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Sandy Jones

Sandy Jones

Pipe Major Sandy Jones talk

– 50 years of Workshops, and Teaching in North America

The College of Piping has teamed up with the National Piping Centre to bring legendary North American piper and instructor, Pipe Major Sandy Jones to Scotland. Sandy will discuss his 50 years of organising summer schools and workshops.

Sandy Jones is a huge figure in North American piping. He played with the U.S. Air Force Pipe Band at JFK's funeral and was its Pipe Major for eight years. He studied piping with John MacFadyen. In 1970 they  co-founded the North American Academy of Piping, which is still going strong today.

In his talk, entitled 'Workshops, and Teaching in North America', Sandy will discuss a lifetime of piping and teaching. Colin MacLellan, the College's Director of Piping, said: "This is an outstanding opportunity to hear one of the central figures of North American teaching share his experiences and methods developed over the past 50 years in the United States."

The free talk takes place at the National Piping Centre on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, at 12.00 noon.

A big blaw – piping snippets

– Anna's amazing progress

Anna Scott is 15-years-old and from northern France. She is studying in Glasgow and has recently been coming to the College for lessons.

Anna wanted to learn to play the pipes and her father bought her the College's famous Tutor 1 book and a practice chanter.

This was only two months ago.

Anna then presented herself at the College saying, "I have finished this book."

Colin MacLellan, our Director of Piping, then took Anna under his wing. Last week, Anna had made such rapid progress that Colin decided she was ready to move from the chanter to pipes.

He decided to try her with a set of McCallum Bagpipes' black Acetyl pipes. Here is how she got on. Remember, it has been only two months since Anna picked up a practice chanter and one week since she tried the pipes:

See also:

Book a lesson

Book a Skype lesson

Book 1 Tutor book

Bagpipe Instructor required

– Bruce's departure leaves vacancy
at West Lothian CouncilWest Lothian Council logo

West Lothian Council requires a Bagpipe Instructor for the state schools within the local authority.

The post is a full time position carrying a salary of £24,876 - £33,069 per year.

Full details can be found HERE.

West Lothian is to the west of Edinburgh and takes in the towns of Livingston, Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn, Uphall and Linlithgow.

The moves comes after current postholder, Gordon Bruce took a similar position with St. Columba’s School in Kilmalcolm – which is nearer to his home.

Andrew Bonar

Andrew Bonar. Photo: SFU Pipe Band.

Andrew Bonar, 1966-2017

Andrew Bonar, one of Simon Fraser University Pipe Band’s longest-serving members, died on Friday (13th) after battling brain cancer for three years. He was 51.

As a youngster, Bonar played with the Grade 2 Abbotsford Legion Pipe Band of British Columbia before joining SFU. Other than spending two seasons with the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Bonar was a member of SFU for around 36 years. With SFU he won the World Pipe Band Championships six times. He was also a prolific prize winner on the solo circuit and won the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in 2010.

Bonar, an air-traffic controller by profession, underwent a lengthy operation last November to remove a tumour from the left side of his brain.

We extend our sympathies to wife, Jeanette, and children Kate and Cameron as well as to SFU.

*Andrew raised thousands of dollars for the BC Cancer Foundation. Donation in memory of Andrew can be made to the charity HERE.




Charles Cochrane

Charles Cochrane

Charles Cochrane died last Thursday (October 5) aged 85. Charles was one of nature's gentlemen. He began piping with Bonhill Pipe Band and was Pipe Major of several other bands in west central Scotland as well as in New Zealand and America. He later played with British Caledonian Pipe Band.

Funeral details when we have them.

A big blaw – piping snippets

Tying in a skin bag - with Willie Park

This week, Willie Park, the College's indefatigable Back Shop Manager, demonstrates one way to tie in a skin bag. Willie has tied in virtually thousands of bags over the years and is considered as something of an expert.


Try this for yourself but do remember that the College offers a tying-in service as well as a general refurbishment service.

* Next week, Willie demonstrates an alternative way of tying in a skin bag.

See also

Skin bags

National Kick Butt Day

– helping to motivate pipers

National Kick Butt Day is observed annually by our friends in the United States of America. It falls on the second Monday in October and is a day observed essentially to give yourself a kick in the seat of the pants.

It's all about encouraging one to achieve goals. We like this and believe it is the ideal motivational tool during what is usually a time of the year when, after a busy pipe band and solo piping season many of us simply put the pipes under the bed for a couple of months.

