This year, The City of York Pipe Band will hold a reunion to celebrate its 40th year. The band was my good friend Joe Moore’s idea and after some arm twisting, I agreed to be the first chairman and wrote the constitution. For me, Joe and several friends from that time, it will be a happy reunion.
In the years prior to the band starting, I had been teaching three young lads to play (who still play) but to get more pipers for the band I offered an evening class with the local authority. The promo piece simply said “piping” which explained one response from a lady wishing to learn to make piping for her cushions!
The class didn’t run as there were too few for the local authority to justify the expense but there were two keen middle-aged gentlemen, so I gave them one-to-one piping tuition in my home. They also made it to the pipe band.
Teaching beginners, one-to-one, young and old, taught me a lot and it also improved my own playing. I got curious to figure out what they were doing wrong. Listening, watching and analysing their various difficulties opened the door for specific advice and guidance to help them back on track. I am proud to say no one give up the pipes because they “couldn’t do it”.
The photo shows my three young pupils playing with me and Joe at a Skye week in 1980.
The older ones have now passed on, but the younger ones will be at the reunion playing their pipes with me and that’s quite something after 40 years.