Call for volunteers as the Piping Society resumes business as usual

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A call for piping enthusiasts to join the Lewis and Harris Piping Society Board has gone out ahead of the society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the first Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition to be held since the Covid pandemic.

Both events take place in Stornoway. The AGM took place last night (Wednesday) at the Newton Centre, Stornoway, while the Prime Minister Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition returns on Friday April 7 at the Caladh Hotel.

Dr John Smith, president of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, said: ‘The society is struggling to return to any semblance of normalcy after the severe constraints on their business imposed by lockdown regulations and would welcome new members to strengthen the committee, which is heavily dependent on a few volunteers, some of whom are now advanced in age.

“However, the company was able to resume some of its activities in the second half of last year. The annual junior competition took place in early October at a new location – Sir E Scott School, Tarbert.

“This location made it easy for competitors from the southern islands to participate and Premier Roddy MacLeod, who judged the senior section, was impressed with the level of play.

“School tutors are to be commended for being able to maintain regular lessons throughout the lockdown and continuing to develop school pipe bands in Lewis and Harris and the Uists.

‘The society decided at the start of the lockdown not to try to run a ‘virtual’ Donald MacLeod Memorial competition because the whole philosophy of the competition is that it should be held in the town of Stornoway, where Donald MacLeod was born.

“We are therefore delighted to be able to resume competition on Friday 7th April this year at the Caladh Hotel, Stornoway from 10am. Arrangements for the contest are well in hand and further details will be released later.

“In addition, there are tentative plans to hold a Donald MacLeod ‘junior’ competition the afternoon before. Eight of Butt’s most promising youngsters in Barra will be invited to play a piobaireachd and a March, Strathspey and Reel in front of two judges to enhance their playing experience in a competition, which is in line with Donald MacLeod’s principles of encouragement. youth.

“The winner will receive a new silver trophy donated to the society by Mrs Marie Morrison in memory of her late husband Norman S Morrison. Norman was a founding member of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society and for many years served as pipe sergeant of the Lewis Pipe Band and an enthusiastic supporter of young people who struggle to master “the noble instrument” over the years.

There have been changes among the school’s tutors at Lewis. Anna Murray has resigned to take up a new role with the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the company wishes her well in her new venture.

Dr Smith said: “Anna is artistically well known as a singer, actress, presenter and various other roles. But it is for her work as a bagpipe tutor that the bagpipe society owes her a deep sense of gratitude.

“Anna was taught to play the bagpipes at an early age by the late Prime Minister Iain Murdo Morrison, Back, and another of his highly successful pupils, James Duncan MacKenzie, was temporarily appointed to the position.

“Since graduating in traditional music in Glasgow, James has carved out a prestigious place for himself in bagpipes, as a member of the Breabach band and as a solo performer.”

CAPTION: Pipe Major Donald MacLeod. NO F05 Donald-MacLeod

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