Members’ Competition Results

Saturday 18th March 2017

On Saturday 18th March the SPSL held its annual Members’ Competition & Recital at The Caledonian Club in Central London.  Callum Beaumont judged the competition during the day and delivered an excellent recital in the evening.

SPSL committee member Stephen Cussen was an excellent host for the day’s event.  The event ran smoothly and Stephen announced the winners in plenty of time for the rugby fans to watch the England vs. Ireland match!

 

Competition Results

 

Amateur Piobaireachd

1st Lachlan Macdonald (Glengarry’s Lament)
2nd Len Durham (The Groat)
3rd Colin Taylor (Corrienessan’s Salute)

 

Open Piobaireachd

1st Jamie Forrester (MacDougall’s Gathering)
2nd Andrew Hall (Lament for Ronald Macdonald of Morar)
3rd Michael Fitzhenry (The King’s Taxes)

 

Amateur March, Strathspey & Reel

1st Len Durham
2nd Lachlan Macdonald
3rd Colin Taylor

 

Open March

1st Jamie Forrester
2nd Michael Fitzhenry
3rd Andrew Hall

 

Open Strathspey & Reel

1st Andrew Hall
2nd Michael Fitzhenry
3rd Jamie Forrester

 

Open Jig

1st Michael Fitzhenry
2nd Jamie Forrester
3rd Andrew Hall
4th Len Durham

 

The evening recital was a very enjoyable and friendly occasion.  Guests were seated in the impressive Johnnie Walker function room where we were treated to a supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.  It was a convivial atmosphere where society members and friends enjoyed a very pleasant meal listening to top quality piping.

Callum is at the top of his game after his recent successes at the Metro Cup and the Uist & Barra and he displayed his excellence and versatility with a wide range of tunes.  His piobaireachd for the evening was Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Salute which was really quite appropriate given that we were next door to Buckingham Palace!

During the interval Stephen Cussen told us a little bit about the City of London Pipes and Drums.  Stephen is a driving force in that organisation which is led by Pipe Major Iain Westgate.  They are doing a significant amount of teaching across London and the South East area for both piping and drumming and deserve significant credit for this investment in learning and development.

As society president I was particularly pleased to see a number of new faces join our established members in making it a very enjoyable day.  Enclosed is a photo taken at the prize giving in the Morrison Room.  The portrait in the background is of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and he looks very satisfied with the day’s events!

A special mention is due for young piper James O’Connor.  James started piping in the Air Cadets three years ago and is now piping with the City of London.  At the end of the evening recital James addressed the gathering and on behalf of the SPSL thanked Callum for the excellent recital.  James’s comments were warmly applauded by all present.

Thank you to everyone who supported the SPSL in this successful event.

The Society is also looking forward to the Annual London Competition in November and a number of additional volunteers have joined the team this winter.   Preparations are well under way and being driven by a team which includes Mrs. Jackie Roberts, Mrs. Annie Broderick, Billy Wardrope, Callum Galleitch, Michael Fitzhenry, Stephen Cussen and myself.  I expect to confirm details of this year’s London Competition in the next few weeks.  One certainty this year is that acting on feedback from last year there will be bar and catering refreshments available throughout the day to ensure the social activities of the gathering are fully restored!

Members’ Indoor Competition & Callum Beaumont Recital

The SPSL are delighted to announce that we will be holding an indoor competition on Saturday 18th March 2017 at the Caledonian Club London.

Non-members are very welcome if they wish to compete.

There will be a mixture of Open, Amateur and Juvenile categories followed by a recital by Gold Medallist Callum Beaumont.

Members’ Competition & Recital by Neil Scotland

Member’s Competition & Recital by Neil Scotland

August 8, 2014

Members competition 2014John Angus Smith and Andrew Hall split the top prizes at the SPSL Members Competition 2014, which took place at the London Welsh Centre on 22nd June.

