Search for piping family goes worldwide

The McNab family will attend the ticket launch of Piping at Forres. Credit: The Piping Times

A SEARCH launched by Piping at Forres to find a family with the most ties to piping resulted in nominations coming from as far afield as Canada and the quest going viral on social media.

We launched a search to find a family whose lives are immersed in the piping scene and the search went viral with the social media posts reaching over 20,000 people in just 48 hours and one nomination coming from Canada.

But it was the McNab family, from Pitlochry in Perthshire whose interest in piping and drumming spans four generations who wowed the judges.

Three generations

Currently, they have 11 family members, spanning three generations all playing in the same band and they will now be attending the event’s launch party in April when tickets go on sale and have also won a family pass to the June extravaganza along with one of the sought after Piping At Forres hampers.

Joanna Taylor, a director of Forres Events Ltd, the company that organises Piping At Forres which is sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky said she was delighted with the entries that were received: “As soon as the story hit the media and our social media pages there was great interaction and we were delighted to get so many quality entries. It was a very tough decision with nominations coming in from far and wide.

“Some of the families that entered have won world championships, at least two have found their spouses through piping and there were many that span multiple generations. It has revealed some lovely and heart-warming stories.

“However, the McNab family cinched it due to the numerous years they have been involved in piping, the number of members still currently playing and the new generations starting to learn.”

It was head of the clan, Gillie McNab who entered her family into the contest. They have 11 family members either playing pipes or drums for the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band or just starting to learn the instruments.

“We eat and sleep pipe bands”

Gillie said: “We are delighted that we have been chosen as the winners. All we seem to do is eat and sleep pipe bands. I was absolutely gobsmacked when I found out. The whole family was surprised, but we feel very honoured.”

Gillie’s passion for piping was fuelled by her father Gideon Scott May who was president of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band in 1966. She followed in his footsteps and joined the band the following year, so is this year celebrating her 50th year with band. She also made history by being the first female piper to join the band.

Gillie went on to have three sons, who as she explained are all now members of the band too: “They used to come to competitions and were soon brainwashed and all learnt to play the drums. I then had my daughter, Irralee who also got the pipe band bug and she learned to play the side drum then going on to compete on pipes. But that’s not all, three years ago Irralee’s wee boy, Logan became a tenor drummer, and her husband Ian and his daughter Lucy also play, then two years ago my grandson Archie joined and this year my granddaughter Flora joined as tenor drummer. I’m currently teaching my granddaughter Millie the chanter and she’ll soon be ready for pipes. So it really is a family affair.”

This year, Piping at Forres will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres and is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and is part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands from around the world compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

History

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Piping is a quintessential part of Scotland’s history and heritage as are our people. The McNab family are a perfect example of the two and it is wonderful they will help launch this year’s event as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is delighted to be again be supporting Piping at Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, as part of our International Programme Fund.”

Chieftain announced for Piping at Forres 2017

A MORAY man with a history steeped in the military and with strong ties to piping has been given the honour of being chieftain at Piping at Forres 2017.

Major General Seymour Monro will perform the duty at this year’s event and his appointment could not be more fitting as he is the President of the Forres Pipe Band and has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Moray since 2011.

Putting Moray on the Map

Major General Seymour Monro said: “I am really delighted to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this year’s European Pipe Band Championships. It is a spectacular event which has put not only Forres but Moray on the map. From across the world, pipers and drummers travel to take part in this one day event and the people of Forres and the organisers of Piping at Forres are now renowned for putting on a fantastic show. As a local man it is a real honour to be able to support this superb event.”

As well has heading the Forres Pipe Band, Major General Seymour Monro is also Convener of the Northern Meeting Piping Trust which premiers the world’s finest solo piping competition as he explained: “Piping is close to my heart and in my role with the Forres Pipe Band and the Northern Meeting Trust there is nothing more important to me that encouraging piping and drumming and especially among young people.”

A playground as a boy

The venue of Grant Park is also poignant for General Monro as he explained: “I have fond memories of Grant Park and for the first 12 years of our lives whilst holidaying here, Grant Park was a happy playground as indeed it has been for our children and now our grandchildren. It is a stunning park and is a fine natural arena for the European Pipe Band Championships.”

Major General Seymour Monro who lives in Dallas is no stranger to planning big events and is Director of the Highland Military Tattoo which takes place annually at Fort George in September.

He spent 35 years in the Army including command of the Queen’s Own Highlanders, headed up the £2.5million project to upgrade The Highlanders’ Museum at Fort George, and has been chairman of the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust. He is also Honorary Air Commodore of 2622 (Highland ) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, at Lossiemouth. They are the only Squadron in the RAF to have a pipe band which will also be taking part in the Championships.

Alan James, chairman of Forres Events Limited which organises Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships said: “We are very fortunate and honoured to have Maj Gen Seymour Monro as our Chieftain of Piping At Forres. Seymour is steeped in piping and pipe bands, firstly through his military service and now with his strong leadership and support of the Forres Pipe Band and the Northern Meeting.  Above all he is an enthusiastic and dedicated home grown supporter of Forres and the wider Moray community but also of our Scottish Heritage”.

This year, Piping at Forres will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres. It is sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky and supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. It is also part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Something for everyone

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs. Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands from around the world compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Walking app will bring history alive at Piping at Forres

A walk in the park. Left to right are app developer David Sim, Forres Events director Eddie Tomkinson, and volunteer Paul Johnson. Picture: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR & Digital

Forres which has a rich and colourful history is to get its own walking app to help people step back in time and discover its past.

We, the organisers of the European Pipe Band Championships, Piping at Forres, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky have commissioned the app to help people explore the heritage of the town and its people, and are seeking help from the public to come forward with fascinating facts and stories.

The app will be launched to coincide with this year’s event on 24 June 2017. The app will continue to be useful to locals and visitors after the event by leaving a resource available into the future.

Piping At Forres is celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 and the app will fittingly feature some of the Forres’ standout landmarks, such as the tallest Pictish carved stone in the country, and many sites linked to King Macbeth, who ruled over the town in the 11th century.

A welcome addition

Eddie Tomkinson, one of the directors of the event said it will be a welcome addition to the day’s attractions.

He said: “This new creation for Piping At Forres which is now in its fifth year is a wonderful addition and ties in beautifully with the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Forres has a fascinating history which includes tales of witches and spies, tea and biscuits and of course many famous faces none more so than that of Macbeth. But what we are also looking for is for people to come to us with their own historic titbits about the town, they may be fact, fiction, legend or myth but they will all form part of the town’s tapestry and could end up being included as part of this walking app.”

Eddie added: “The aim of the app is to get people, whether they are locals or visitors, moving around the town. Whilst the app is being created on behalf of Piping at Forres, it’s not just going to be available on one day, our intention is that it will keep delivering benefits for the town over time.

Community

Paul Johnson who is helping to collate the information for the app which is being created by Moray-based software company Openbrolly explained including the community in the creation of the app is very important: “This is a fantastic way to bring the history of Forres alive with a modern piece of technology. Forres has such a rich and vibrant history which features some fabulous people throughout the years and the intention is that this history will be brought alive through the app.

“It will be available to download for free and allow users to take themselves on a tour around our beautiful, historic town. However, it’s really important that we don’t just hit the history books, but also include stories from the public.

The walking app will complement the Moray Walking Festival which takes place from June 16 to 25. Diane Smith, project manager for the Festival said: “Piping at Forres and the Moray Walking Festival always coincide and this is a welcome addition. It will be perfect for people attending the Festival who also want to do their own tours or walks without a guide.”

History, Heritage and Archaeology

Jo Robinson, Moray Speyside regional director for Visit Scotland said: “This walking app is a great addition to the day’s events at Forres and anything which encourages the visitor to further explore the town and spend more time here is to be welcomed.

“Our historic environment enriches the quality of our lives and helps to define who we are, so I hope that in this, Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, people will take up the offer of contributing their own local ‘gems’ to help really bring this walking app to life.

“Tourism is leading economic transformation in Moray Speyside through redevelopment and expansion of existing products, innovation and bringing new opportunities to the visitor economy. The history of Forres will be brought right up the present day using this innovative technology.”

Stories and information can be submitted to Paul Johnson at creative.impulse.123@gmail.com by March 7.

Search is on for Piping Family

Photos © 2016 GnBri Photography

Piping at Forres which attracts visitors from all over the world has launched a “Find a Family” appeal to help kick off this year’s spectacular.

The European Pipe Band Championships, supported by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, is looking for a family whose lives are immersed in the piping scene.

The successful family will be invited to the event’s launch party in April to play the pipes, and will also win a family pass to the June extravaganza along with one of the sought after Piping at Forres hampers.

Joanna Taylor, a director of Piping at Forres, explained why they had begun the quest to find a family of pipers: “Piping is clearly a huge part of Scotland’s heritage and more often than not it is also a passion that is passed down through the generations. This year, Piping at Forres is part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations and we wanted to embrace this theme and thought a fun way to do this would be to celebrate a family to who piping has been an important aspect of their lives.”

Joanna added: “It would be superb if we could get a family of pipers through the generations, but equally it may be that we find a family who are relatively new to piping, but everyone gets involved. It’s about celebrating something which has been a significant part of Scotland’s history and also being able to show that this fantastic instrument will continue to be relevant in the future.”

Visit Scotland’s regional director for Moray Speyside, Jo Robinson, said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories and unique experiences as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations.

“Scotland’s history and heritage is defined by its people, both past and present and is an integral and iconic part of our national identity. Whether as a competitor or spectator, Piping at Forres is an event not to be missed and the appeal to celebrate a family immersed in the piping scene adds another fantastic element to this year’s event.”

This year, Piping at Forres will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands from around the world compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

To enter your family, email admin@pipingatforres.com with Find a Family in the subject line and tell us in 300 words why your family deserves to be Piping at Forres’ 2017 family.

 

Piping drums up over £1m for local economy

Piping in Forres-209Piping at Forres which this year drummed up over £1 million for the local economy is in the running for a tourism award.
Now gearing up for its fifth year, Piping at Forres, has been shortlisted for the Best Cultural Event or Festival award in the 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.
It is one of four events to make the shortlist; the final results will be announced at the award ceremony being held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on November 4.
Joanna Taylor, one of the directors of Forres Events Ltd, the company that organises the event, said: “We are delighted that Piping at Forres, The European Pipe Band Championships has made it to the finals for a third year in a row. Being recognised as one of the top four of all the events held throughout the whole region is wonderful. Piping at Forres is a fantastic day out and since it began in 2013 has showcased hundreds of pipe bands from around the world as well as featuring local food, drink and crafts. Being shortlisted is a testament to a lot of hard work by many, many people: the Forres at Piping team, the bands themselves who travel from as far away as Australia, and our wonderful volunteers, as well as being an encouragement to our visitors, both local and tourists.”

Piping at Forres 2017 will take place in Grant Park on June 24th. Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the title sponsor of the event, which is also supported by Event Scotland

Commenting on the award nomination, Ewen Mackintosh, Chief Operating Officer of Gordon & MacPhail, owners of Benromach Distillery said: “Piping at Forres is a fantastic event in the piping and Moray calendar and as title sponsor, we are thrilled to see the event recognised with this well-deserved nomination. We have sponsored the event since its first year and it has been incredibly rewarding to see the event grow – it has certainly put Forres on the map and continues to attract huge crowds to the region.”
This year’s Piping at Forres generated over £1m for the local area according to an independent economic report. The feedback study also gave the event 9 out of 10 for overall customer enjoyment and attracted more pipers than ever before.

