The first in the National Piping Centre’s 2014 Spring Piping Recitals series begins on Friday, February 21st, with a unique Ladies Night featuring four of Scotland’s leading female pipers, perhaps ironically sponsored by the males-only Royal Scottish Pipers Society.
Margaret Dunn, Clare Lynas, Caitlin McDonald and Sarah Muir are the headliners for the evening, and, while they would be welcomed into any competition and almost every pipe band, they still wouldn’t be allowed to join the RSPS, which adheres to its tradition of allowing only men as full members.
The organization reviewed its policy at least as recently as 2008, but narrowly decided to maintain the guidelines, which also do not allow pipers who have competed for prize money, accepting only “amateur” players, except for professional competing pipers as honourary members. The group also regularly invites females to attend and play at its meetings at its Rose Street Lane premises in Edinburgh.
When asked if there was any meaning behind the sponsorship, RSPS member Alan Forbes said, “No significance at all.” He did not comment on whether the organization plans to open its membership to women.
“We approached a number of societies including the RSPS to support the Spring Recital Series,” said National Piping Centre Director Roddy MacLeod. “The RSPS have been good supporters of the Centre so we were delighted when they agreed to support this night. I think it is a good opportunity for the RSPS to show their support towards ladies in piping and they have happily done so. We are grateful to them.”
The recital is priced at ?10 for adults and ?8 for concessions.
Other dates planned in the series include a recital by Highland Society of London Gold Medalists and one by winners of the Clasp at the Northern Meeting.