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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 - August 2011


Dear Piping Enthusiast,    

Thanks again for your loyalty and support. It's great to see that I have many repeat customers on the world wide web. On the web order forms that you fill in, I get a report of what else you have ordered and when, so it's great to see you coming back time and again. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have any suggestions for line items that I am not holding and should, or how we can improve our service to you. Our strap line is Piping Perfection and is driven by an ethos partly instilled into me by the late, great Seamus McNeill (see below) - you can never achieve Perfection since there is always room for improvement and when you think you have achieved Perfection, you are kidding yourself and are actually going backwards.

This is a rather shortened newsletter since many of you will be travelling to the

Worlds/Piping Live! or are on holiday - if you are competing this month, I wish

you every success.


Yours aye,

James C. Begg





It's a massive month for Piping in Glasgow with a wealth of Piping Events and competitions. Don't forget to catch up with Begg Bagpipes at our Bath Street workshops (including wine and nibbles) on Thursday 11th August and Friday 12th at 15.00 and at the Marquee outside the National Piping Centre from Noon on Tuesday 9th August




A-Z of Piping - a Personal View by James C. Begg


M is for Maestro

As we approach another peak in the Piping calendar, I was thinking of my piping past and what effect the Maestro, Seamus McNeill, had on it. Famous Seamus as he was known, first featured in my life when I was about 11-12 years old as I ventured into the College of Piping in Otago Street, Glasgow. The college had character to say the least but in these days it was badly in need of renovation. However, it was the tuition that mattered - the teaching was of the highest standard and remains so to this day. Success has also enabled the facilities to be vastly improved from these days. I didn't see Seamus that often but through the years had various "encounters" with him - I always kept a quiet council when he was about as there was only going to be one winner and it wasn't going to be me even when I was extremely provoked by his dogmatic approach. He could be quite outspoken and as I was sitting waiting for something in the College shop one day, he popped in and made the comment "Have you nothing better to do??" Some folk could easily have taken offence but after all this was the Maestro. On another occasion, I was chairing the final of a competition on behalf of the Scottish Pipers Association at the BBC studios and I had invited Seamus along as a distinguished guest. He really took the biscuit when he made some derogatory remarks about the performers. I could not believe it and it was all I could do to stop a riot. I had asked him in advance whether or not he needed any background information on the event and the performers and he replied "I'll just hoof it on the night" - boy did he do that! The next day, I went to hear a presentation at the College regarding the introduction of Institute examinations for Piping - Seamus was fronting this initiative. Not a word was mentioned about the 12 hrs previous - the Maestro had spoken and no-one challenged him thereafter. At that time, Institute exams didn't get off the ground but the concept is being revived as I write. Seamus' achievements and contribution to Piping are too numerous to list here, but if you would like to find out more check out this link from the HeraldScotland

I well remember a humbling experience when an ageing Seamus was showing two young boys how to season a bag - it tells you a lot about the Maestro that he could find the time in his busy schedule for such a relatively modest task and indeed he undoubtedly did the same for me 30 years previously as he instilled his piping ethos into me. At some stage, he was awarded the Loving Cup from the Glasgow City Council and apparently went round the College saying "Somebody loves me!" He had a very dry sense of humour and when this was combined with his unstinting focus and drive on piping perfection, the outcome on some occasions could result in a drop in his personal popularity within some quarters.


Few will match the heights achieved by Seamus and we will be forever in his debt.


If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, we'd be pleased to hear from you. mailto:bill@beggbagpipes.com



Begg Bagpipes
202B Bath Street
, Strathclyde G2 4HF
United Kingdom
This email was sent to: wgbegg@hotmail.com


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