After our post last week on Henry Forsyth, we received this interesting newspaper cutting. It is from the Daily Mirror and is dated February 14, 1913. The caption states:
“By his own desire, the Prince of Wales is learning to play the bagpipes, and is making good progress with what is admitted to be one of the most difficult of musical instruments. The drawing shows him receiving a lesson from Pipe Major W. Ross (2nd Scots Guards), one of the Scotland’s premier pipers. The royal pupil is seen playing the flageolet, which it is necessary to master before turning attention to the pipes themselves.”
From this we can deduce that it may have been Willie Ross who first gave the Prince his lessons and not Henry Forsyth. Alternatively, at the time the report came out, Henry Forsyth may have simply been elsewhere – on holiday or on other duties – but it is interesting to learn that Willie Ross had an involvement in the Prince’s piping progress. Ross would’ve been in his mid-30s when this report appeared.
To our eyes, the Prince appears to be playing a practice chanter and not, as reported, a flageolet. The English flageolet had six finger holes on the front and sometimes a single thumb-hole on the back, meaning it would be inappropriate in learning to play the pipes. Flageolets were made until the 19th century and went out of fashion around the time of the First World War.
The Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontartio (PPBSO) will hold a virtual summer school this summer.
From July 5-9, Summer Blast! will provide tuition from PPBSO members such as Bob Worrall, Michael Grey, John Cairns, Ken Eller, Jim McGillivray and Doug Stronach. This is the first time in the PPBSO’s 74-year history that it has organised a summer school. Registration opens next week.
PPBSO President, Michael Grey, said: “It took us 74 years but our Summer Blast! school is worth the wait. In the tradition of all great summer schools, it’s shaping up to present an epic and memorable experience for attendees.”
The PPBSO’s Summer Blast! is the latest summer school to go online. In North America, piping and drumming summer schools were first pioneered by the College of Piping in the 1950s. Led by its co-founder, Seumas MacNeill, these resulted in an upsurge of interest in piping in Canada and the United States and contributed hugely to the high standard of piping currently enjoyed there.
The cost for PPBSO members is $280CAN with non-members paying $350.
We understand the National Piping Centre will shortly announce that its award-winning Pipers’ Tryst hotel, restaurant and bar will reopen soon. More details when we have them.