June 30, 2012

Glasgow gets ready for monthly SPA treatments

Taking the cue from the success of the resurrected Eagle Pipers Society of Edinburgh, the venerable Scottish Pipers Association of Glasgow is restarting its “club night” informal social gatherings, with an event at the Glasgow College of Piping on June 15th.

The organization has continued to hold an annual indoor competition, but its social gatherings have fallen away over the last few decades.

“Although the professional competition has maintained its status as one of the top open contests, this will be a bit of a re-launch for the SPA’s regular Club Nights,” said the SPA’s Robert Gibb. “The latter are not as popular as they once were, and indeed in their heyday offered pipers a meeting every Saturday night.”

The June 15th event will feature performances by several big prizewinners from the past year, including SPA 2012 champion Darach Urquhart, Gordon McCready, William Geddes and Steven Leask.

The SPA was started officially in 1920 in the back of Peter Henderson Bagpipe Makers on Renfrew Street. The association enjoyed decades of success with piping world luminaries such as John MacDougall Gillies, Robert Reid, John MacFadyen, Ronald Lawrie, and Angus J. MacLellan.

“With the many distractions of modern life, as well as pipers’ heavy commitments to solo and pipe band competitions, perhaps it is understandable . . . that a simple ‘club for piping’ seems old-hat,” Gibb continued. “The SPA has been kept going by a small group of dedicated members led by Jeannie Campbell in the last few years, and it is hoped this night will re-capture the spirit of the association for pipers today.”

The organization hopes that the June 15th event will kick-start a regular series of monthly meetings, and, if popular, biweekly club gatherings.

Gibb said that small competitions between members and short lectures are also planned “to build the club up to being one of the central pillars of the Glasgow piping scene again. Edinburgh has its Eagles, and it is about time Glasgow had somewhere for pipers to meet and listen to others amongst friends.”




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