Published: October 31, 2010

Piobaireachd Society celebrates a century with the Army School

To mark one-hundred years of working together, the Piobaireachd Society and the Army School of Piping are holding a free day of tunes, food and socializing on Saturday, October 16th, in Edinburgh. “Piobaireachd for Pleasure” will be hosted by Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor and the Director of the Army School, Steven Small, and the event will highlight a century since the two organizations combined to fold the first army class in 1910 under the direction of Pipe-Major John MacDonald, Inverness.

Starting at 1 pm, the day will consist of informal piobaireachd playing by anyone who wants to “come along, listen, chat, and have a tune if so moved,” according to Taylor. “Younger players are particularly welcome.”

Captain Neil Hall, current Pipe-Major of the Army School, will deliver an introductory talk on the history and traditions of the organizations working together.

In 1909 the Piobaireachd Society had introduced its first collection of settings, which were not well received by many pipers, with accusations that the organization was attempting to fix playing styles. The same year the Piobaireachd Society President, Lord Lovat, was granted approval from the War Office to provide a piobaireachd instructor for the British Army, and John MacDonald was duly appointed to conduct a class for three months ¬†at Cameron Barracks in Inverness. MacDonald was seen as a “hired hand” by many, further complicating the move.

But the Army School eventually flourished, witnessing a series of luminaries as Director, including Pipe-Major William Ross, Captain John A. MacLellan and Major Gavin Stoddart.

The event, which includes a free lunch, will be at the Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drumming, Inchdrewer House, 299 Colinton Road, Edinburgh (entry via Redford Infantry Barracks Guardroom). There is no advance registration, and those interested may simply turn up on the day.

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