November 30, 2012

Hall leaves P-Mship of Lothian & Borders Police

After just over a year in the role, Neil Hall has stepped down as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band. Hall cited growing work commitments as the reason, which includes a new job overseas that requires him to relocate.

Hall is a captain in the British army and is second in command with the Army School of Piping & Highland Drumming.  

Hall broke the news to the band first at a special meeting on November 6th.

Neil Hall took over the role officially in October 2011 after several years under Ian Duncan, who led the band on an interim basis.

“The last three years at Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band have been some of the best times in my piping career to date,” Hall commented. “P-M Ian Duncan, L-D Arthur Cook, L-D Jake Jørgensen and P-S David Anderson have all been thoroughly professional and a true credit to such a prestigious unit, as have all the players I have had to work alongside. So much has been achieved and the band has developed into a unit worthy of competing in the top grade. I wish every success to the band and its members for the future.”

Hall’s departure is the ninth pipe-major or leading-drummer change for the band in the last 12 years. The band’s drum section continues to be run by L-D Jake Jørgensen who took over from long-time L-D Arthur Cook after the 2010 season. Cook is currently the Leading-Drummer of the Denny & Dunipace    Pipe Band, which was promoted to Grade 1 after the last season.

Under his direction in 2012 Lothian & Borders Police made strides forward, continuing from Duncan’s success. The group delivered a very successful concert at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January 2012.

The band said that those interested in applying for the pipe-major position should do so to the band secretary, Neil Anderson ( by November 21st, with 2012 interviews taking place shortly afterwards.

“On behalf of the band and myself, I would to extend our thanks and appreciation to Neil for his time served as P-M of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band,” Jorgensen said. “Following the announcement of Neil’s leaving, the band decided that advertising for a new P-M on pipes|drums would be the most effective way of finding a replacement. Mixed in with the obvious feeling of sadness that Neil has had to retire from the band, I am looking forward to continuing the improvements we have made in recent years with a new pipe-major. I would like to take this opportunity to also announce that, following the retirement of Chris Ross, the position of bass drummer has become available. The band would welcome applications from interested bass players. Grade 1 experience would be preferred but is not essential, depending on ability. Please contact the Band Secretary,  Neil Anderson, for further details.”

Hall and Jorgensen were recently featured on an HD video from the 2012 Pipes+Drums recital at Piping Live!, an event sponsored by pipes|drums.


  1. Neil, It has been a pleasure and an honour to play in the band under your leadership. You have been one of the most professional people I have ever played for and I will always be grateful for everything you have done for the band and for me. You are are true gent and friend and wish you continued success with your army and piping career. Hope we can meet up again soon. If I remember correctly it is your round. All the best Gordon

  2. What a great shame this very famous band (albeit under a different name to that which brought it fame) cannot seem to get any traction with long-term leadership. One has to call into question the selection process and criterion being set. This is not any sort of comment about leadership, integrity or piping skills of any individual, rather the selection process that is in place (if any) – i.e. is it identifying those who can ‘drop anchor’ for more than a few years, or is it just looking at a skill set and leadership style fit? Surely the past decade or more has taught this band something about who to select and why? Maybe ‘what do you do for a living?’ and that horrid and ubiquitous (but apt in this case) ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ should be the first two interview questions? Is it any wonder they have sat in the ‘relegation zone’ for such a long time. This band seems cherry ripe for an established and ambitious ‘senior’ player to take the reins. Someone who has a career that allows them to stay in the role, not be dragged away, would be a start. For the sake of the band, I really hope they get it right and can face the next decade with stability and consistent vision. It’s not too ambitious to think another Iain MacLeod is out there somewhere, surely…?

  3. I’m sorry to see this great band lose yet another talented Pipe Major. From what I was able to hear this year Captain Hall was doing a fine job of maintaining the consistency the band had developed under Ian Duncan after the ups and downs of previous years. I wasn’t able to go to the Celtic Connections concert but the recordings I’ve heard led me to believe that the band was in good hands, producing some very exciting and thematic music befitting of Lothian & Borders Police. I hope the right candidate can be found to take charge for the prolonged spell this band needs and deserves.



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