#TBT: Alex Duthart on whistle and singing

Published: February 1, 2018
(Page 1 of 1)

We continue our Throwback Thursday series with one of our favourite subjects: the great Alex Duthart.

The image was taken by St. Louis-based piper John Mackie in July 1981, at the Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming in Greensboro, North Carolina. Along with Jimmy McIntosh and Murray and Patricia Henderson, Duthart was part of a highly successful team that taught for many years in that part of the United States. The schools also led to McIntosh immigrating permanently, and the Hendersons for a few years, to the US.

The photo opportunity arose when Duthart was presented with a whistle, knowing that he was pretty good with the instrument. He quickly rattled off a few tunes, including his own quirky composition, “Paddy Donovan,” named for the great Irish pipe band snare drummer, who was a great fiend of Duthart.

+ 100 Years of Fortitude

The photo reminded us also of a recording that we made of Alex Duthart; his right-hand man and former World Solo Champion Bert Barr; and Harry McNulty, the former pipe-major of the Lothian & Borders Police, British Caledonian Airways and Power of Scotland bands. The three are singing the 3/4 march, “Pipe-Major J.K. Cairns” by Archie Cairns, which was newly popular in 1979, at a piping school in Timmins, Ontario.


If you have a great unpublished photo, sound recording or video from piping and drumming’s past, please do send it along so we can share it with pipes|drums’ many thousands of readers.

Alex Duthart, July 1981.

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If you’re continually struggling to get your drones in tune, chances are something is wrong. Try changing one or more reeds, checking bores for obstructions, anything. Don’t just suffer.
Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh