Simon Fraser University .The Worlds

The World Pipe Band Championships – The Worlds – were held in Glasgow in front of 40,000 people. Simon Fraser University from Vancouver took the top award, for the third time

A CANADIAN team triumphed at the World Pipe Band Championships last night, taking home the trophy for a third time.

More than 40,000 piping enthusiasts flocked to Glasgow Green to watch Simon Fraser University, from Vancouver, wrest the title back from the The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, from Northern Ireland.

Third place went to championship veterans the House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band, who have won the competition 15 times.

Organisers claimed this year’s event was the biggest yet, attracting 221 bands – amounting to 8000 musicians – from 15 countries and bringing £10million in revenue to the city.

Ian Embelton, chief executive of The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), said: “This year was fantastic. I’ve been putting these championships on for eight years and this was easily the best. The weather was in our favour, the crowds turned up in enormous numbers and it was truly spectacular. We were delighted with this year’s championship.”

French band Bagad Cap Caval won the Grade 2 piping prize and many other foreign bands achieving good results.

Embleton added: “There is something about this championship that seems to be capturing the interest of people all around the world. People are beginning to realise this is a major world championships.

“More people are playing the pipes these days. To get 221 bands where perhaps 20 years ago you would only have got 100, I think that says all you need to know.”

Glasgow is currently celebrating 60 years of association with the championship. The city has managed to keep The Worlds in Glasgow until at least 2012, beating off stiff competition from Belfast.

Glasgow Lord Provost Bob Winter said: “We are thrilled that the RSPBA decided Glasgow was the best home for the Worlds and this has by far been the biggest and best yet.”

This year’s chieftain was culture minister Linda Fabiani.

She said: “I am delighted to have been involved in this fantastic spectacle. The dedication, talent and sheer number of pipers on display demonstrates how piping is thriving not only at home, but all over the world.”

Pipers’ Ceilidh – Live recording of P/M Donald MacLeod’s farewell public performance

Pipers’ Ceilidh – Live recording of P/M Donald MacLeod’s farewell public performance in the Dorchester Hotel, Glasgow November 1977 with Duncan Johnstone as guest piper. You can hear from the reception that the audience obviously had a great affection for PM MacLeod. Duncan Johnstone’s piping on the first half of the CD is stunning! There are also two Gaelic songs sung by Donald Ross and Archie MacTaggart. Recorded with the support of the Scottish Pipers’ Association. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers).

Donald MacLeod, MBE, was born in Stornoway, on Lewis, in the Scottish Hebridean Islands in 1916. He became a piper for the Seaforth Highlanders in 1937, reaching the level of Pipe Major after only four years.
During World War II, he served in France with the 51st Highland Division, was taken prisoner by the Germans at St. Valery, escaped during a forced march and managed to return to the UK. In 1945, he piped his battalion across the Rhine during an assault crossing – even though he had been forbidden to do this by his commanding officer.

During his army career, he was highly successful in piping competitions. After the war, his genius as a piper brought him every competition honor, winning the Gold Medal in 1947 and many others. MacLeod retired from the army in 1963 and from competition in 1966, but neither marked the completion of his piping career. He continued to give recitals in Scotland and around the world, and he provided instruction to many pipers at all levels of ability.  Like all the truly great pipers of the past, ‘Wee’ Donald’  wore his honours lightly and modestly.  He was always ready to help those less supremely gifted than himself.

A brilliant and prolific composer, he published six books of light music (marches, airs and dance music) – The Man from Skye,  Butterfingers, The Duck, MacLean of Lewis  Crossing the Minch  were among his many compositions -as well as a book of piobaireachd.

He was awarded the Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1978 for outstanding service to piping.  He died suddenly in Glasgow in 1982.

In his memory, The Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, an annual invitational piping competition held on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland was inaugurated in 1994 by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society.