanders were looked after following the band’s hiatus in 2010 after Pipe-Major Danny Boyle and Leading-Drummer Alastair Boyle resigned, after the band cancelled plans to compete at the World’s that year, citing costs. Following the 2014 Australian Championships the band was officially reformed, under the City of Whitehorse name.

Located near Melbourne, the suburbs of Box Hill and Nunawading amalgamated in 1994 to become the City of Whitehorse.

The pipe section will use sheepskin bags and cane drone reeds with Shepherd chanters, while the drum section will use Andante instruments. Grade 1 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonian bass-section leader Stevie McQuillan’s Pro-Line company will outfit the bass and tenors, and the Go Drumming company will also contribute to the City of Whitehorse corps.

As for the grade of the new band, Shepherd said, “We will be at the mercy of the local grading committee – and hopefully we’re good on the day. We’ll fit in where they see fit. The goal of the team is to establish and maintain a band capable of competing on an international stage in the premier grade.”

The Australia pipe band scene has grown thinner in the top grades in the last five years, with only a handful of bands competing in Grade 1 in the expansive country. The Western Australia Police won the 2014 Australian Pipe Band Championship with a group rounded out with guest players, topping the Queensland Highlanders and Moorabin City, the only other Grade 1 bands in the country.

“I’m looking forward to the season ahead with great excitement and optimism,” Shepherd continued. “We have a fantastic blend of youth and experience within the group. The initial response and commitment has blown us away. The leadership team we have in place all read from the same page sharing a burning desire to build a band capable of competing on an international level.”

78th Halifax in command at Kingston

Published: May 26, 2014

Kingston, Ontario – May 24, 2014 – The 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) were the winners of both events in a two-band Grade 1 contest at the Kingston Scottish Festival. The strong turnout of competitors and spectators at the event experienced mixed weather throughout the day. The competition is not a sanctioned PPBSO event, but the solo results are counted towards the organization’s Champion Supreme annual aggregate points.

The 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) marching on to the park at the 2014 Kingston Scottish Festival. [Photo: Katherine Ann Howe]

Grade 1 (two competed)
Medley
1st 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citade) (1,1,1,2)
2nd Peel Regional Police (2,2,2,1)
Judges: Bob Worrall, Ed Neigh (piping); Ken Eller (ensemble); Greg Dinsdale (drumming)

MSR
1st 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (1,1,1,2)
2nd Peel Regional Police (2,2,2,1)
Judges: Ken Eller, Ed Neigh (piping); Bob Worrall (ensemble); Greg Dinsdale (drumming)

Grade 3 (six competed)
1st Paris-Port Dover 1,1,1,3)
2nd Toronto Police (4,4,3,2)
3rd Hamilton Police (6,5,2,1)
Bob Worrall, Brian Williamson (piping); Ken Eller (ensemble); Greg Dinsdale (drumming)

Grade 4 (seven competed)
1st Rob Roy (1,1,1,2)
2nd Arnprior McNab (2,2,2,3)
3rd Black Watch (3,3,3,5)
Ken Eller, Ed Neigh (piping); Bob Worrall (ensemble); Greg Dinsdale (drumming)

Grade 5 (Seven competed)
1st Hamilton Police (1,2,1,1)
2nd Barrie (2,1,2,3)
3rd Rob Roy (3,3,3,2)
Ken Eller, Bob Worrall (piping); Ed Neigh (ensemble); Greg Dinsdale (drumming)

McCallister, McCready, Muirhead gather prizes at Atholl

Published: May 25, 2014

Gordon McCready with the Glenfiddich sponsored prize for overall champion at the 2014 Atholl Gathering. [Photo: Derek Maxwell]

Blair Atholl, Scotland – May 25, 2014 – About 30 pipers turned out for the annual Atholl Gathering, where cool and showery weather was not as bad as was forecast. Numbers were down slightly from previous years, but still a healthy turnout for one of the Scottish solo piping circuit’s more popular events. There were two heats for each light music event, with two judges taking each heat. All for light music judges assessed the final round. Gordon McCready was the overall winner on the day.

Piobaireachd
A-Grade
1st Peter McCallister, Dunblane, Scotland, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
2nd Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh, “Glengarry’s March”
3rd Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland, “Lament for the Only Son”
4th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland, “The Battle of Waternish”
5th Michael Elder, Auchtermuchty, Scotland, “The Groat”
6th William Geddes, Dumfries, Scotland, “Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”
Judges: Murray Henderson, Bill Wotherspoon

B-Grade
1st Gordon Barclay, Skye, Scotland, “Black Donald’s March”
2nd George Stewart, Perth, Scotland, “Too Long in This Condition”
3rd Keith Bowes, Inchinnan, Scotland, “Lament for MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart” No. 1
4th Sandy Cameron, Roybridge, Scotland, “The Blind Piper’s Obstinacy”
5th Neil Clark, Drumnadrochit, , Scotland, “Corrienessan’s Salute”
Judges: Colin MacLellan, Andrew Wright

