Dr. Alison Burke has been appointed Operations Manager/Chief Executive designate of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA). Dr. Burke, pictured, is the first woman to lead the organisation.

Initially, Dr. Burke’s will work for an unspecified trial period before the appointment is approved formally. RSPBA Chairman, Kevin Reilly confirmed the appointment in a statement: “Dr Alison Burke joins us from being the Park and Project Manager at Dalkeith Country Park where she has been working on major infrastructure projects for the last three years for Buccleuch [Estates].”

Prior to this, Dr. Burke worked as the Creative Project Co-ordinator with Aberdeen City Council. Dr. Burke was also Curator of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collection at Blairs Museum near Aberdeen and managed of Drum Castle and Craigievar for the National Trust for Scotland. 

Mr. Reilly added: “Alison is also committed to education having lectured in Classical Theatre for ten years, as well as having launched several award-winning Museum Education programmes. Alison will be a great asset to our team, and we look forward to her joining us in January 2022.”

Dr. Burke replaces Ian Embelton who retired just over a year ago.

The 2022 Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships has been postponed once again.

Organiser, the Scottish School Pipe and Drums Trust, pointed to current COVID-19 safety measures as the rationale behind the decision.

Preston Lodge Pipe Band
Preston Lodge Pipe Band performing at a recent Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.

An indoor event in a school that attracts visitors from all around Scotland is simply not possible because of cleaning/turnaround timescales.

“A national event of this kind, that attracts pupils, staff, and parents from schools in Scotland, who then return to their schools, risks being a ‘super-spreader’ and runs counter to school and LEA [local education authority] efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID, and to keep staff and pupils learning in schools rather than self-isolating at home, or having to learn from home because of staff shortages, a spokesman said.

“A single case identified at or immediately after the Championships could have a ripple effect out to many schools. School attendance continues to be very disrupted, affecting learning, and we don’t want to undermine this further.”

Over 30 classrooms plus several public spaces are needed to run the competition. Organisers had considered holding the competition outdoors in May but this would coincide with school exams. The date of the next competition has now moved to March 12, 2023.

Although this year’s event did not take place, an online freestyle competition was held in March.

The Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming of Pennsylvania, USA is offering a weekend-long winter online workshop for pipers

The workshop is scheduled for February 4-6 and costs $275 USD.

Guest piping instructors include Roddy McLeod, Andrew Carlisle, Bruce Gandy and Robert Mathieson.

For details go to: https://balmoralschoolofpiping.org/