June 2012


DONALD MACPHERSON PIPES SELL FOR ALMOST $50,000 - On June 1 Pipes|Drums announced that the nickel and ivory-mounted Peter Henderson bagpipe owned by the late Donald MacPherson has been sold for $47000+ to an Australian buyer. Reactions to this on the Net have run the gamut from "WOW!" to 'He got ripped off." Personally I believe that someone has paid a large sum for a NAME and an ATTRIBUTION. Previous 'celebrity bagpipe sales' haven't even come close - the Duke of Windsor's silver Lawries went for almost $18K over twenty years ago, and have never been seen or heard since to my knowledge. John Wilson's famous MacDougalls (with Henderson stocks and silver added in the 1920s) were beautifully restored and are currently being played in California. Other old sets belonging to the famous and infamous have changed hands over the years, most without fanfare or much remuneration...I just hope this doesn't mean that every old set that comes on the market is going to get inflated beyond all reason!

Bagpipes, compared to other old instruments, don't really appreciate; an excellent pipe made in the late 19th century by Glen, MacDougall, Ross (Stark), or other Victorian maker can be usually had for the same or less than a brand-new bagpipe by one of the top makers of today.

So what does this mean, if anything? Maybe old sets with exquisite tone will start commanding better prices than old sets with fancy fittings and mediocre tone. there are a lot of the latter about. Maybe pipers will take better care of their instruments...but I doubt it!

A few days after his pipes went up for auction Donald MacPherson died at the age of 89, the end of a long and extremely successful life in piping. His career was marked by an unequaled list of wins in the senior competitions, and his obit in this month's Piping Times covers it all. His passing truly marks the end of an era; all the Greats of the 1950s and 1960s, when I was starting out, are now gone - MacLeod, Burgess, MacFadyen, MacDonald, McLennan, were all his contemporaries and colleagues. A sad time, but a glorious and long life to be celebrated!

We also note the passing last month of John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl, at age 83 in South Africa. Reluctant to accept the title, he agreed only when he was told he couldn't pass it off to his son, and grew to be very popular in the region for his annual visits to the Atholl Gathering. His son Bruce Murray succeeds him.


After three years of negative receipts I can no longer justify spending $1500+ to attend the Pleasanton Games. I sent a message to this effect to the new Vendor Chair and got a less-than-gracious reply. Archer's Salute for that individual! We will continue here on the net and see you around!

For something a little different, some proofs from our first Hurrell Glamour photo session. These will be submitted to very shortly as three different photo sets. We also now have a page at ZENFOLIO.

Our first Zivity shoot with the lovely LavenderSimone, from May 23:

More can be seen at ModelMayhem or at Deviant Art

Went up to Rohnert Park to SSU to see Brian Donaldson, Jimmy McColl, and everyone at the Balmoral School on the 14th:

L to R from what I remember: Andrew Hoinecki, Richmond Johnstone at left, Melody Farquhar Chang left center, Neil Henderson right center, then Bruce Locken, with Brian and Jimmy at right. Steve Coontz in back with the light ball cap and Rob Boyd center back. Sorry if I can't remember everyone else's name!

Brian looking rather spiff with his silver sporran

Jimmy playing the Donald MacDonald setting of 'Siubhal Seamus' on his 100 year old Hendersons still going strong at 84!

Andrew and Brian playing a MSR set of 'Lord Alexander Kennedy,' 'The Caledonian Canal,' and 'John MacKechnie'

Brian playing 'The Finger Lock'

Had a great time talking with Brian, who is in the process of moving his whole operation to Wisconsin as he's taken a teaching job at St. John's Military Academy outside Milwaukee; he will be back in operation at the end of August. At least there will no longer be an eight hour time difference for phone calls!


A memo up on the WUSPBA website from the Executive Committee of the WUSPBA dated June 7,2012 reads as follows:

"With regards to the SIT report, the Executive Committee rejects the SIT report in its entirety."

The SIT, (Special Investigative Team), was comprised of Jim Laughton as Chairman, Jim Harrington, Ben Holmes, Jan Richey, and Chuck Jamison. The SIT was convened to investigate and report findings of fact regarding David Mackenzie's misconduct and violations of the WUSPBA Code of Conduct that occurred as he conducted a campaign for the office of President of the Southern Branch. The SIT report did find that there was misconduct and violations of the Code of Conduct by Mackenzie. But the SIT report did not stop there. It went on including defamatory, and false light statements about John Partanen, and sought to place the blame for Mackenzie's misconduct on John Partanen. And the SIT report was also defamatory and false light towards Mackenzie. In short, the SIT did a terrible job, and there comments about both Mackenzie and Partanen were inappropriate. The Executive Committee of the WUSPBA in the end had no choice but to reject the SIT report for what it was, a piece of trash. The Executive Committee also stepped in at the Southern Branch meeting held at Costa Mesa contests and prevented Mackenzie from taking over the Southern Branch. These two acts by the Executive Committee have done much to restore my faith in the WUSPBA.

Retractions of the defamatory and false light statements are still required of the persons involved to John Partanen. John Partanen has reserved the right to seek remedial action under civil law if these are not forthcoming. At a minimum, John Partanen has stated that he will accept retractions and apologies to the Southern Branch from the nine persons involved, including four persons on the Executive Committee, John Biggar, Mike Terry, Andrew Lenz, and David Mackenzie. ol' Black Part wants to see if these four persons are man enough to do the right thing.

John Eric Partanen, PhD

Ol' Black Part

(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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