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Following the success of its online competition in March, CLASP – the Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers – is planning more remote competitions.

Entries are now open for two new competitions in June and August – the annual end of season contest on June 20 and the annual World Solo Amateur Piping Competition, which usually takes place at Piping Live!, on August 8. These competitions are open to adult amateur pipers worldwide who are graded 1, 2 or 3 and are aged 18 years and above.

Both remote competitions will adopt the same format as the remote March CLASP event.

For full details email Margaret Dunn or Finlay Johnston.

Click HERE to join CLASP.

We were saddened to hear of the death of Oban Pipe Band stalwart, Angus MacLennan. Angus was a member of the band for 50 years, and spent over 30 of these as either Pipe Major or Pipe Sergeant. A spokesman for the band said: “As well as playing, he was also the band’s bus driver. He was a loyal and reliable member of the band and always ready with a kind and encouraging word or joke to put people at ease. The band will greatly miss Angus and we pass on our condolences to Margaret, Kirsteen, Ronnie and family at this time.”

Close friend and the band’s former Pipe Major, Iain Hurst said: “I don’t think I can properly find the words to express the loss we are feeling right now. Angus has been my good and faithful friend for 50 years. Life, and Oban Pipe Band, will never be the same. But I am so glad to have known him, and he will always be remembered with great fondness.”

Angus was 66 and had suffered a heart attack. We extend our condolences to Angus’ family and to the Oban Pipe Band.

Oban Pipe Band playing at the Argyllshire Gathering (Oban Games) in 1999. Angus is in the Pipe Sergeant's position.
Oban Pipe Band playing at the Argyllshire Gathering (Oban Games) in 1999. Angus is in the Pipe Sergeant’s position.

Jim Haddow.

We were also saddened to learn of the death of Jim Haddow after a short illness. Jim (61) was a nephew of Alex Duthart and over the years was a member, and sometimes Leading Drummer, of bands including Kilsyth Thistle, Kirkintilloch and Royal Burgh of Stirling.

Jim, of Kilsyth, was well known in pipe band circles, particularly those in and around Stirlingshire, and took part in many pipe band shows all over Europe.

We extend our condolences to wife Carole and their two sons.

Chris Armstrong.

Due to the restrictions imposed on us as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many pipers are participating in the tribute held by the public at 8.00pm each Thursday by having a tune at the doors of their homes. The show of appreciation is in tribute to health workers and those on the ‘front line’ dealilng directly with the pandemic.

ScottishPower Pipe Major, Chris Armstrong has gone a step further. Chris, a Gold Medallist who is now a solo piping judge, has written a first-class piobaireachd in tribute.

Chris, from Stirlingshire, Scotland, told us: “I’ve written a few piobaireachd now and I’ve found it’s not easy stuff to write and to be original with. However, I’d say this one is the first that I could honestly say feels 100% authentic.

Click to download.

“I had the first couple of phrases rattling around my head and finally sat down to put it in black and white. I find piobaireachd to be the strongest genre of our music to convey emotion and music and as it was taking shape I realised that it could be a good way to salute and show appreciation for the immeasurable effort the heroes and heroines on the frontline are giving.

“Caring for the seriously ill, keeping us all going with essential supplies and everyone else who is on the frontline making sure things keep moving in as normal a way as is possible in the current crisis.

“I would like to dedicate this as a salute to the frontline to show appreciation for everyone fighting this pandemic on the frontline.”

The tune, Salute to the Frontline can be downloaded HERE or by clicking the image, above.

Chris plays the tune on his Facebook page.

Roddy Weir.
Roddy Weir.

Roddy Weir has joined Vale of Atholl Pipe Band as Pipe Sergeant in the organisation’s Grade 3 outfit. Roddy, a former member of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Pipe Major of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, is well known in the piping world. He is a successful soloist and has competed with ScottishPower, Shotts and Dykehead and Fife Police.

On leaving the Army in 2014, Roddy (48), who lives just outside Edinburgh, began working for Fife Council as a Piping Instructor  teaching in schools all over the region.

A spokesman for the Vale said: “We’re delighted that Roddy is joining us. He is a vastly experienced piper and instructor who, we are sure, will prove to be an asset for us. With Mark Stewart as Pipe Major and Alistair ‘Bongo’ McNab as Leading Drummer, we are very much looking forward to this leadership team taking our Grade 3 band onwards to the 2021 season.”