Wallacestone P-M retires after 39 years with historic band
At 125 years and counting, the Wallacestone & District Pipe Band is one of the world’s longest-running bands and, after almost 40 years as Pipe-Major, Tam Anderson has decided to hang up his stripes.
Anderson became the leader of the Falkirk, Scotland-based Wallacestone in 1972 after playing with Muirhead & Sons for several years, including that band’s last World Championship season in 1969. In his first eight seasons with Wallacestone, Anderson took the band from Grade 4 to Grade 1. In 1980 they won the Grade 2 Champion of Champions title.
As with many bands that try to make the leap to the top grade, after five years Wallacestone slipped back to Grade 2 and currently competes in Grade 4A.
“It’s time for a young man to come in with enthusiasm and fresh ideas like I did myself 39 years ago,” said Anderson, who originally took over the band from his own teacher, Jim Inglis.
Wallacestone’s competitive success dates back to at least 1907 at the Cowal Gathering where it played against the likes of the Govan Police Pipe Band, the precursor to the Glasgow Police. The band over the years has produced several top-flight pipers, including Stuart Cassells and James Beaumont.
While Anderson has stepped down as pipe-major, he will continue to teach a chanter class providing a stream of young players. The band invites those who are interested in the opportunity to become pipe-major, and asks that they make contact via the Wallacestone & District website.
According to band member Stewart Gardiner, “The current band is young and ambitious and would be happy to hear from anyone who thinks they have the piping credentials to follow in Tam’s footsteps.”
Wallacestone & District over the last four decades has built a reputation also for travel, its most recent major trip was to China in 2010.
This is an absolutely fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations to PM Anderson; surely a worthy candidate for a knighthood.
Back when I had the Tone Czar shop, I did a lot of business with Tom. Always a gentleman, and I had the pleasure of meeting him in person in 2004 at the Worlds, where he and John Finlay entertained me with tales from the old Muirheads days. Magic! Congratulations on a job well done, Tom!
Tom Anderson has contributed significantly to piping in many ways. I’ll always appreciate the teaching I received as a young beginner piper in the Wallacestone Pipe Band. The Wallacestone Pipe Band was also one of the first bands to travel to the Lorient Festival and connect with Breton Bagads. The band still has very strong connections with Bagad Kemper. All the best to the person who takes on the role from Tom and enjoy your retirement Tom! Stuart Cassells
Enjoy your retirement Tom you have had a great career and have always been a gentleman. I remember competing against Wallacetone with FMM in 1980 and they were a great band, going on to win C of C in grade 2 and being promoted to grade 1. Good luck to whoever takes over from you, hard shoes to fill. Richard Parkes