Jack’s tribute to Jimmy / Boney line up / Balmoral band offer


Jack Taylor today adds to the many tributes and memories of Jimmy McIntosh we have received since Jimmy’s passing earlier this week. Jimmy knew Jimmy for many years and, like, Jimmy, was a pupil of the Bobs of Balmoral.

Jack writes: “Jimmy talked online to the Piobaireachd Society last summer. He spoke of rhythm, tension and release, strong medium medium strong, all that he had made so familiar. It was fluent, fresh and totally convincing. I suspect that I wasn’t alone in being mesmerised, especially by his performance of the Earl of Seaforth.

“I judged his competition in North Carolina in 2018. I saw a happy man, one with a life fulfilled. His pawky humour and his Dundonian chuckle were ever present, with the baseball cap and a sprinkling of Americanisms completing the picture. He lent me his Piobaireachd Society book to judge with and it was remarkable to see how closely his pupils followed the various pencil markings over the tunes.

“He had intended to retire, but just couldn’t stop. At a cancelled rain-drenched games the following day a young pupil was desperate to have me hear Lament for the Children. He played it with a clear love and understanding of the music. Jimmy’s influence shone through.

“The previous year Jimmy was in Braemar and stopped to listen to a boy piper busking for some holiday money. The inevitable question was asked: can you play me some piobaireachd? Imagine Jimmy’s delight when the lad struck up The Wee Spree.

“During that visit, Jimmy met Neill Mulvie and I in Perth to try and persuade the judges’ association here to set up some form of exam and training for judges here. Sorry Jimmy, no luck yet!

“In times past there are happy memories of the Tayside Pipers’ club, particularly Bob Brown’s recital there when he played Bob Leach’s pipes “to bits”. All due to Jimmy. My own teacher, Bert Barron, was not a fan though. Neither Jimmy’s soft, sweet bagpipe sound nor his native canniness appealed. Jimmy would not have been bothered. He would rather stick to his principles than please everybody, of that I am certain.

“One tune for Jimmy would certainly not be enough. So, on Tuesday I played two: the Park Piobaireachd, No. 2 and Beloved Scotland. I hope they were OK, Jimmy.”

• Read an interview with Jimmy from the February 2014 Piping Times. where he talks about his life of piping.

The 2021 Boney Music Memorial Invitational takes places online – via Facebook Live – tomorrow (Saturday 13).

Taking part are Jack Lee with his son Alastair, Neil Dickie, Bruce Gandy, Alan Bevan, Jori Chisholm, Michael Grey, Gordon Conn, Iain MacDonald and Zephan Knichel.

The invitational solo piping competition first took place in 2016 and was the brainchild of Andrew Bonar [pictured] of Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. The popular piper died from brain cancer in October 2017.

Bonar was also a member of the British Columbia Pipers’ Association, who organises the event to raise funds for brain cancer research

Organisers of this month’s three-day online Balmoral Winter Workshop are offering a bespoke pipe band clinic to members of pipe bands who take part in the school. Only a few members of the band are required to participate.

Although highly customisable, the band clinic will include tuning, selecting and refining a medley and ensemble.

The cost is $275 USD. The workshop runs from February 19-21, 2021. Full details are available here.