Volume XI Number 6 - June 2003


Except around here, of course. With the sluggish economy there don't seem to be too many of you out there needing pipes...ah, well, we'll tough it out!

The 2002 Dan Reid CD is finally in, well worth the wait, as is the new one-volume Binneas is Boreraig collection of piobaireachd. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it was originally published in the fifties and sixties in six volumes, in black and white; it has been reprinted in colour as originally intended on heavy stock, and contains some of the best settings of its 112 tunes. A real gem, expensive, but well worth it.

CALLING ALL MARINES: We are now the 'unofficial' supplier to the United States Marine Pipers Association, currently having Leatherneck tartan run up in 16 oz. Strome cloth in an 11" military size sett. IF you are a Marine or former Marine and wish to show your Corps colours on the games field, contact me at ASAP and we'll add you to the initial order. Closing date for this first order is July 15th . You can see the full list of available and soon-to-be available kit items at our MARINES page. Hope to hear from you and Semper Fi!


And now me Buckos.. What's this I hear?  The Campbell Pipe Band Contests may not be sanctioned!  (Or is it the Santa Clara Pipe Band Contests?)  Not sanctioned because the sponsors can't find an Ensemble Judge from the "approved" WUSPBA List.  Well, Shiver Me Timbers!  At Costa Mesa I asked if the Gladdens might be available.  No luck there due to previous commitments.  The same was true for Campbell Naismith.  So I asked Iain Whitelaw if he might be available.  And YES HE IS! 

So before I left the Costa Mesa contest area, I informed Mr. Blandford that Mr. Whitelaw was available and had expressed some interest in taking on the duties for the those contests.  So, since Ms. Jan Ritchie is somewhat in charge, I hope she has contacted Mr. Whitelaw and that the appropriate arrangements have been made.  So there IS NO EXCUSE now to have unsanctioned contests at Campbell, or Santa Clara, or whatever the contests are on the 14th of June.  Now I hope that 'Ol Black Part ain't accuseed of meddling here, and I hope that Mr. Colin Berta, who was asked to judge the ensemble, but who is not on the "approved" list, is not offended by this. 

Mr. Berta, IS qualifed in my opinion, but as most everyone knows by now the WUSPBA  disagrees with most of my opinions. So Colin, take advantage of this situation, and "shadow" judge with Mr. Whitelaw, and take a step or two towards getting yourself on the approved list.  You most certainly belong there.  As to the contest sponsors out there who seem to be having trouble finding qualified judges, Ol' Black Part ain't buying your excuse.  There are plenty of qualified persons on the list, and the list I'm told will soon be getting bigger. 

All solo and pipe band contests SHOULD be sanctioned within the geographical area of the WUSPBA.  Unless of course they are INVITATIONAL events, or Kitchen Piping Events where the contest sponsors may make up their own rules, or there are no rules. Ahrrrgh!  

In February this year, at the WUSPBA AGM, a call went out for a volunteer to be the editor of Words and Music.  Mr. Gary Speed of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Pipe Band answered the call.  The Executive Committee approved Mr. Speed's appointment, but on Ms. Amanda Hammond's advice on a "trial basis" for three issues.

Gary launched into the task vigorously and within a few weeks had some great articles.  Gary also sold enough ads to make the publication nearly self-sustaining. His first "proof" was 36 pages.  He was ordered by Ms Hammond to send the "proof" to her in early April. Ms. Hammond did not like Mr. Speed's proof.  She called Gary while he was in Scotland to tell him so.  Gary and I were riding in a car enjoying the scenery out near Loch Lomand when he got this phone call.  The phone call was in a single word, unbelieveable.  If I had been Gary I'd told Ms. Hammond to stuff it somewhere.  But Gary isn't a Pirate like me, so he didn't.

Five weeks later, Ms. Hammond sent her "approved" version of Words and Music back to Gary.  The "approved" version was much shorter.  A feature article on the Queen Mary Games was axed, along with a lot of photos.  Also Ms. Hammond's "approved" version was to be printed on blue paper, not the white that Gary's "proof", was on, making the remaining photos difficult to print.  Gary raised some concerns, but he was overruled, so off to the printers went the "approved" version.

Then to mail the publication Gary needed the mailing list.  This took another couple of weeks to sort out.  There wasn't an updated mailing list.  And the software to send it to Gary wasn't compatable with Gary's software, forcing Gary to run out and buy software that was. Well, by now the first issue of Words and Music is very late getting out.  The publication is usually sent out bulk mail at significant savings.  Ms. Hammond orders that the publication be sent out first class with stamps.  Guess who had to lick all the stamps! 

So at least some of the WUSPBA membership should be recieving, or already has received the first issue of 2003 Words and Music.  Mine hasn't arrived yet as of June 11th. With the first issue done, Gary is hard at work on the second when he gets a phone call from Ms. Hammond.  Now Gary has to call Ms. Hammond who lives and works back East to keep her up to date on his progress with the second issue and so she can offer her "advice".  But by now Gary has had enough and resigns.       

The WUSPBA claims it is run by volunteers.  Most of the tasks involoved in running the WUSPBA, which is a very large, multi-state, public association require many manhours, and are very demanding.  Those members that do step up and do these tasks should be commended.  These volunteers should not be put down unless they are not doing the tasks they volunteered to do.  By redoing all, or most of Gary's first issue of Words and Music, Ms. Hammond put down Mr. Speed's hard work as being not good enough.  Now some out there may agree, or disagree, but most will never see Gary's work.  I did.  It was perhaps the best edition ever of Words and Music.  Gary, and every person that helped him put togather his first edition were put down in the worst way by Ms. Hammond. To Gary Speed:  I am sorry to see you resign.  The WUSPBA desparetly needs people with your energy and enthusiam.  You will be missed.  To Ms. Amanda Hammond:  Shame on you!   SHAME   ON   YOU   !!!   To Mr. Kevin Blandford:  What kind of President would allow this sort of thing to happen on his watch?  

Tis the Black Spot for you and your cohort Ms. Hammond.  Thar'll be plank for you to walk at the next AGM.         

Black Part