C-Grade
1st Scott Barrie
2nd John Cameron
3rd Peter Skae
4th Ben Mulhearn
5th Brian Mulhearn
Judges: Stuart Shedden, Ronnie Clark

Open Light Music
MSR
1st Gordon McCready
2nd Scott Barrie, Ayrshire
3rd William Geddes
4th Angus J MacColl, Benderloch
5th Peter Hunt, Irvine
6th Craig Muirhead, Stirling

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Craig Muirhead
2nd Jenny Hazzard
3rd Gordon McCready
4th Steven Leask, Ayrshire
5th William Geddes
6th Allan Russell

Light music judges: James Banks, Patricia Henderson, John MacDougall, Robert Wallace

Shotts throws down the gauntlet at Dunfermline

Published: May 24, 2014

PrintDunfermline, Scotland – May 24, 2014 – Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia made a statement by winning at Dunfermline against ScottishPower, which finished second. Shotts has been in a rebuilding phase for the last two years, following the appointment of Ryan Canning as Pipe-Major. ScottishPower has established itself as an elite Grade 1 band, so the Shotts victory adds a new twist to the 2014 RSPBA Grade 1 season. Police Scotland Fife withdrew from the event.

Grade 1
1st Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (2,2,1,1)
2nd ScottishPower (1,1,2,2)
Drumming: Shotts & Dykehead
Judges: Jim Campbell, Malcolm MacKenzie (piping); Peter Snaddon (ensemble); John McInnes (drumming)

Shotts & Dykehead at Dunfermline Games, May 24, 2014.

ScottishPower at Dunfermline Games, May 24, 2014

Ballycoan first top-grade band to go with Cleland carbon fibre drums

Published: May 21, 2014

The Grade 1 Ballycoan Pipe Band of Belfast has become the first band in the top grade to “take delivery” of a complete set of carbon fibre drums designed and produced by Cleland Instruments. The premium-priced snare drums have been on the market since 2009, with bass and tenors added in 2010.

Ballycoan is also the first band from Ireland to play Cleland drums, which feature carbon hoops – the first of their kind in the worldwide drum market. The bass and tenors use the same carbon hoop tensioning system as the snare, promising a more even drum head tension, according to the makers.

“These drums have really enhanced the ensemble of our band; the snare sound is so dynamic and rich, but the bass drum and tenors really do add a new dimension,” gushed Ballycoan Leading-Drummer Brendan Megoran in a news release. “These instruments are so rich in sound. The bass drum can be best described as sounding like a big vibrant bass guitar, really a joy to be playing in the band, the pipers love it! The tonal qualities and colours produced by the tenors also add brilliantly to the key changes and note variations on the chanter.”

Cleland carbon fibre snare drum.

The carbon fibre snare drums come at a steep price, with suggested list of $2,850 per drum. A 28″x16″ bass drums has a suggested price of $1,795. It is not known what Ballycoan paid for the instruments. By comparison, a Premier HTS 800 snare drum generally sells for about $675.

Cleland confirmed that the drums were provided to Ballycoan as part of a sponsorship/endorsement agreement. Most Grade 1 bands have similar agreements with drum manufacturers.

“We are delighted to have our drums played by this first-rate pipe band under the leadership of  [Ballycoan] Drum-Sergeant Brendan Megoran and Pipe-Major Richard McGrath,” commented Terry Cleland, developer of the instruments. Cleland is the Pipe-Major of the Grade 2 400 Squadron Pipe Band of Ontario, and is an expert in composite materials, including those used for high-performance racing cars.

The band previously played drums made by Andante of Northern Ireland.

Ballycoan is not entered for the British Championships at Bathgate, Scotland, on May 31st, but plans to compete in the new United Kingdom Championships June 14th in in Belfast with the new drums. The UK Championships took the place of the Cowal Championships in the RSPBA Rota of major competitions.

It will be the first RSPBA major championship for Ballycoan since 2010, before the band went on hiatus in a rebuilding phase. Despite the three-year gap, the RSPBA reinstated the band to Grade 1.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
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UPCOMING EVENTS October 3, 2014Kiltsandmore Workshop for BagpiperKiltsandmore Hauptstrasse 74, 69242 in Mulhouse

October 10, 2014Andrew Hayes ConcertAlbany, New York

October 11, 2014Leinster Solo ChampionshipsPalmerstown, Co. Dublin

October 11, 2014Indianapolis Highland Games Solo Piping ContestIndianapolis, IN

October 11, 2014The Nicol-Brown Amateur Invitational Piping CompetitionAlbany, New York

TIP OF THE DAY
Bands: When up to pitch, check your tuning chanter for pitch and balance.
Richard Parkes, P-M Field Marshal Montgomery