------Est. 1980 Glasgow city centre's oldest bagpipe shop------
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Newsletter - September 2012
Dear Piping Enthusiast,
It has been a hectic August with all that was going on at Piping Live! and the World Championships. It was great to catch up with friends from around the globe and despite differing cultures, backgrounds and nationalities, we all speak that wonderful and universal language of Piping. It seems to transcend the socio-economic differences between people and provide a genuine bond. If we could apply something akin to this to mankind as a whole, the world would surely be a much nicer place.
James C. Begg
Vol 111 of the Scots Guards book has just been released - it is well worth £33 and a must for everyone's library. Congratulations to Messrs Banks, Stoddart and Co for all their efforts in producing a really solid collection of tunes. We had a good day at the Piping Live! marquee where all enjoyed a hand made cake to celebrate the 50th edition of our newsletter (July Edition) - stunning - and it was done to match the t-shirt. Pictured along with James and the cake is Andrea Boyde, the ever pleasant organiser of Piping Live! and a great piper in her own right.
We also had great success at the World Championships with a double one two for Begg Bags - 1st and 2nd in grades 1 and 2, with the Field Marshall, Scottish Power, Denny and Dunipace Gleneagles and St Thomas Alumni respectively. Congratulations to all of them. It is hard to put a definite fix on it, but we estimate over 50% of Grade 1 pipers were on our bags - great.
Another new band has joined the fold recently - welcome to the New Zealand Police PB of Palmerston North, and we wish them well. Their bags are in production and will be heading out to NZ shortly in time for the start of their season.
A-Z of Piping - a Personal View by James C. Begg
- W is for the Worlds.
W has to be for the Worlds, which again have just come and gone in a blink of an eye. The World Pipe Band Championships are an annual £12m cash injection into the economy of Glasgow and are apparently getting bigger and bigger each year. The Piping Live! week has been a hugely successful addition and the two events have really put Glasgow at the centre of global piping and drumming. There is not a Weegie who is not aware of it, as the city is awash with pipers and drummers from so many countries - the buzz in the city has to be experienced to be really appreciated. Taxi drivers are euphoric, pubs delirious, hotels full - oh happy days. There is however a certain predictability about the Worlds. The venue is Glasgow Green and I was not too enamoured with it when it first moved there but over time, the investment and organisation from the RSPBA and Glasgow City Council have improved things tremendously. It is probably the least attractive park in the whole of Strathclyde but it is flat and centrally located. I thought the suggestion I heard from the late Greig Sharp of Kintail Pipes was a good one. At the end of the competitions, why not have the bands march through the streets to George Square for the prize giving? We have a smaller version of this on the Friday prior, with a few bands marching from Blythswood Square. So something similar to the parade at Cowal could be created in the heart of Glasgow. It could be on a par with the Tour de France down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées or Rangers/Celtic parading a European trophy - yes, I've got a very long memory! I am sure you get the gist - people would flock to this and it would also let the bands play more. Many travel a long way to take part and can end up having only 5 to 7 minutes competition playing time - we should find a way of recognising their efforts and commitment and be able to show our appreciation. The BBC did a great job of streaming the Grade 1 event on the internet and just think what it would look like if they streamed thousands of musicians parading against a backdrop of iconic Glaswegian landmarks - it would be " pure dead brilliant". The Worlds in 2013 are going to be spread over two days so now is the time for more innovation and new ideas. So are you in favour of a Grand March? Do let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Offer - a USB from Chris Armstrong
This month we have a very, very special offer - the fantastic new collection of music from Chris Armstrong with 86 tunes presented on a USB. This is a good addition to Chris' previous two collections of tunes. It is an easy computer upload and in addition to the actual music, this innovative approach allows you to hear Chris playing the tunes as well. Normal price elsewhere is £20 but we have an arrangement whereby we can offer this for a short time at only £17 - don't miss it! Worldwide postage is free as well.
Field Report - "We are a Band of Brothers"
There is an obsession within piping (and drumming) which can become all-consuming and one which has the potential to diminish the enjoyment of the music. We are referring to that of a competitive spirit and of competitions. Some people of course thrive on this and the performance standards of bands and soloists are undoubtedly raised as a result. This however is most definitely not the only game in town and it is so easy to overlook areas of piping and drumming where the participants play their instruments for the love of the music and for the camaraderie which can be found in a band. If you take that one stage further and add in a strong sense of community spirit, you come up with something like The Firefighters of Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums. We first heard of them through Andrew Stark of Florida, who is a junior member of the Band and a newcomer to piping. He recently purchased a Begg sheepskin bag and was so thrilled with it that he kindly dropped us a note to let us know. From this, we looked into the Band and frankly, they are an absolute inspiration. Forget all the obsession with getting ready for a competition and all the agro that can go with it - these guys and girls play their music for their own true enjoyment and as a service to the Tampa Bay community. The Firefighters of Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums is comprised of active, retired and volunteer firefighters, law enforcement officers and community members from the Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. They dedicate their efforts to the men and women of their fire, rescue and law enforcement brotherhood who serve their communities 24 hours a day. Wow! Check out their website and see what we mean.
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. mailto:email@example.com