Jeannie Campbell’s long-anticipated history of pipe bands has now been published. The book, Pipe Bands, which took the leading piping historian five years to compile, is now on sale, priced £30 (plus shipping).
At 854 pages, the book is big. Included are chapters on the first civilian bands, juvenile bands, ladies bands, Volunteers bands, bands between the two world wars, bands in specific geographic areas, and many more – 24 chapters in all plus three Appendices. The book is the ultimate pipe band reference book.
Jeannie, who was for many years the curator of The Bagpipe Museum at the College of Piping, told Bagpipe.News: “There is very little available on the history of bands so if anyone wants to know about pipe band competitions, who the winning bands were, and how the rules, methods of judging and playing requirements have changed over the last century and a quarter then the information is all here.
“The earliest bands in other countries have been noted, too, and while it would be impossible to include every band in the world I have included the histories of famous bands and some others which are not well known but their stories serve to illustrate how bands are formed and develop.
“I have also included comments and suggestions made by people over the years. One of my favourites is the idea that the drum corps should be in the middle of the band and not at the back. A simple idea, but the reasoning behind it is logical and I’d like to see it tried out.”
Jeannie says she began researching pipe bands soon after finishing the second Pipe Makers book in 2016. “I had been using online newspaper archives extensively for pipe makers and had noted many references to pipe bands. I was surprised at the number of bands in the late 1870s, and some of the locations were not where you would expect to find bands proliferating.
“In addition to newspaper archives I have used piping magazines, competition programmes and information supplied by many people around the world.
“When it came to the cover pictures, for me it had to be the Glasgow Police. It is one of the oldest bands to have been performing consistently at the highest level throughout the band’s existence and it holds the record for the number of World Championships won.”