Published: December 13, 2019

Scottish Pipers Association celebrates a hundred January 10

The Scottish Pipers Association will celebrate its one-hundredth birthday on January 10 in Glasgow, the exact date that the venerable organization was started in Glasgow in 1920 by Willie Gray, Alastair Hutcheon, George MacDonald, John MacDougall Gillies, Charles MacEachern, James MacIvor, John MacLean, Willie MacLean, Iain Macpherson, Archie McPhedran, Robert Reid and George Yardley – a who’s-who of great pipers of the era.

According to current SPA vice president Logan Tannock, all are welcome to attend a centenary club night event at the National Piping Centre, Otago Street, Glasgow, on the evening of January 10 to raise a glass and hear a tune.

The SPA’s original and current charter set out in 1920 is “The study and practice of the music of the Great Highland Bagpipe, the banding together of the pipers of Scotland, and the fostering of the spirit of comradeship amongst them.”

“In practice, this means that pipers come together – especially the younger players who are the future of piping – and are given a platform to play the pipes in each other’s company, which allows them to gain confidence of playing in public,’ Tannock said. “This is something that I as a young player in the 1970s and ’80s certainly used to do and remember fondly performing on the same ‘platform’ as some of the piping greats of the time.”

Tannock added: “We hope to run the hundredth year celebration of the first meeting as an informal evening, very much like the first meeting, no tickets required, and we hope to have a tune from one of our oldest members who is still playing and one of the younger players who comes along to our monthly meetings.”

Members of the Scottish Pipers Association, 1936.

It is expected that the current leader, Tom Johnstone, and various past SPA “Pipe-Majors,” including Tannock himself, will have a tune.

The SPA meets on the first Friday of each month, and has run an annual solo piping competition that over the years has taken on various formats, with some of the most famous pipers in history winning the overall championship.

The association holds a bracketed knockout, which will see the first semi-final on February 7 with Steven Leask and John Patrick going at it hammer and tongs. Admission to the final is £10 on the door with a cash bar onsite.

The March 6 meeting will be the second semi-final battle royale of Callum Beaumont vs. Stuart Liddell and (£10 again), and the blistering SPA Knockout final will be on Saturday May 2.

Last year’s winner of the SPA championship competition was Gordon McCready.

 


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