page 17

On the back of each COMMON STOCK is a list of meetings and events - occasional and regular. The regular meetings give a chance for those in the locality to get together, exchange news and views and. of course, to play and listen. It can be useful for others, who have a mind to do the same, to hear how established “regional” meetings get on...


When the Chinese take over Hong Kong at midnight on 30th June 1997, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) will have three members of the LBPS.

Latest recruit, Joe Wong, took delivery of his (Ross) Scottish Smallpipes in March and already (writing in mid-April) two of his colleagues in the Royal* Hong Kong Police Pipe Band are keen to buy sets.

Tony Ho (who has a Ross ‘D’ set) joined the Society last year. Tony spent six years in Glasgow studying at the College of Piping, but it was only after returning to Hong Kong and meeting Bill Telfer that he eventually fell for the allure of the smallpipes.

Of course the Highland Pipes as a military and ceremonial instrument have been long established under the colonial era, and even the final departure of the Black Watch Regiment at the ‘Hand-Over’, there will still be a dozen pipe bands consisting almost entirely of local Chinese players. These range from the Police Band to the Tai Tam Gap Girl Pipers (from the Territory’s female correctional institution).

But the smallpipes are something new and have even attracted the interest of Chinese traditional instrumentalists, who have come into contact with them through Bill’s and Tony’s playing.

The trio [see front cover picture] meet occasionally at Bill’s Flat for playing sessions. Any smallpipers or Lowland/Border pipers passing through Hong Kong are welcome to give Bill a call on 2893 8496. (Note: the number given in the 96/97 members’ directory is a fax number).

* not after 30th June 1997.

Bill Telfer _________________________________________________________________________ OVER THE BORDER, WYLAM: BORDER PIPERS’ MEETINGS

These meetings, at the SHIP INN, Wylam, Northumberland originated around Martin Dunn and Matt Seattle at the end of 1993.

Like all of these events, they have suffered varying attendances, but the enthusiasm of a few individuals has kept them going. We now meet Fortnightly on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Our varying fortunes may have been due to a lack of structure. Now our aim is simple - improvement with a view to eventual public performance. We occasionally work with practice chanters. Pitch tends to be Bb, established by simple majority, though we welcome other pitches. At a recent meeting we enjoyed duets with Northumbrian ‘F’ and Scottish ‘C’ smallpipes - a truly Borders event. We have also enjoyed the occasional company of an Irish piper who plays in Bb, and recently acquired a new member with a very nice set of Robertson smallpipe drones and a modern chanter.

Probably the best thing to come from these mectings is the active participation of Don Anderson, the youngest of the original Robertson half-long players who learned to play in the Scouts, and who played in the 1996 LBPS competitions In true Tyneside manufacturers tradition two of our own members have made sets of Border pipes and are enjoying the frustration of cutting reeds that work.

We welcome newcomers and hope to see you.   Steve Barwick

“Pete Rowley [a regular attendee at the LBPS meetings at Wylam] died tragically on May 13th, as a result of a stroke, at the early age of 54....It is typical of the humour of the man that Peter was the only right-handed person I’ve known that was a left-handed piper! I’m sure he played this way as a wind-up!...Pete was a wood-turner; some time pipe-maker, reed-maker; instrumentalist; singer; entertainer. As a street entertainer you would most likely have heard him on the Scottish smallpipes...” writes Ray Sloan.

LONDON MEETINGS are held at Lower Hall, Holy Innocents Church, Paddenswick Rd, Hammersmith, on the 3rd Friday of every second month from January onwards. And if that’s not complicated enough, well we don’t meet at all in July.

The hall has great acoustics which enhance the tone of every set of pipes. It also has space in the hallway - and even in the church itself - for individual players to tune up in isolation. These meetings mostly attract pipers from London and the Home Counties, though occasionally we have visits from players living in the Birmingham area and even Devon.

Numbers vary; usually 4 or 5, occasionally a dozen. Small pipes tend to be in the keys of Bb or D; Border pipes in A. Occasionally other instruments are brought along.

Although the evenings are not structured, we try to encourage everyone to play his or her “flavour of the month” tune. We get a chance to Ooh and Aah over newly purchased sets and, although we don’t have a pipe-maker in regular attendance, we manage to sort out most of the problems of difficult reeds; leaky bags and bellows; tuning etc.

If it will help persuade more members to come along, perhaps I should mention that we usually finish the evening with a visit to the nearby hostelry... Jock Agnew