SPA centenary celebrations

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The Scottish Pipers’ Association (SPA) is to mark its centenary on January 10 – exactly 100 years since its founding in Glasgow – at The National Piping Centre Otago Street in Glasgow’s west end. All are invited.

Distinguished guests are expected as well as performances from Tom Johnstone (President), Logan Tannock (Vice President), Rory Grossart (ex-Pipe Major and ex-President), Barry Donaldson, Emily Anderson, Kyle Shead and others. The evening will be an informal one.

The SPA is one of piping’s most famous societies and its founders were some of the leadings pipers of the era: Willie Gray, John MacDougall Gillies, Willie MacLean, Iain MacPherson, Archie McPhedran, Robert Reid, Alastair Hutcheon, George MacDonald, Charles MacEachern, James MacIvor, John MacLean and George Yardley.

The full list of SPA Presidents is:

John MacDougall Gillies, the first SPA President.

1920-1925 – John MacDougall Gillies
1926-1933 – James MacIvor
1933-1939 – Duncan MacMurchy
1940-1948 – Robert Reid
1949-1951 – Hamish MacColl
1951-1956 – Robert Reid
1957-1958 – Donald MacLean
1959-1960 – Hamish MacColl
1961-1972 – John MacFadyen
1973-1974 – Ronald Lawrie
1975-1986 – Angus J. MacLellan
1987-1988 – Ronald McShannon
1989-1990 – Angus J MacLellan
1991-1992 – Rory Grossart
1993-2012 – Jeannie Campbell
2012-2013 – Iain Watson
2014-Current Tom Johnstone

Interestingly, since its inception and unlike other piping organisations, the SPA has included the role of Composer on its committee. The list of post holders is:

1936 -1964 – Peter R. MacLeod Snr
1969 – Hector MacLean
1970-1980 – John Scott
1981 – James Wark
1982-1986 – Iain MacPherson MM
1987-1989 – Alex MacIvor
1996 to date Bob McFie

As part of its centenary year, the SPA has been holding its latest ‘knockout’ series of recitals. On February 8, the first semi final sees Steven Leask and John Patrick play followed on March 6 when Stuart Liddell and Callum Beaumont play. The final is on May 2.

The SPA has held its monthly Club Nights at The National Piping Centre Otago Street (the former College of Piping) for many years. In addition, it runs three annual solo piping competitions.