This year’s Atholl Gathering will be held online – as we predicted here a couple of weeks ago. Bruce Murray, the 12th Duke of Atholl, has personally prepared an invitation [pictured] to competiting pipers. He writes:

“My family and the Atholl Highlanders have great pleasure in extending an invitation to all competing pipers to participate in the Atholl Gathering Online Piping Competition. The results will be announced on Sunday 30th May 2021. Gathering Day.

“Sadly, the pandemic will prevent us from running the Atholl Gathering and Games in the usual format. In response to this we have decided to put on an online piping competition, providing a truly global opportunity for competing pipers to put their skills to the test. As always, the judging will be undertaken by an experienced panel of pipers, who will adjudicate on pre-recorded performances.

Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl.

“Let’s not allow the current restrictions to prevent us from participating in this wonderful tradition, celebrating some of the finest pipers and music in Scotland. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to Atholl Estates, William Grant & Sons and the Competing Pipers Association for their continued support in making this event possible.”

The entry form can be found here.

Organisers made the decision after reviewing the Scottish Government’s latest COVID-19 advice and rules. The usual grades are catered for: A/P Open Piobaireachd, B and C Grade Piobaireachd plus light music. The Junior competitions will also be held online.

The Atholl Gathering is usually the first major outdoor solo-piping contest of the year.

Queen Victoria School (QVS), the Scottish boarding school for children of personnel from the Armed Forces, is seeking a Drum Major for its Pipes and Drums. The school is located in Dunblane near Stirling in central Scotland.

QVS’ Pipes and Drums enjoys a strong national and international reputation. In his youth, Pipe Major Angus MacDonald MBE attended the school. Older readers will recall Pipe Major John MacKenzie BEM, Campbeltown, taught piping there for many years, taking the band to World Juvenile Champions at one point.

Queen Victoria School Pipes & Drums in 1952. Boy piper, Angus MacDonald can be seen in the Pipe Major’s position (white sporran).

A spokesman said: “We seek to appoint a suitably qualified Drum Major who is committed to maintaining the high standards of drumming at QVS, has proven experience and excellent communication, planning and time-management skills, and who will strive to ensure that our drumming students have opportunities

to gain formal qualifications (SQA) in the discipline. The Drum Major will also assume an active role in the promotion of QVS through regular attendance, along with the pipe band, at events around the country and, occasionally, abroad too.”

The school’s Ceremonial Department consists of a School Sergeant Major, Pipe Major, Drum Major and Highland Dance Instructor.

A detailed job description and online application form can be found by by clicking here.

The closing date for completed applications is April 15, 2021.

The Pittsburgh PA-based Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming is holding its 2021 summer school online. The school takes place from July 18-23.

Guest instructors are Roddy MacLeod MBE, Bruce Gandy, Robert Mathieson and Andrew Carlisle. Drumming instructors will be announced shortly.

Further information can be found here.

The school follows its recent successful oneline workshop in February at which MacLeod, Gandy and Carlisle also were guest instructors.