12 November 1910 – Ceol Mor [Bookseller John Grant] “The Scottish Pipers’ Union”

 The Oban Times 12 November, 1910

The Scottish Pipers’ Union

6 November, 1910

Sir,–in the correspondence columns of your valuable paper there appeared a notice under the above heading, dated 18th October. Has there been a meeting of any influential body proposing or authorising such a meeting as is about to be called?

In this notice one of the objects of the Scottish Pipers’ Union (No.3) is “The appointment of competent judges of piping and dancing, approved of by the Union, so that games committees can draw their judges from the approved list.”

On 24th October Dr. Bannatyne assured those interested in piping and dancing “that the new Scottish Pipers’ Union will not attempt to impose its rules or judges on any body or society, or games committee.”

The one notice seems to contradict the other in that the first says or means, that judges will be selected by this Union. The next notice means that it is not necessary for games committees to take any notice of those judges or rules.

Then if no games committee recognizes the Union’s judges or rules, their attempts will be fruitless. While everyone will admit that union is strength, it must not be forgotten that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

The Piobaireachd Society were instituted some five to seven years ago, with the sole object of cultivating the ancient art of piobaireachd playing. They have competent judges, and best of all, they give free instruction by the best masters of the art to young pipers at a vast expense, and do not tax the pupil, or anyone for the necessary funds. Since their inauguration they must have spent hundreds of pounds, and year after year they are becoming more popular, and are in a most flourishing condition, despite those who dispraise or disregard them. I am certain that they have begun with the true and genuine spirit that becomes such a powerful and influential body, and that they will always continue it.

On the very face of it, it appears to me that, to a considerable extent, if not altogether, the Scottish Pipers’ Union would be intended to be in opposition to the Piobaireachd Society–not that I have any fear if it ever hurting the Piobaireachd Society or any other body, because I do not see any need for such a step at all.

I, for one, would say that all pipers and dancers in Britain or elsewhere could never be looked upon as a body to carry out the aims suggested by Dr. Bannatyne. It only stands to reason that when pipers and dancers come to the competitors’ board, they should be dealt with by a firm and fearless band. It is just the same as if a piper or dancer was to give a handsome prize to be competed for, choose the tune or dance and the judges, and get the prize himself. What honour could be attributed in such a case?

This would be, when put into action, the work of a Scottish Pipers’ Union. Rather let piping and dancing be governed by a body outside themselves, such as the Piobaireachd Society, who throw aside petty jealousy and rivalry, and who will never at any time compete for their own prizes. But I am not a narrow minded man; I believe in giving everything and everybody a chance, so that I am waiting with patience for further developments.–I am, etc.,

Ceol Mor [John Grant, Bookseller, Edinburgh]