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Welcome to Begg Bagpipes
------Est. 1980 Glasgow city centre's oldest bagpipe shop------
click on the banner for our home page

Newsletter - April 2013
Dear Piping Enthusiast,  
We are always keen to promote the teaching and development of piping, with technology offering new and innovative approaches. We carried an article in April 2012 from our friend Bob McMichael in Boise, Idaho on how he was using Skype to be able to take lessons from the excellent Bruce Gandy, and thus overcoming some 3,500 miles of physical separation. Tomorrow, I am off to the National Piping Centre for the launch of their new initiative on the same theme - in partnership with Glasgow-based digital media consortium Yellow Brick House, this is an ambitious e-learning project which will deliver high quality bagpipe tuition digitally using webinar technology and live streaming services. It sounds exciting and we will report more on this in a future issue.
Yours aye,
James C. Begg

News - Piping Hot Forres - European Championships
The European Pipe Band Championships will be held on 29 June 2013, 28 June 2014 and 27 June 2015 in Grant Park, Forres attracting over 100 pipe bands from throughout Europe along with 10,000 spectators and visitors with the potential to bring around £2 million of economic benefits to the town and the surrounding area.
Dawn McNiven, who is promoting the contest, sent us some details and so click on the link - a very professional approach is being adopted for this important championship and we wish them well.

 Any Questions? - for P/M Stuart Shedden
Stuart Shedden is an accomplished solo and band performer, having notched up multiple successes over the years. The highlights include that of World Junior Champion, the Highland & Islands Invitational Piobaireachd, the Gold Medal at Inverness in 1998, the Uist and Barra Competition, the Piobaireachd and Overall at the Scottish Pipers’ Association, the  Dunvegan Medal in Skye, the prestigious Donald MacDonald Quaich and a unique double at London in 2005 being runner up in both the Bratach Gorm and the open Piobaireachd. As Pipe Sergeant with the Toyota Pipes and Drums in 1983, he won the Grade 2 World Championship and the Champion of Champions. Currently, he is Pipe Major of the Grade 1 Torphichen and Bathgate Band. Stuart lives in Glasgow with his wife Carole and their three children.
Q. At what age did you start playing and who were/are your tutors?
A.I started playing at 12 and was taught from scratch by Alasdair MacPherson who was the brother of Donald. I met Hugh MacInnes when I was 16. Hughie introduced me to all the top players, took me round the games circuit and taught me a lot about the competing mindset. Hugh had a magnificent bagpipe and he was keen to pass on all his knowledge of how to set it up, tie in bags etc. He always had a great pipe and I learned a great deal from him.

Q. What is the best piping advice you’ve had and who gave it to you?
A. The best advice was probably from Hugh MacInnes. He used to say "when you're on the platform and you've tuned the drone for the last time and hitched the bag under your arm, think of nothing else except the tune. Do not let anything else enter your thought process." I stood by those words and very rarely broke down.

Q. What would you say has been your biggest piping difficulty?
A. I suppose I've been pretty lucky. Some players develop problems with their crunluath movement or their birl but I managed to avoid all these pitfalls. The biggest regret I had was Hugh MacInnes passing away so young. He was only 51.

Q. Which is the best piping book?
 A. The best Piping book I own is 'The Pipers Handbook' by Capt John MacLellan. Not sure if it's still in print but I learned a lot about reed manipulation from that book.

Q. Who is your favourite player and why - past or present?
A. My all time favourite player has to be Donald MacPherson. No one else has won more prizes at Oban and Inverness. The bagpipe was in a different class and he had that sound in the 1940's.

Q. Is there something in piping you wish you could have done but haven’t as yet?
A. I would have liked to have won the Gold Medal at Oban. I was runner up on a number of occasions. I wouldn't have been a better player for it but it would have been nice to have.

Q. What is your pet hate within piping?
A.  Well I've got a few here!!! A badly set up instrument, unmusical tuning notes and kids being taught incorrectly.

Q. What has been your happiest piping moment?
A. Without doubt winning the medal at Inverness. I'll never forget it. Colin MacLellan often remarks that he's never seen a happier winner.

Q. What is your most prized piping possession?
A. The silver pipe that I competed with. They're 1918 full silver Peter Henderson. I've never seen another set like them. I passed them onto my son David and he now competes with them

Q. What do you do outwith piping that might surprise us?
 A. I start the singing on the band bus!!!!!
Stuart - thank you so much!

Special Offer - Get your Pipes into shape!
Our repair and refurbishment operation continues to augment our other activities and to bring more focus onto this, we are offering a 10% reduction on any jobs that are commenced during the coming month. Since each job by definition is unique and therefore subject to an individual quotation, you are going to have to trust us that we are giving you the 10% off! We will, for sure.

The Beauty and the Beast
Apart from playing the pipes, what other talents does the girl in the middle of the front row of the Argyll Peninsula Pipe Band possess? As you can see from the photo, she is well qualified to have reached the finals of the Miss Scotland 2013 contest to be held next month. As part of the contest within the specialist section, Sophie Roper will be playing her pipes so we all wish her the very best of luck. There will be no difficulty in future for the Band in finding new recruits!
It is clear this is the Beauty part of our story.......................................
Our customers come in all shapes and sizes but we don't think anyone is larger in size and spirit than our friend Hans van Kooten from the Netherlands. When he visits our shop in Bath Street, he parks his Harley on the pavement outside and no-one, even in Glasgow, is going to have the nerve to tell him to move it somewhere else! Hans and his pal Jim are pictured at a recent Harley rally "Loud Pipes Save Lives". There is never a dull moment when Hans is around.

If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, or if you would like to comment on any articles or issues, we'd be pleased to hear from you.

Begg Bagpipes
202B Bath Street
Glasgow, Strathclyde G2 4HF
United Kingdom
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