John Angus Smith won the Open Piobaireachd with a wonderful rendition of Lament for the Only Son, with Andrew Hall and Allan Dunsmore taking second and third place respectively.

The same trio shared the prizes in the Open MSR, with Andrew Hall taking the top prize. John Angus came second prize, with Allan Dunsmore again taking third place.

John Angus Smith won the Open 6/8 March, while Allan Dunsmore had his chance to shine in the Open Jig, taking first place with a splendid run through The Handshaker.

The entry was strong and the three judges – guest judges Bill Wotherspoon and Glen Brown, alongside the SPSL’s Roddy Livingstone – were impressed with the overall standard of play, highlighting that piping continues to thrive in the South-East of England.

In the amateur grade, Len Durham won first prize in the Amateur Piobaireachd, playing Glengarry’s March. William Wardrope took the honours in the Amateur MSR and 6/8 March, playing Mrs MacDonald of Dunach, Dorrator Bridge and Lexie MacAskill in the former, and Jean Mauchline in the latter.

The amateur grade also provided me the chance to make my own competition debut, somewhat late in the day, but better late than never. Well, not quite. My real debut was premature and disastrous, somewhere to the north of Toronto in 1981. The members’ competition was my chance to face those demons more than 30 years later and put things right.

And facing those demons, glowering across at me from the other side of the judges table (sorry, Roddy), it turned out to be not quite as bad as I’d thought it would be. Could have been better, could have been a lot worse, with a silver in the Piobaireachd and a bronze in the MSR rounding off the day nicely.

In the Under-18 events, Kieran McAlea arrived just in the nick of time to sweep all prizes, playing an impressive set of King George V’s Army, Captain Colin Campbell and Lexie MacAskill in the MSR and Farewell to Port Askaig in the 6/8 March. Hunter Davis won the Under 15 Slow Air and 2/4 March events with Scot’s Whae Hae and Brown Haired Maiden.

Rolls were reversed in the evening, and it was the guest judges turn to take the stage for a recital, with the competing pipers retiring to the audience alongside other society members to enjoy a fantastic evening of piping.

Glenn Brown played a great set of tunes interspersed with piping anecdotes. He was followed by Bill Wotherspoon, whose set included a wonderful rendition of Maggie Cameron, a tune which I had made a slightly more hesitant attempt at earlier in the day.

A great day – and evening – was had by all!

 

Lachlan MacDonald – Pipers Wanted

July 8, 2014

Stow Caledonia Pipe BandSTOW CALEDONIAN PIPE BAND, WALTHAMSTOW, LONDON
Stow Caledonian is a relatively new band formed in London. We are looking for new members to play pipes to supplement our current compliment. Tuition will be provided for all levels including beginners who have not tried piping previously. Experienced players will hopefully perform in Grade 4 competitions initially and solo competitions plus other functions which the band has agreed to perform.The band meets on a Tuesday and Friday evening in Highams Park in north east London( just off the north circular) for practice. The format for the evening would be chanter practice  ie tuition followed by playing pipes in groups. Anyone interested in joining should  should speak to the Pipe Major Gareth Utting (ex Scots guards) on 07932 702493 and look at the web site www.stowcaledonian.co.uk for more background infomation

SPSL 76th Annual London Competition

76th Annual London Competition Draw

October 13, 2015

The 76th Annual London Competition will take place at the Kensington Conference & Events Centre London Comp photo 2014

on Saturday 31st October.

Starting at 9am, competitions will run in 8 competition rooms throughout  the day.

Click here for the London Competition Draw

SPSL Tuition

October 30, 2013

The Great Highland Bagpipe is a unique instrument which, to play properly, requires plenty of expert tuition.
The Scottish Piping Society of London is a charitable organisation and we offer the following classes.

BEGINNERS

Subject to the availability of tutors, our Members who are beginners are currently being offered weekly lessons in Central London. As pipers advance beyond this level the Society can guide the individuals towards appropriate tutors and bands who can help them progress.

