Last Friday’s post on the Clan MacRae Pipe Band jolted a few memories from readers. Donald Macleod was among those who contacted us and he was able to identify some of the individuals in the photograph.
Donald, brother of Kenny Macleod of McCallum Bagpipes, told us: “In the back row, from left to right is Ian Riddell, a drummer called ‘Mick’, my father James Macleod, my uncle Alex Macleod – the Pipe Major – then John McAllister. On the extreme right is Eddie McLellan.
“The photograph is probably from the 1953 Worlds. It was the only one won by my uncle.
“Ian Riddell went on to be a founder member of the Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band (GSA). James Macleod was my father and he was the founding Pipe Major of the GSA band.
“John McAllister was also a founder member of GSA and Eddie McLellan was the founding Pipe Sergeant.
“I was in Clan MacRae later on and went on to be a founder member of GSA and later Pipe Major. Hugh MacInnes and Tom Johnstone were founding members, too.
“My brother, Kenny went on to become Pipe Major of the band.”
Thank you, Donald. Can other readers help identify the rest of the individuals in the photograph? If so, please contact us in the usual way.
As the wider piping and pipe band world gradually starts to prepare for a much hoped for season in 2022, we have uploaded a charming article from our archives on the subject of music and musicianship.
The article was written in 1977 by Keith Mumby and published in the Piping Times in May that year. Its author was a piper from Manchester, England.
Musicianship is one of those words that is used a lot but thought about rarely. We are not talking about technique here. Learning to play musically is quite a different concept. Pipe Majors Iain Morrison, Angus MacDonald and Alasdair Gillies (pictured) would head any list of the most musical pipers of the modern era and pipers of all standards should listen to their recordings.
Apocryphally, we are aware of many pipers spending much of the last two years attempting to improve their sound and their musicianship. It is to be hoped, therefore, that we will hear more musical performances from bands and soloists in 2022 than we’ve heard in previous years.
• In Keith’s article, An en-hanting evening, reference is made to College of Piping stalwart, Kenny MacLean. Kenny (88) is currently in hospital in Kilmarnock recuperating. We wish him a speedy recovery. Kenny will be featured in the forthcoming Piping Times Annual.
With the recent announcement by the Scottish Government of free instrument lessons for youngsters in the country’s state schools, Donald Drone’s daughter brings home some news for him …
Thanks, as ever, to Iain Bell of Canonbie (pictured below) for this month’s Donald Drone strip.
For those readers who may be unfamiliar with Iain, he is well known on the traditional music scene in the south of the country and in Northern Ireland where he spent his formative years. He is a keen piper, fly fisher, artist, motorcyclist and accordionist. He is also a prolific composer and in 2018 brought out his first collection of original music, From Scots Borderer to Ulster Scot.
The acclaimed book contains 42 tunes (with background information) and includes the slow air Iain wrote in memory of Private Richard Maybin, the youngster from County Antrim who immigrated to Canada, joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles and was killed, aged 21, just before the Battle of the Somme.
The tune was the winning entry in a competition organised by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland branch in 2016.