December 30, 2020

The 10 most-read pipes|drums articles of 2020

The numbers don’t lie, as they say, but in many ways, we wish that 2020 were just one big falsehood and we could get a do-over.

Even with scant few competitions with results to report, pipes|drums brought you nearly 350 articles over the last 12 months. Our online archive, which stretches back to 1999, is approaching 7,000 stories.

There was the usual large number of contributors to pipes|drums this year, including many of the greatest names in the piping and drumming world, and we thank all of them for giving to our worldwide community: Euan Anderson, Chris Armstrong, Alan Bevan, Keith Bowes, Julie Brinklow, Blair Brown, Glenn Brown, Gordon Brown, Margaret Burgess, Jeannie Campbell, Robbie Crow, Scott Currie, Graham Davidson, Lachie Dick, Austin Diepenhorst, Jim Dillahey, Martin Docherty, Brian Donaldson, Willie Donaldson, Cameron Drummond, Alistair Dunn, Margaret Dunn, Margaret Dunn, John Elliott, Jim Feeney, Allan Forbes, Tyler Fry, Bruce Gandy, Alex Gandy, Douglas Gardiner, Emily Gaudet, Robert Gray, Jenny Hazzard, Faye Henderson, David Hilder, Shaunna Hilder, Heather Hilton, Lincoln Hilton, Kayleigh Johnstone, Liam Kernaghan, Trish Kirkwood, Andrew Lawson, Terry Lee, Jack Lee, Meaghan Lyons, Dr. Angus MacDonald, Calum MacDonald, Eilidh MacDonald, Iain MacDonald, R.S. MacDonald,  Lorne MacDougall, John-Don MacKenzie, Roderick MacLean, Ken Maclean, Colin MacLellan, Rob MacNeil, Doug MacRae, Mike Mahoney, Derek Maxwell, Liz Maxwell, Jim McGillivray, Stewart McKenzie, John Mulhearn, Mandla Ndabula, Bradley Parker, Richard Parkes, Art Peters, Owen Reid, Skye Richendrfr, Owen Russell, Greg Scott, Jim Sim, Connor Sinclair, Alister Sinclair, Anne Spalding, Islay Spalding, Iain Speirs, Kolton Stewart, John Sutherland, Jack Taylor, Torquil Telfer, Alen Tully, Matthew Welch and the myriad others who contributed results, news tips, insights, and all who were invaluable sources along the way who preferred.

So, let’s have a look back at the 10 stories (excluding Results, Interviews and Reviews), in reverse order, that statistically saw the most views by you, our faithful readers.

Sadly and perhaps fittingly, many of the stories were terrible news from a year that felt almost non-stop bad news. But it wasn’t all that way. There were bright spots, and there’s hope for a brighter 2021.

Ten feel-good stories in 2020 from pipes|drums
December 27, 2020

Either way, pipes|drums will be there with you to report honestly and originally on the bad and the good.

Here’s to the good.

Click on the headlines to revisit the full original story.


12 Wing piper lost in military helicopter crash

When Abbigail Cowbrough, a piper with the Grade 4 12 Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes & Drums of Shearwater, Nova Scotia, died in a military helicopter crash on April 29th, the piping and drumming world paid their respects. The promising young pupil of Bruce Gandy was creative and outgoing, and we will continue to remember her and extend our sympathies to her family and many friends.


Roddy MacLeod resigns as head of National Piping Centre

The year started on a sour note with the sudden departure of Roddy MacLeod from the post he held since the start of the Piping Centre. Specific reasons were never divulged, and, typical of MacLeod, he kept things discreet. The National Piping Centre was hit hard by this and, of course, the pandemic but is fighting hard to recover under new director Finlay MacDonald, who earned the job after a rigorous search.


The status of females in piping and drumming in 2020

Our April 2nd feature study of gender equality – or, perhaps more fitting, inequality – tapped several prominent women pipers and drummers for their insights. The result was a hugely-read piece that struck a chord with the world’s players.


Opinion: Now is the time (Part 1)

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s actions over its £1.2-million renovation of the organization’s Glasgow headquarters has been an enduring controversy that still roils. Renowned pipe band drummer Tyler Fry recorded his thoughts with an editorial call for significant reform that resonated with pipes|drums readers.


World’s Highland pipers gonnae gi’e it laldy for key workers Thursday

It was late March, and we had yet to realize the full gravity of the pandemic. But pipers and drummers all over the world banded together to play their respects to those who were risking their lives to keep us safe. It would be one of many feel-good stories of the year.


Virus advice to pipers and drummers: keep to your instrument

In another early-pandemic piece, we sought out several doctors who are also pipers for their professional opinions on how we might mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. Rereading the piece is almost quaint, but pipes|drums brought readers real and honest advice, underscoring essential techniques to stave off the virus.


Grade 1 band drummer charged with cancer fraud in Sydney

At the time, we debated whether this qualified as pipes|drums news, but we ultimately decided that as difficult as it is to report, it had to be. She had been the subject of a lot of news several years before, and many pipers, drummers and bands had rallied around her, contributing to the cause, making her one of our virtuous celebrities. We wish only the best.


Pipe Bands Australia served with defamation lawsuit

Fortunately, Pipe Bands Australia now appears to be on a better path forward after several controversies. Still, this news of a member suing the organization for defamation gained the mainstream media’s attention. As far as we know, the case is unsettled, but the organization saw its president resign, followed by Ainsley Hart’s election to the role.


Rachel Lowry, 2003-2020

It was heartache throughout the piping and drumming world in late September when Rachel Lowry, a young drum-major in Northern Ireland, did not survive a car crash. We continue to mourn her passing, and we remember her well.


Alex Duncan, 1994-2020

September 12, 2020, was a dark day for the piping and drumming world when Alex Duncan, the talented piper from Perth, Scotland, passed after an illness. Popular, friendly, funny . . . words were not enough to describe him, and his loss continues to sting. The piping and drumming world poured out its collective grief and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends that Alex Duncan left behind. Here’s to better days.


According to the numbers, those were the 10 most-read pipes|drums articles of 2020. Some were tough to revisit, emblematic of a challenging year, others less so, but we will continue to bring you the news and views through thick and thin.

On a brighter note, stay tuned for pipes|drums 2020 New Year’s Honours, celebrating the piping and drumming world’s most outstanding achievers and achievements of the year!

Hey, by the way, about 300 of the articles we brought to you in 2020 were free. So, if you don’t already subscribe, maybe you’ll do that. It’s just a few pennies a day. Just click here for options. Thanks for contributing, and happy New Year!



The 10 most-read pipes|drums articles of 2019
December 29, 2019

The 20 most-read pipes|drums news stories of 2018
December 28, 2018

The 10 most-read pipes|drums stories of 2017
December 22, 2017





Forgotten Password?