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Inter-continental Gathering

A free bagpipe lesson by PM Bill Robertson

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Inter-continental Gathering

The composer for the March Inter–continental Gathering was George MacIlwham, born in Glasgow. He had early piping tuition from his uncle, Pipe Major D. MacIlwham (Highland Light Infantry, and the Cameronians 1914–1918). He was a pupil also of Donald MacLean (Lovat Scouts), and Pipe Major Robert Reid.

George studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was the leading Flautist of the BBC Scottish Orchestra for some good time. His orchestral compositions include Dalriada, and Gaelic Symphonic Suite. His Piobaireachd Cameron's Salute was placed tenth in the BBC competition for New Piobaireachd 1964/65 out of sixty–six entries Worldwide.

In the same competition I was placed third equal – quite an honour for New Zealand I felt. My piobaireachd is in the Piobaireachd Society Collection of Ceol Mor composed during the 20th Century 1930–1980. This very nice march was the winning composition for the Inter-continental Gathering in Toronto that featured a very large inter–continental pipe band competition in 1972 with top bands from far flung continents including Pipe and Drums of Innes Tartan (Auckland & District Pipe Band with sponsorship at the time), Auckland, New Zealand. Edinburgh City Police Pipe band won the open event.

Our band Innes Tartan on a hot summer's morning still to finalise our full–dress and tune up waiting for the draw was informed by our band manager just back from the draw for the open grade that we were on first in TEN MINUTES! What a fluttery is was to finish dressing and tune up to do our best. Of course, it was useless – after all that distance travelled too. Even though I say it, given the chance, we were otherwise well prepared to play well from our tour and recent 7th Placing in the Scottish Championships Open event a week or two before. I always wonder why the draw could not have been done some days before. I could say more, but should not. We went on to win the British Columbia Championship, Canada, and Open event in Santa Rosa, California.

Inter-continental gathering

Cover of the Intercontinental Pipe Bands events programme depicting the 48th Highlanders of Canada

Lesson Pointers

The tune is fairly straightforward in simple time with four beats to the bar. Keep to the beat value/duration without anticipating some beats especially following the quarter notes/crotchets. Clarity of technique almost goes without saying by now.

As usually mentioned by me beware of the equal value of tied eighth notes/quavers as there can be a tendency to not give the downbeats proper duration relatively to upbeat. Harmony parts are provided with the tune for bands. Please play through the tune as directed without harmony parts until the repeat of the tune fifth bar first part.

We used to really enjoy this tune in our band especially when the simple added harmony came in. Tempo could be for musical display and enjoyment at about 84–96 BPM, with the slower time preferable perhaps.

Download The Music Notation.

Click to download the tune notation for Inter-continental Gathering

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