ADVANCED

Tuition at an advanced level is available by arrangement. It is expected this is targeted at experienced pipers seeking to progress at the professional standard (B and C levels). Places are limited.

CONTACT

For any further advice on lessons or how to improve your skills, please contact us via our Facebook and Twitter links.

SPSL Shop

SPSL Year Membership

SPSL Year Membership

SPSL Yearly Membership that will run from time of purchase until the following January. Please remember to include the details asked below so that we may send you your SPSL membership badges. Thanks.

Price: £20.00

Please enter Name, Postal Address, Email and Phone number below:

John Angus Smith Recital by Tom Curd

April 2, 2014

John Angus Smith recital March 2014The first SPSL recital of the year has now been ticked off of my list and what an enjoyable evening it was. Most got there a little early but, as with every piping evening, there is always a lot of nattering and catching up to do before settling down to what is in store for us.

The night started off with some very tuneful marches that are not played too often, then into a set of Gaelic Airs and foot tapping Jigs, followed by some competition sets and Gaelic Hymns. As with all the tunes throughout the night, John Angus gave us all a taste of background knowledge and history for each tune which could be about the composer or the reason behind the name of the tune. But my favourite was the story behind ‘Chloe’s Passion for Willie John MacAulay’ and that the painting the tune is based on can be found in the Young and Jackson Pub in Melbourne. Of course it was not enough just to teach us all about these fascinating facts, but we were tested on it too. John Angus wrote a quiz for the intermission and tested us on the information he spoke of throughout the recital. To his surprise, we were all listening!

After the quiz, and another chance for a chat and a drink, the second half of John Angus’ performance was underway. It started off with some more musical marches and Gaelic based tunes, including more music I had never heard before. Now the pipes were settled, John Angus accelerated his fingers and gave us a set of intricate and difficult strathspeys and reels followed by some well-known hornpipes. Once he caught his breath back, the night ended on one of my favourite piobaireachds, The Big Spree, and followed by an emotional slow air, Samantha’s Lullaby.

The night was full of interesting tunes with fascinating facts, including the extra discussion about the current set up of his pipes and all the great pipers who have taught and influenced John Angus throughout his piping life.

Thank you to the SPSL for organising the event and a special thank you to John Angus for his performance.

SPSL Tom Curd – Playing in the Dark

Tom Curd –

February 16, 2016

A fantastic achievement for local piper Tom Curd, who has worked hard to finally complete his first collection of tunes in the latest piping tune book to be released.

 

“Over the past year I have been putting all of my compositions together to write a book of tunes. It has been a long year, but I have finally got there!”

Tom’s new tune book is named Playing in the Dark, and is now available to purchase on Amazon (Click Here). Below is the description of the product from the store. We wish Tom, who currently plays with the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band, all the success in the sale of his book and look forward to hearing his tunes being played. Below is also a link to a video where the Bedfordshire University Pipe Band play three parts of one of Tom’s tunes called : ‘Bullogy’.

 

 

This book was initially a way of putting my compositions in one place. But after a few pipers took an interest in my tunes, I wanted to make something for pipers to pick up, play and hopefully enjoy. This book includes a handful of competition style 2/4 and 6/8 Marches with a sprinkling of Slow Airs, Waltzes and Strathspeys. But the majority is split between modern style Reels, Jigs and Hornpipes with some stories along the way.

 

 

SPSL The Worlds by Andrew Hall

The Worlds

August 18, 2014

Andrew & Matt at the Worlds

The Worlds !

It has been an amazing week in Glasgow. Absolutely brilliant!

We started the week off with a band practice on the Tuesday and that’s when it really hit me that it was Worlds week. The atmosphere was intense and every little detail seemed magnified. The sound was very good straight out of the box and the band was playing well.

