CLASP to retain online comps. / Speyfest returns / RSDG single / Welch initiative / Kingsbury release


The Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers (CLASP) intends to add a second league table that will filter points into a new separate online league table for 2022.

The CLASP league table will incorporate all competitions (in-person/online) points. Traditionally, the league winners are announced in July each year, but the online league will filter into a separate league table and the winner will be announced in December 2022.

CLASP’s most recent competition, which took place last month, was the latest to be held online but live rather than pre-recorded. Its next competition – on February 5 – will also be held in this way. The spring competition will, however, be held in person and this will take place on March 26 at the National Piping Centre’s campus in the west end of Glasgow (the former College of Piping building).

Margaret Dunn.

The league is organised by NPC teacher, Margaret Dunn.  She said: “At the start of the pandemic, we were forced to hold our competitions by asking competitors to record their performances on their devices, uploading them to YouTube then sending us the links for appraisal.

“This year, this evolved into live online submissions and this has proven to be a more popular format. Therefore, it is a logical step for us to continue with this format in addition to in person contests.

“It has resulted in us incorporating live online events into the overall league placings as of next year, a decision that has been welcomed by many of our overseas members.”

“Looking forward to next summer, we can confirm the dates of two of our competitions: Luss Highland Games on July 2 and Balloch on July 16. We hope to be able to confirm more dates soon.”

Margaret has produced a short video on CLASP which can be viewed here.

Since the start of the pandemic, CLASP membership has grown globally and now has over 200 active members. To join go to:

The Pipes & Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards today releases a charity single. All proceeds go to PoppyScotland and the Royal British Legion Scotland

Also featuring on the recording – Heroes of St Valery – are the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Stuart Samson MBE, former Director of the Army School of Piping and Highland Drumming. The single begins with a narration provided by Brigadier Sir Melville Jameson KCVO CBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross, himself a fan of piping.

The single is available for download on Spotify and iTunes.

Popular Scottish folk festival, Speyfest, will return in 2022 to mark 25 years at the heart of the Speyside community. The festival, held in the Moray town of Fochabers, takes place on July 22-24.

The festival was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

As well as featuring a plethora of acts from Scotland’s world of traditional music, there will be plenty of ceilidhs … with the final day seeing a non-denominational Celtic kirk service.

Tickets are on sale now.

Matthew Welch, the California-based composer and piper, has launched what he says is “a service dedicated to helping educate bagpipers about music and musicians about bagpipes.”

Doctor Bagpipe is an extension of Welch’s YouTube channel and seeks to educate pipers about musical ideas and techniques. It is aimed at those seeking creative fulfillment through bagpipe music but who may be disillusioned with the pipe band environment.

Welch is one of piping’s more interesting minds. He a former member of Simon University Pipe Band and New York Metro Pipe Band and published A New Compleat Theory for The Highland Bagpipe last year. Click HERE to read the review.

Pay the Pipemaker is the second release from US piper, Jeremy Kingsbury.

The album contains early music from lowland Scotland, highland Scotland, Ireland and even England all performed on the Great Highland Bagpipe, uilleann pipes Border pipes, whistles and jaw harp.

Jeremy, pictured, said: “One of the goals for this album for me was to play some of my favorite tunes from the Border of Scotland and England and from some of my favorite Border pipers …

Some of the tunes Jeremy plays require the ability to produce a high B note: “Before I had a set of Border pipes to borrow I had started to daydream about how to get the couple of pinched notes out of my Highland pipes, but it never moved beyond the planning stages until I heard saw Bob Cameron, a New England piper, talking about doing it on his pipes. Bob said he was inspired by Gordon Mooney and Matt Seattle playing pinched notes on Border Pipes. There are references to Highland pipers pinching notes in the 18th century and supposedly a fingering chart exists in Sutherland’s manuscript who played pastoral, Border and Highland pipes in Aberdeenshire in the 1780s. I went looking through Aird’s publications with an eye for tunes that would take advantage of a high B which is a quite achievable note to get with a bit of practice.”

Jeremy specialises in a repertoire of 18th and early 19th century pipe music and is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Iowa. He also produces a bi-weekly piping podcast.

Pay the Pipemaker follows on from Kingsbury debut recording released earlier this year, Oyster Wives Rant.

We will carry a review of the album in due course.