Published: November 30, 2002

Piping Fire Re-Lighted In Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh, relative to its counterpart Glasgow 40 miles away, has seen piping organized events nearly vanish over the last 20 years, but with the introduction of a new annual recital and the potential return of the Edinburgh Police Piping Competition the city may recapture some of its former stature.

“An Evening of Piping” on November 22 at the Edinburgh Academy’s Main Hall, 42 Henderson Row, will feature the playing on Highland pipes of Stuart Liddell and Scott Drummond, and Iain MacInnes on Scottish small pipes. Master of ceremonies for the event will be the legendary John D. Burgess MBE.

Drummond and Burgess are former pupils at the Edinburgh Academy, one of Scotland’s most highly-regarded preparatory schools. The event is being run by Rob Cowie, a piper and ex-teacher at the school.

Liddell has won numerous big prizes, including the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal at Inverness. Drummond is a Silver Medallist and former winner of the A Marches at Inverness, while MacInnes is renowned for his work with various Celtic folk groups, including the Tannahill Weavers and Ossian.

John Burgess was a pupil at Edinburgh Academy in 1950 when he won both the Oban and Inverness Gold Medals at the age of 16. He is considered by many to be the Edinburgh Academy’s most famous pupil after Robert Louis Stevenson and James Barrie, author of Peter Pan. Burgess is reportedly described in the school’s Former Pupils book as “the most colourful man in Scotland.” Burgess was the subject of a famous two-part Piper & Drummer Interview in 1994.

“We hope to hold the recital annually,” said Colin MacLellan, piping instructor at Edinburgh Academy and Pipe-Major of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band. “There have been very few top-class piping recitals in Edinburgh since the demise of the Eagle Pipers and Highland Pipers societies.”

Doors open to the concert at 6:30 p.m., with tickets priced at £6 (£4 concession) at the door. For further information and enquiries can be obtained at 0131 624 4944.

Edinburgh Police Competition to be restarted?

Piper & Drummer Online has also learned that the annual Edinburgh Police Piping Competitions could restart in March 2003 after a 17-year hiatus. The event will likely comprise a Piobaireachd and MSR, with entry limited. The Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band ran the event for decades, and the contest had been considered to be one of the premier spring indoor events, along with the Uist & Barra and the Scottish Pipers Association competitions.

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