On Wednesday I went along to see some of Piping Live but never made it. As I walked past the little pub next to the Piping Centre I heard a shout ‘Hey’. Why was I not surprised to see West Mids buddies Moe and David enjoying a refreshment! A short time later (!) I had missed all of the Piping Live events and they had missed the big concert they were there to see. But we had a great time catching up even if it was only a few days since we’d last caught up!

Thursday was the last practice day and we were scheduled to play outside at Glasgow Green. Unfortunately the weather forecast was poor so instead we had the final practice in the band hall. Everything seemed to go well and final arrangements were made to meet at 9am on Friday for the grade 1 qualifier.

That night we had a full house with Matt and Kevin from the band staying. We had a great dinner and Euan and Finlay arranged a ping pong tournament which distracted us from the next day’s events!

Now those of you that have followed the travel escapades of Matt and I will know that we struggle to get from A to B without something going wrong. Saturday was a pleasant exception! Everyone was ready on time and the taxi picked us up at 8am. Probably the most momentous event of the day was Matt and I arriving in the field 45mins early and there was no-one there to see it!

In the qualifier the band was due to play MSR at 11.10am and Medley at 2.30pm. The forecast was reasonable for the day and fortunately there was very little rain while we tuned up.

It can be difficult to enjoy the tune up and performance due to the focus of getting everything right. But I still tried to stay relaxed and enjoy it all. I noticed the first band leave final tuning and go off to play. Even though we still had 40 minutes or so before our turn I still thought ‘Here we go!’

One by one all the big bands went through final tuning; 78th, Power, FMM, Canterbury, SFU, SLOT…then it was our turn. The PM shouted ‘form up’ and we were off to the line. ‘Here we go for real I thought!’

A couple of pipers in the band have over 40 years consecutively playing at the worlds. This is only the second year I’ve played in the grade 1 format at the Worlds. Last year was mostly terrifying. This year I was looking forward to it slightly more than being terrified by it!

Our performances in the qualifiers went well. Euan watched at home on the live stream and made a very interesting comment that we really sounded like we were enjoying the medley. Not bad for a 9 year old! The crowd gave us a good reception and we had to wait until 5pm to hear if we had qualified.

After the two performances the band also made a presentation to Sandy Bell to mark his 50 years with the band. A formidable achievement!

After a short finale the qualifiers were announced and we were in! Due to play at 11.40am and 2.30pm on Saturday. We dashed home for chicken pasta and a game of cricket in the garden. Finlay threw such a monster tantrum when we got him out that we had to declare a no ball and put him back in!

Saturday’s atmosphere was a few notches up on Friday’s. We arrived early again and there were a lot more people around. Definitely the Worlds Final!

The rain was never far away and we bumped into Dave Gatcum and John McCulloch from the SPSL while we were waiting to get started. Great to see them both there listening and picking out their favourite bands.

Rain limited our preparation time to about 15 minutes for the MSR. The sound was good and we were happy with the performance of the Highland Wedding set. In the circle the sound on our side was great and I focused on blowing steady and hitting the breaks at the right time. Again the crowd gave us a good reception.

In the interval between performances I took the pipes apart to dry them out. The drones were soaked from the rain. Kitchen roll, brushes, all manner of gadgets were being used to dry the reeds.

The second run was at 2.30pm and as we went into final tune the crowd was huge. That buzz of excitement was definitely there and I was looking forward to getting into the circle. We played well again and that was four good runs over the two days. The crowd gave us a great reception and we marched off very happy, if a little disappointed that the season was over and we wouldn’t play together as a band for a few months.

When the results were announced we finished 5th overall as a band and the drum corps won the drumming world championship. It was a fantastic outcome and we were delighted. Attached is a photo of Matt and I holding the 5th prize trophy. It was a great celebration that evening and I can’t wait for next season.

It was a great week and fantastic to finish where we did. But my highlight is my son Euan listening to all performances on the live stream and picking out the medley from Friday as the best set where we played most freely and sounded like we were enjoying ourselves. He was right!