Jason's Grandad - Malcolm - the author of the following piece.
The City of Elizabeth & Scotch College Pipe Bands, South Australia, join forces for the ANZAC Day Parade in Adelaide, 2008 ~ Photo by Steve Moore.
Our front page feature this month is dedicated to the lads and lassies of the City of Elizabeth Pipe Band, South Australia, who help to keep alive the proud music of Auld Scotia here in the Southern Hemisphere. The band was formed early in 1965 by a small group of dedicated musicians from the Citizens Military Forces (CMF), and used to turn out on ANZAC parades wearing dark trousers, white shirts and tartan ties. Nowadays, however, they wear the Royal Stewart tartan. When asked why this particular tartan was chosen, Pipe-Major Angus Massie (Snr.) responded: “Aye, well it’s cheaper an’ easier tae come by!” which highlights the on-going problem for many bands of this ilk, the constant struggle to maintain sufficient funding.
Pipe-Major Massie has led the band since 1975, during which time it has progressed, having competed with distinction both locally and interstate, winning many prizes, including the State Championship several times in Grades II and III categories. Probably more importantly the band has remained a worthwhile training ground for local youngsters, who receive tuition from scratch, thereby producing many strong players in piping and drumming. The band is now led by old Angus’s son, Pipe-Major Angus Massie (Jnr.) who, with the support of Pipe-Sergeant Peter Whitehead and Drum-Sergeant David Pound, continues to maintain that proud tradition.
As is the case in Scotland, there are no truly full-time professional pipe bands in Australia. It has to be admitted that the piping and drumming skills of ancient Gaeldom have always been ~ and still are ~ kept alive mainly by the hard work and dedication of countless talented and skilled ‘amateurs’. Even the many regimental pipes and drums in the UK and elsewhere are made up of ‘part-timers’ i.e. service men and women with other more warlike duties to perform. Many people have also wondered why Scotland ~ which boasts so much about its Celtic heritage ~ does not have a National pipe band, financed by public funds. Now there is a thought for Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister!