Thanks to this computer crashing, burning, and otherwise wreaking havoc, not to mention MOVING the column is TWELVE weeks late - sorry. Had to have all the data retrieved from a dead hard drive, new power source and drive installed, re-install EVERYTHING and get all the BMW files reloaded, go searching for a copy of FrontPage Express, yada-yada-yada....oy.

As the season IS now officially over, Fresno, Ben Lomond, and Seaside having come and gone, pipers across the west are reviewing their performances,pondering new tunes, and figuring out how they'll be able to afford that new chanter in today's sinking economy. Congrats to former student Sean Campbell's win at Ben Lomond; it's been a long time coming.

JUST IN - THE CDS AND DVDS OF THE WORLD'S -  three CDs and two DVDs - at regular prices. I must admit the new format is much better, but couldn't they just package all the CDs as one?

The big news this month is WE HAVE MOVED, FINALLY! Yes, yours truly has bought a house and have spent the last two months involved in construction and upgrades, and have finally moved in just at the end of January.

OTHER NEWS: Sharp & Co. officially ends business on Nov. 30th - but that's not the end of the Sharp boys. On December 1st J&R Glen Ltd. (incorporating David Glen and Sons) will be up and running at the Barrack St. address, along with Drumran, and the Robertson Seasoning Co. Greig's health is still not that good, but he is fighting hard. All the best to him, and Drew and Steven as well in their continuing venture.

We are deeply saddened to hear of old pal Chip Robinson's worsening condition; he's been fighting brain cancer for eight months now. He's been moved into hospice in Ocala and it is hoped he will be at peace soon. Chip has been a strong supporter of our efforts in the past years, and we'll never forget the 'Jacobite Air Force.'

UPDATE FEB 6TH: Chip Robinson died early in the morning of Feb. 3rd. We will have a full obit in the next issue. He will be missed...As Ron Schutte wrote me hearing this news, 'When I look at clouds I'll think of him.'

New Products: the MONARCH pipe bag in roo hide ($229.95), with grommets and a zipper; the absorption of an oak-tanned kangaroo bag with all mod cons; and the new, redesigned ROSS breathable bag ($229.95; $299.95 with canister), now in a spiffy burgundy sueded fabric. It has more weight and hide-like 'feel' for those who were put off by the old lightweight cloth bag. Also just arrived - Brett Tidswell's new bagpipe maintenance manual - a thorough, comprehensive book on the care of your bagpipe, proper dress advice, competition advice, and some notes on setting up a pipe corps - all for $39.95. A very well done, well laid out, fully illustrated book that belongs on every piper's bookshelf.


Selling on behalf of a customer, a virtually brand-new and unplayed set of full ivory mounted MacLellan bagpipes, no chanter.

This is a lovely pipe in blackwood with an L&M Scotian bag and custom-made Rocket drone reeds. Originally cost $5500 in 2005, they're a good buy at $3995. Case and chanter can be supplied at extra cost.

As these are mounted in real ivory we can only ship within the US

One last note: in our thwarted attempts to find long staple reeds to play in old chanters we've recently tried Chris Apps' CNC cut chanter reeds in the Big Mac (1810 era MacDonald) and have discovered that as long as the reed is set high in the seat it will play just fine, good balanced scale and no jarring flat notes. Soooo we can now sell you the Apps reeds for old chanters and you'll be happy with the results!

Black Part Speaks:

Well, 'Ol Black Part was in attendance at the past WUSPBA AGM held Nov.22 in Las Vegas, in both official capacity as the President of the Southern Branch, and unofficial capacity as....'Ol Black Part.   Ahrrrgh!

Most of the "tweaks" submitted by the Executive Committee to the bylaws passed with the noted exceptions that there may not be Grade V added, and the Band and Solo Registrar's remain as elected offices. The "tweaks" to the Contest Rules may or may not have the Grade V entries as most everyone was not in favor of the language used, but there still may yet be a Grade V after next year.  The Grade V issue remains 'cloudy' until new proposals are submitted next year.

The Great Basin proposal concerning the Pre-Draw for bands was adopted.

The Northern Branch proposal to increase the stipend for WUSPBA reps to $60.00 per day was adopted.

The Southern Branch proposal, mostly to decrease the 30 registration period for bands to 14 days was in hot debate for a considerable period of time.  The intent of the proposal was to bring the registration period into accordance with other ANAPBA member associations.  The Executive Committee, AKA The UTAH JUNTA, was dead set against this, and eventually prevailed.  This proposal was not adopted.

Mr. John Biggar, currently a bass drummer for one of the Prince Charles Pipe Bands was elected as our new Vice-President.  I'm certain that John will do a great job, and I pray he doesn't wonder soon why he accepted this position.

Mr. Todd Brown was re-elected the Solo Registrar.

Mr. Martin Johnson remains as the Sanctioning Secretary.

Of other great importance is that Band membership fees have been lowered from $300 to $250 per year. Contest Sponsor fees are now $100 for less than 15 bands, and are $150 for 15 or more bands. Solo Contests are now at $75.

Additional funds were returned to the Branches to assist in the association's role in promoting pipe bands, solo competitors, contest sponsors, and the musical arts of piping and drumming. Now these new fees, and additional funds are certainly steps in the right direction.  Finally!  

Now if only we could set it up in the bylaws that no more than 2 or 3 officers may be elected or appointed to the Execuitve Committee and Music Board from any one band or branch, then the hold that the UTAH JUNTA has over the association might not ever occur again.  Not that they're doing such a bad job, but...this is too much power concentrated in one area, and in particular one band....and concentrated power does sometimes corrupt.  The WUSPBA has suffered from corruption in the past, and safeguards are required to see to it that it never returns.  Perhaps if EVERY member; band, soloist, or sponsor had the right to vote, whether or not they could attend the AGM this could be brought about.  But this would mean the right of every member to send in an absentee or have someone present a proxy vote at the AGM.  Heaven Forbid.....or is it that the UTAH JUNTA would forbid such.

In closing, this 'Ol Pirate acknowledges that the WUSPBA has come a long way from the Dark Side, but theDark Side is still there.....lurking.....schemeing....waiting....     

(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


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