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REVIEW


Pipe Band Concert Reignites Interest in North East Scotland


DUNCAN WATSON


‘Reignited’ a concert given by Bucksburn & District and Inveraray Pipe Bands at The Music Hall, Aberdeen, Saturday 10 March, 2012. The ‘Friends of Anchor’ a local based cancer charity was chosen as the dedicated charity for the concert in memory of P/M Neil Selbie’s sister, Alison, who lost her fight to cancer in January 2011 at the young age of 43. Her son Andrew plays in the Bucksburn band. The Music Hall accommodates about 1300 and the seats had sold well. I have not been to many pipe


band concerts so remember the ones I have attended. The first was by Invergordon Distillery in my home town Dingwall in 1965 or 1966.The pipe major was the late Donald Shaw Ramsay and the leading side drummer was the late Alex Duthart. The North of Scotland pipe band scene had not experienced anything like the Invergordon Pipe Band. Playing in the band were pipers of renown: the late John Burgess and John MacDougall, himself a former Bucksburn piper. Horror of horrors!! – Invergordon even played a piobair- eachd,The OldWoman’s Lullaby, even though there were individuals in the


40


Inveraray on stage


band whose knowledge did not extend much beyond referring to ceol mor as ‘heedrum, hodrum’ music. It got mixed reaction and the term ‘heretics’was heard more than once. Pipe bands presented more of a


spectacle then with their polished belts, plaids, hair sporrans and sometimes feather bonnets, not forgetting of course, kilts and spats. In my brief period in pipe bands I did experience wearing all that stuff and it was not very comfortable and I was not terribly in favour of it. However from the audience point of view it adds colour to the entertainment. Since then the dress has changed and for some there is a loss of spectacle. During the Invergordon performance the Drum Major flourished a luminous mace while the band played and in the darkness – very effective. Since then I have attended a few and in all these concerts the visual impact was lacking.


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