Pipers’ Trail recruiting / Eagle Pipers contest / Margaret Stoddart / Lorient festival ON!


The Pipers’ Trail, the ‘in house’ civilian pipes and drums element of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (REMT), is recruiting for volunteer pipers and drummers to participate in this year’s show.

Those who were selected for the 2020 show, which was subsequently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are automatically being offered a place for the 2021 show and do not need to reapply.

Major Stevie Small MBE, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Production Manager, said: “I would encourage anyone with an interest in performing and a passion for either piping or drumming to apply this year as being part of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an unforgettable experience. Having performed myself for many years, I know first-hand the exhilarating feeling of backstage excitement, audience welcome and the achievement of knowing that you’re helping the Tattoo to donate funding to military and arts charities in the UK.”

For those interested in joining the Pipers’ Trail and being a part of the 2021 Tattoo, more information and an application form is available now at https://www.edintattoo.co.uk/tattoo-on-tour/pipers-trail. Applications close on March 26.

Edinburgh-based club, The Eagle Pipers’ Society is accepting entries for an online solo contest for pipers graded B and C by the Competing Pipers’ Association. Prize money totalling £1,000 is on offer.

Entires open this Friday (March 19) and video submissions should be uploaded by June 13.

Spokesman, Douglas Gardiner (President) said: “The Eagle Pipers’ Society has always been a supporter of up and coming soloists and feels COVID has denied them the opportunity to rise up the ranks. Hence our decision to run this level of competition.

“Whilst the CPA does not officially recognise the results of online competitions for grading purposes they have advised they may look favourably upon outstanding achievement in events where SPJA/CPA Supplementary judges and a high calibre field are present.”

As well as a Ceòl Mòr event, the popular March, Strathspey, Reel, Hornpipe & Jig (MSRH&J) event the Society ran in the 1960s and 1970s is to be resurrected for this contest. This sees players play all genres straight through with no break.

“All competitors will be required to wear Highland dress,” added Gardiner. “No more Judas Priest T-shirts and flip flops.”

“Our aim it make this as high quality a contest as possible to ensure pipers stand the best chance of a positive grading consideration by the CPA.”

The judges will be: Bob Worrall, Callum Beaumont, Ian Duncan, Iain Speirs, Michael Grey, Murray Henderson, Roddy MacLeod and Tom Speirs.

Entries and more information can be found on the Eagle Pipers’ website:

Margaret Stoddart pictured in the late 1970s.

Still in Edinburgh, we were saddened to learn of the death of piping stalwart, Margaret Stoddart (née Sutherland), the widow of Pipe Major George Stoddart and the stepmother of Pipe Major Gavin Stoddart. She was 97 years of age. Margaret passed away on Sunday, March 7 at the Eildon House care home in Edinburgh.

The funeral service is at 15:00 on March 23. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, it will be held in private. Those who wish to pay their respects virtually can do so using the information below:

Go to: https://www.obitus.com/
Username: tedi2783
Password: 528243
Webcast: Live Webcast & Watch Again
Service Chapel Lorimer – Warriston

Margaret and George Stoddart were familiar faces on the piping scene in Scotland’s capital for a very long time, and indeed, were members of the aforementioned Eagle Pipers.

Margaret contributed poems on a piping theme to the International Piper and to the Piping Times. Last October, Bagpipe.News republished one she co-wrote with Betty Dingwall entitled The Grass Widow. Click here to read it.

Our condolences go to Margaret’s family and friends.

Organisers of this year’s Lorient Interceltic Festival say they are “determined” to go ahead with the festival this year.

The dates for the festival are August 6-15. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the major cultural event held in Lorient in Brittany, France.

The festival’s Scottish delegate, Tom Johnstone said: “Last year a decision was delayed awaiting developments with regard to the spread of the virus and, of course, government legislation, and was eventually cancelled. This year, there will be some limitations in place with regard to numbers – only 5,000 people will allowed in one venue, for example, and there may also be additional social distancing requirements.”

Tom Johnstone pictured at the 2019 Lorient Interceltic Festival.

“The main piping events will go ahead:

  • The McCrimmon invitational solo piping competition
  • The Piobaireachd competition
  • The Grand Nuit de Cornemeuse [piping concert]
  • A bagpipe masterclass
  • A kitchen piping concert
  • The pipe band competition

“The Grand Parade – always a wonderful spectacle – is currently scheduled to go ahead.”

The three invitees to compete for the McCrimmon trophy are Ross Ainslie, Eddie Seaman and Ali Levack (the Young Traditional Musician of the Year for 2020).

The pipe bands representing Scotland are Methil & District Pipe Band and Strathallan School Pipe Band [TBC]

As with the 2020 festival, this year’s bagadoù contest will be a concert. Last year’s concert featured Bagad Quimper, Bagad Cap Caval, Bagad Roñsed-Mor of Locoal-Mendon and Bagad Lorient.

Added Tom: “At this stage we do not know what Covid restrictions will be in place so one can only speculate at this stage, but as Cyprus and Portugal are now only allowing people into their countries with some kind of vaccine or negative test certificate, something along those lines would seem likely to me.

“As the vaccination program and spread of the virus are constantly changing the above will be reviewed in the coming months.”

Last year’s bagadoù concert at the Sade de Moustoir in Lorient.