Chanter practiceDo you keep meaning to:

  • make your tachums snappier?
  • improve your overall sound?
  • learn a particular tune properly?

… and just never get around to it?

Well, today is the day to get started.

To support National Kick Butt Day we are offering a 24 hour 10% discount on practice chanters, pipe chanters, pipe bags (all kinds), and reeds (drone, practice chanter and pipe chanter) … and Skype lessons booked today.

Simply, go to the College Shop, select any of the above, and quote KICKBUTT at checkout.

Drone DroneLet's kick butt!


It was a good day for Edinburgh piping today at the fifth Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Piping Championships held at Inchdrewer House in Edinburgh, home of the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming.

Iain Speirs was the overall P Grade winner, Cameron Drummond took the P Grade MSR the A Grade Piobaireachd and the Open Hornpipe & Jig, while Sgt Ben Duncan went home with the B Grade Piobaireachd.


P Grade Piobaireachd – 1. Iain Speirs; 2. Callum Beaumont; 3. Glenn Brown; Faye Henderson.
Judges: Ronnie McShannon and John Wilson.

Cameron Drummond and Eddie Gaul with their trophies at the 5th Captain John A. MacLellan Piping Championships.

Cameron Drummond and Eddie Gaul with the fruits of their labour.

P Grade MSR – 1. Cameron Drummond; 2. Gordon McCready; 3. Iain Speirs; 4. Sgt. Ben Duncan; 5. Peter Hunt.
Judges: Ian Duncan and Ian McLellan.

A Grade Piobaireachd – 1. Cameron Drummond; 2. Peter McCallister; 3. Jamie Forrester; 4. Sandy Cameron; 5. Jonathan Greenlees.
Judges: Stuart Samson and Tom Speirs.

A Grade MSR – 1. Callum Beaumont; 2. Sarah Muir; 3. Jonathan Greenlees; 4. Jamie Forrester; 5. Steven Leask.
Judges: Jimmy Banks MBE and Walter Cowan.

B Grade Piobaireachd – 1. Sgt Ben Duncan; 2. Steven Leask; 3. Steven Gray; 4. John MacDonald; 5. Sarah Muir.
Judges: Andrew Frater and Colin MacLellan.

B Grade MSR – 1. Eddie Gaul; 2. Matt Wilson; 3. Callum Moffat; 4. Caitlin MacDonald; 5. Andrew Donlon.
Judges: James Henderson and Willie Morrison.

C Grade MSR – 1. Ciaren Ross; 2. Archie Drennan; 3. Kate Kimove; 4. John Cameron; 5. Dan Nevans.
Judges: Robert Barnes and Euan Anderson.

C Grade Piobaireachd – 1. Archie Drennan; 2. Kate Kimove; 3. John Cameron; 4. Gwenael Dage; 5. Eireann Iannetta-MacKay.
Judges: Patricia Henderson and Logan Tannock.

Open Hornpipe & Jig – 1. Cameron Drummond; 2. Callum Moffat; 3. Gordon McCready; 4. Glenn Brown; 5. Steven Gray.
Judges: Ronnie McShannon, Ian McLellan, Walter Cowan and John Wilson.

October 2017 Piping Times

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Online advertising is less engaging and , in fact, is more likely to annoy readers. Ads on mobile devices, for exThe streathspeyample, can be so small that readers can’t see them or click on them. There are also further threats in the shape of software that blocks ads … The estimated loss of global revenue due to blocked advertising during 2015 was $21.8 billion. The new iPhone, launched last month, comes with ad blocking software as standard in its browser. Any business that relies on this model of promotion is therefore severely limiting itself.
Stuart Letford

The strathspey in Scottish music is something that has long fascinated me. The basic difference between the strathspey reel and the traditional reel is one of tension … this is obvious to anyone who dances the strathspey and reel steps, just as the non-dance pipers’ myth of ‘strong-weal-medium-weak’ has no place in highland dancing of highland dance strathspeys.
Robert Burns

After Cowal, the band [the Australian Ladies Pipe Band] returned to Glasgow … the following day the band members were involved in a fatal accident.
Jeannie Campbell

He [Seumas MacNeill] brought me into the conversation. “Norman,” he intoned gravely, as though he knew about some life-threatening illness concerning which I had not yet been informed, “you know what they say about village idiots, don’t you?” “No, Mr MacNeill,” I crooned as I entered into the spirit of things. “What do they say about village idiots?” "Too many village idiots,” he snapped curtly, “spoil the village.”
Norman MacLean

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