Joanna added: “We are delighted that once again we are able to show the economic benefit of Piping at Forres to the local area. This event is now firmly part of the local event calendar, but it is clearly attractive to tourists as well, who are choosing to combine coming to Piping at Forres with visiting some of the many other attractions that Moray and the surrounding areas have to offer.”
Forres Events Ltd is a not-for profit organisation and relies on sponsorship and funding on top of the ticket sales to pay for the competition, marketing, security, infrastructure such as marquees, licenses and contractors. It also relies on a large number of volunteers in the communities of Forres and Moray who give their time and expertise to help make it a great day for all concerned.
The Championships were originally set to be run in Forres for three years but this was extended by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, who organise the piping competition, for another three years taking it to 2018.

Calling for Volunteers for Piping At Forres 2016

Photograph Joanna TaylorDo you want to join an award winning team? Piping at Forres are sounding the drum for volunteers for this year’s Piping At Forres competition to be held on Saturday 25 June 2016 in Grant Park. Volunteers are key to the success of the event and the organisers are asking as many people as possible to volunteer to help.

Jacqui Hassan and her daughter Katyi, who have volunteered for the last 2 years, said “I really enjoyed being part of the team of volunteers last year and look forward to volunteering again on 25 June.” Jacqui added “Katyi and I got a lot out of helping, the whole experience was awesome”.
 
There are jobs that suit all abilities, before, during and after the event. During the event volunteers are asked to work in teams interacting with the visitors, selling programmes and helping keep Grant Park looking its best. Help in setting up and taking down the event, for example welcoming the 100+ stallholders, moving lightweight crowd barriers and banners on the Friday and Sunday morning is also requested.
 
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sandra MacIver, who co-ordinates the volunteers. Sandra can be contacted by email at volunteer@pipingatforres.com or by leaving a message on 07817 106 662. Sandra asked that “If those who are interested in volunteering could kindly contact me before 12th June that would help us in our final planning. Briefing will be given before the event.”
 
The role of the community in the event was formally recognised when in 2015 the event won the Moray Speyside Community Tourism award. It was also a finalist and given a Judges’ Special Commendation in the 2015 Highland and Islands Tourism Awards.

World Tattie Scone Championships 2016

BBC Masterchef Finalist  Darren Sivewright (Pictured Right) and David Gow (Left) from award winning Bakery Harry Gow are to judge the 2016 World Tattie Scone Championship to be held at Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships.

BBC Masterchef Finalist Darren Sivewright (Pictured Right) and David Gow (Left) from award winning Bakery Harry Gow are to judge the 2016 World Tattie Scone Championship to be held at Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships.

Entries are now open for those who would like to compete in the 2016 World Tattie Scone Championships!

BBC Masterchef semi-finalist Darren Sivewright and David Gow from award winning Bakery Harry Gow are to judge the 2016 World Tattie Scone Championship to be held at Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky on Saturday 25 June.

Further details and entry forms are available here  for those wishing to take part.

The aim of the competition, now in it is 4th year, is to make a tattie scone using a set recipe with mashed Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes and Carr’s flour plus your own ‘magic’ ingredient (sorry, no alcohol though) with the tastiest and most imaginative scone winning a trophy donated by the host, the Oakwood Cookery School, Elgin and the accolade of the World’s Tastiest Albert Bartlett Tattie Scone Maker 2016.

This year there will be a special prize for the best original scone in memory of the late David Urquhart who was a Director of Forres Events Ltd, the company that runs Piping At Forres. David had the idea of the world tattie scone championship and was a huge supporter of the event.  The prize will be presented by his wife, Sheila.

Places are limited and therefore all completed forms will be entered into a draw for a place. Those successful in gaining a place will be informed by email on Monday 20 June.   All those who are awarded a place in the Tattie Scone Championships will need to buy a ticket to Piping At Forres in order to enter Grant Park but there is no fee to enter the Tattie Scone Championships and children from age 13 upwards are welcome to enter the competition.

