Alisdair McLaren. Photo: Piping Hot Photos

Alisdair McLaren, who last September succeeded Iain MacPherson as Pipe Major of Glasgow Police Pipe Band, has stepped down ahead of a return home to western Australia.

A spokesman for the band said in a statement: “Glasgow Police Pipe Band announce [sic] that Pipe Major Alisdair McLaren has, with regret decided to stand down as Pipe Major due to unforeseen and pressing family matters in his native Australia. This has resulted in him taking the difficult decision to return to Australia on a permanent basis. We wish Alisdair all the very best at a very difficult time. Following Alisdair’s decision on Friday, the band management group has put in place a strategy to appoint a new Pipe Major. The 45 band members who have been working for the 2020 season since October will continue to do so.

“At this point we welcome applications and expressions of interest for the role of Pipe Major. Applications will be treated in strictest confidence and should be sent to the following email address:

“We can confirm that a robust management and financial infrastructure remains in place.

Applications for the role will close on Tuesday, 11th February”.

McLaren (40) had been a member of the historic band for the last three seasons. Prior to joining the Police, he was a member of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and before moving to Scotland was Pipe Major of Western Australia Police Pipe Band. He is also the Pipe Major of The Pipers’ Trail, a role he will be continuing for the foreseeable future.

Further, McLaren has been the Director of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland for 11 years. Roddy MacLeod, Principal of The National Piping Centre, said: “Alisdair McLaren worked for 11 years in The National Piping Centre in the role of Director of The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland [NYPBoS]. He did a magnificent job to achieve the highest of standards with the band. There are many performances and recordings which Alisdair and the band can be extremely proud of due to the quality of their sound, technical proficiency, ensemble and innovation.

“During his time, the band has been involved in delivering a number of outreach events across Scotland, widening the impact of the project and providing access to young people from all across the nation. In addition, his role expanded with the formation of a Development Band (supplementing the Senior Band) which aims to provide opportunity for younger pipers and drummers to come into the NYPBoS fold with all of the benefits and experiences this brings.

The NYPBoS in 2017.

“Throughout these years Alisdair has managed the project, both musically and administratively, with complete professionalism and we are extremely grateful to him for his contribution and support. I am sure I speak on behalf of all at The National Piping Centre in wishing Alisdair every success in his future.”

The NYPBoS is preparing for its next major concert, entitled Decade, at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on February 8. The musical content of the show will reflect McLaren’s decade as Director of the band. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

In a blog on this website a few weeks ago, McLaren described 2019 as being a tough one for him. He wrote: “On a personal note, this year has been possibly one of the most challenging of my journey through life so far. Towards the end of last year I was diagnosed with having depression which came as a massive shock to me. Originally, I was embarrassed about it and kept it to myself because I was afraid that people would look at me in a different way. I definitely wouldn’t have mentioned it in a blog. A massive ‘thank you’ has to go out to my close friends, who know who they are, as their unselfish support has kept me on the right path. I really don’t know what I would have done without them. An important step has been accepting that I have this and being more open about it and the way I’m feeling. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to other people suffering from the same illness. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my ups and downs but I feel that I’m now heading in the right direction, which is important.”