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JOCK AGNEW looks back to a successful joint weekend in Milton Keynes hosted towards the end of 1987 by the LBPS and the Bagpipe Society.

On the morning of October 16, those of us in the South looked out to discover a new world - one of floods and flattened trees.
Of little interest to the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society, one might think - though pipe-makers up and down the land might rub their hands at the thought of all that hardwood becoming available. However, it was also the first day of a weekend of workshops planned and organised by the Bagpipe Society.
Overall support had been meagre, and this final blow - disruption of power and communications - might well have meant the cancelling of the  weekend altogether. John Ross (who was organising the Bagpipe Society activities), and I (working on the LBPS side of things) talked it over and reckoned to let the tuition part of it go ahead. Besides, Hamish Moore was on his way and couldn't be stopped. So, amid the devastation, Milton Keynes hosted its first formal weekend course for the Lowland pipes. Nine enthusiasts braved the weather, though some had to delay while they  titched house and garden together in the wake of gale damage. Nine pipers, each with a different background of piping, and nine sets of with a job finding three of them in the same key. Finding isolated spots where we could practice was a problem - it always is. There were two halls, some workshops and a meeting room. The weather remained dry, though, and a lot of practicing took place out of doors. Accommodation was fairly basic, but so was the cost of the weekend -£25 per person excluding food.

Hamish took us all through several Lowland tunes, and some very interesting variations on Drops of Brandy. He helped to identify, and then concentrate on improving each player's weaker points. As on previous courses we worked in pairs and groups, according to experience. It was good to rub shoulders with other pipers, and learn something of their techniques and their interpretations of the different tunes. At the final meeting on Sunday afternoon, before we went our separate ways, it was evident that everyone had found some measure of positive improvement. It was a useful weekend.

Our thanks to John Ross and the trust for the facilities provided.