The tattie scone competition is run by local businesswoman Elaine Sutherland from the Oakwood Cookery school near Elgin, Those wishing to register for the opportunity to compete in the tattie scone championships should download a form from the Piping At Forres website – www.pipingatforres.com; and email it to Elaine Sutherland on elaine@riversidekitchens.co.uk by 1200 hrs on Monday 20 June 2016.   See also Facebook: tattiesconechampionship.

The 2015 title was won by Cardiff-born, Senior Aircraftman Sam May from Catering Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, with his ‘Taffies’ Tattie Scone with smoked bacon and smoked Dorset cheese as his ingredient, second was Norma Breathet a farmer from just outside Nairn with the ‘Lorne pipe’ using Lorne sausage and carmelised chutney.   Third was Elgin High School Teacher Ross Tyrbis with his ‘KFT Kentucky Fried Tattie’ scone using mixed herbs and spices.

Elaine, who spends hours peeling 20 kg of potatoes the night before the competition, said: “This is great fun and gets better and more competitive every year. We are delighted to have David and Darren help to judge the competition which will add to the fun!”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, is a staple on the Scottish events calendar and is a terrific occasion for families, with something for everyone.”

“The annual World Tattie Scone Championship ensures the event has special significance for imaginative foodies and we look forward to seeing which recipe walks away with this year’s title.”

 

Tickets on sale for Piping At Forres 2016

Piping Forres 2016 Ticket Sales
Tickets are on sale for Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which will take place on Saturday 25 June in Grant Park.

Tickets are now on sale at Beaver Travel in Forres and Elgin; Brodie Countryfare; The Bookshop, Logie Steading; Brambles Boutique, Nairn; Ewe & Me, Aberlour and Grantown-on-Spey or online at www.pipingatforres.com.   Tickets are in the form of wristbands allowing the ticket holder to exit and enter the park throughout the day.

Advance ticket prices offer a saving over the price of tickets sold on the day as follows:-

Adult (18-59)                                       £11.00  (£13.00 on day)

Youth (12-17)                                        £7.00       (£8.00 on day)

Senior Citizens (60 +)                        £10.00 (£11.00 on day)

Children under 12                              Free of charge when accompanied by an adult, although they must be in possession of a wristband.

Family Ticket 2 adults, 2 youths                £30.00 (£32.00 on day).

In addition to the Piping there will be a Retail and Craft village and a Food and Drink village, including a Walkers shortbread sponsored marquee featuring some of the finest produce in Moray and the surrounding area. Brodie Countryfare’s piping hot café, will be serving teas and coffees in a seated area. There will also be beer tents, including craft beers, fairground areas, and other entertainment stalls for all the family including the World Tattie Scone Championship.

Donnie Munro to be the Chieftain at Piping At Forres 2016

Donnie Munro

Donnie Munro, former Runrig frontman and critically acclaimed solo artist,  is to be Chieftain of Piping At Forres for 2016.

Donnie Munro said: “I am deeply honoured to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this highly prestigious international event. Pipe Band Music has undergone enormous changes over the years and the professionalism, the quality of musicianship and complexity of performance, is now quite outstanding. I am sure this will be a fantastic day out for everyone.’

Alan James Chairman of Forres Events Ltd said: “Donnie is a well-known and much loved figure on the Scottish music scene and we are delighted to have him as Chieftain 2016. This is such a wonderful event and a great day out for all the family with so much to do across the park for all ages and interests not least the quality of the bands. I urge you to buy tickets early to avoid queuing on the day and look forward to seeing you on the 25th June.”

Donnie will also perform at a charity dinner hosted by the Forres Rotary Club in Grant Park on the Friday Night in aid of Archie’s Foundation and Maggie’s Highland.

Being a Stallholder in 2016

 

Photograph Joanna Taylor

Photograph Joanna Taylor

Piping at Forres attracts thousands of visitors each year to Grant Park, and offers about a hundred stalls to a wide range of stallholders. Applications for stalls have now closed for 2016.