May 31, 2004

Burning questions answered at Scottish Championships

Pipes|drums posed several questions in its preview story on the Scottish Pipe Band Championships, held on May 22 at Dumbarton, Scotland.

Reader Steve Roberts suggests that we investigate whether answers were supplied to some of the questions.

Here’s our take on what was learned at the Scottish:

How will Clan Gregor do as a Grade 1 band?

Clan Gregor certainly proved that they hold up well in the premier grade, finishing a respectable 12th overall, and ahead of several well-established Grade 1 bands. Clan Gregor was placed 9th in drumming. This was a solid debut for the band.

Will Field Marshal Montgomery continue at the same high standard with interim Pipe-Major Alistair Dunn?

Field Marshal laid this question to rest by winning the contest. With Richard Parkes on hand to assist with tuning, Field Marshal turned in another vintage performance.

Will House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead again dominate Grade 1 drumming?

Jim Kilpatrick’s corps may yet dominate, but not on this day. HOE-Shotts was placed 4th in drumming.

Will the new Glasgow Pipes & Drums be the realistic contender it’s expected to be?

Yes, without a doubt. For all purposes, Glasgow Pipes & Drums are a new band, starting its competition history in Grade 1. GPD finished 8th, with P-M Don Bradford’s group taking up pretty much where he left off with David Urquhart Travel in 2003.

How will David Urquhart Travel do with new Pipe-Major Chris Armstrong in charge of its revamped pipe and drums sections?

Since David Urquhart Travel never took part in the Scottish, this gets a solid “TBD.”

Was Boghall & Bathgate’s fourth-place finish at Dunbar just an anomaly?

Yes, totally. Boghall & Bathgate placed third at the Scottish, foreshadowing bigger things for this band that historically gets stronger as the season progresses.

How will House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead use its tenor drums?

Mixed opinions on this one, from those listening to the event. Because tenor drumming has become so subjective, what’s tasteful to some isn’t to others. One thing is sure: Shotts continues to extend the possibilities of the bass section.

Will Drambuie-Kirkliston contend in Grade 2 under new Pipe-Major Ian Duncan?

Obviously, with Drambuie-Kirkliston winning the Grade 2 event, they more than contend. Perhaps the talk of the day, Drambuie now have pundits buzzing about the band’s move to Grade 1 in 2005.


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