Donald Mackay has stepped down as Pipe-Major of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, effective immediately. Mackay reportedly announced his resignation earlier today.
The move comes only days before the European Pipe Band Championships at Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on Saturday, July 26th.
Later in the day Don Bradford was appointed the band’s new Pipe-Major.
According to the officer in charge of the band, Iain MacPherson, Mackay cited family reasons for his decision, including his young twins, had apparently made the running of the band too difficult to carry on.
“I had a long hard think about things during the holiday break and have decided to step down as Pipe-Major,” Mackay said. “Many will know that I have a young family now and my top priority is obviously with them. We have been down in Glasgow since joining the police with no close family network near us. So it is with this, I feel at this time, I can’t commit the huge amount of extra hours that are involved with running the band and for its sake I would be better stepping aside. There is never really a good time to step down when in this situation, however, I still hope to continue playing with the band and compete solo. I would like to thank everyone involved for all their help and support over the last four years in various capacities and wish this great band continued success.”
Bradford was thought by some to be a front-runner for the job when Mackay was appointed. He (Bradford) was formerly pipe-major of the now defunct Grade 1 David Urquhart Travel Pipe Band.
Mackay will stay with the band as a piper, and attended the practice at which Bradford was appointed.
Mackay was appointed Pipe-Major in October 2004 after a lengthy search that included several well known names, including Gavin Walker and Bradford, both of whom currently play with the band. Walker and Duncan Nicholson are co-Pipe-Sergeants of the group, having recently taken over the role from Donald MacInnes and Ewen Henderson.
According to MacPherson, Nicholson will be the band’s Pipe-Sergeant under Bradford.
After his appointment, Donald Mackay quickly became known as a popular and effective leader, taking the band to several championship victories in quick succession. Many picked Strathclyde Police to break the established top-three of Field Marshal Montgomery, Simon Fraser University and House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead at the World Championships, if not a realistic contender to win the event.
Among other victories under Mackay, the band won the 2007 Scottish Championships and the European in 2006. So far this season the Strathclyde Police were third at the British Championships in June and fourth at the Scottish in May.
A pupil of the great John D. Burgess, and a native of northern Scotland, an illuminating “10 Questions With . . .” interview with Mackay outlined many of his ideas about bands and piping in general.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more on this developing story as information becomes available.