Butter Fingers’ blog, 17/03/17
THE CAPTAIN JOHN A MacLellan MBE Memorial Trust Dinner will this year be held on 26th August at the Caledonia Hotel in Princes Street, Edinburgh. More details soon.
VETERAN TEACHER OF highland dancing, Jean Swanston is trying to track down young piper called Ruaridh Brown from Dunblane. Ruaridh is aged about 12/13 years old. If anyone knows him please send contact details to Gillie McNab
Speaking of Gillie, her well known family of pipers and drummers is to be honoured at this year’s European Pipe Band Championships in Forres. The family was featured in the February 2015 Piping Times:
ON THE SUBJECT of the Europeans, Major General Seymour Monro (QOH) will be the Chieftain this year. Major Monro is the Convener of the Northern Meeting Piping Trust and is Director of the Highland Military Tattoo.
A local man, he spent 35 years in the Queen’s Own Highlanders and is a friend to pipers and pipe bands. For once, organisers of a pipe band competition have made a very good choice in appointing Major Monro as chieftain.
SIR EDWIN LANDSEER’s famous painting, ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ has been offered to the National Gallery by Diageo. The price tag is £4m and they have the museum trustees until today to decide if they can meet the asking price, thus enabling the celebrated 1851 depiction of a stag to remain in public view.
Perhaps if this multinational if feeling really charitable it could simply give it to the National Gallery … after all Scottish heritage helped build the whisky industry. It still does.
The painting was sold in 1916 to Thomas Dewar of the famous Perthshire whisky company, who adopted the stag as a branding device for the business. The Distillers company bought Dewar’s in 1925 and was in turn bought by Guinness in 1986. In 1997 Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to become Diageo. Diageo sold the Dewar’s brand to Bacardi the next year, but kept the Landseer and soon after gave it on loan to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which has displayed it in the 17 years since. Last year, Diageo made an operating profit of £3bn.
DEVOTEES OF THE ‘big music’ will gather next weekend in Perthshire for the annual Piobaireachd Society Conference. The subjects being covered are: Angus McKay and the Society’s revised Book 10, fiddling and pibroch, new tunes from the Campbell Canntaireachd, the amateur piping league that is the CLASP, and the usual demonstration of the 2017 Set Tunes. As ever, there will be a convivial dinner and ceilidh on Saturday evening.
I’ve never been to this conference but I will attend this year because I’m intrigued by what fiddler Pete Clark has to say on the subject of fiddling and piobaireachd. I understand he’ll be featuring MacIntosh’s Lament and a Scott Skinner piece.
The weekend kicks off with the annual College of Piping Lecture on Friday night. I note from the Piping Times that the speakers this year are Euan Anderson and Alan Forbes. These wise men from the east (Edinburgh) will be delivering a joint presentation on the theme of piping societies in the modern era. A good topic, given the vagaries of health that some piping organisations worldwide find themselves in.
Euan will be giving the Eagle Pipers’ take on the subject and Alan that of the venerable Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society. I hear a quartet from the RSPS will play Roddy Campbell’s eponymous 2/4.
Tickets for the lecture are £10.00 and are available at the door or from the College in advance. Refreshments are provided.
GOOD LUCK TO all pipers competing in tomorrow’s Duncan Johnstone competition.
Disclaimer: the views of Butter Fingers are not necessarily those of the College of Piping.