by Tom McCurdy
(Port Angeles,WA U.S.A.)
Dear Pipe Major Robertson,
I don't know of anyone else so genuinely qualified who offers such an extraordinary service to pipers as do you. It is exceptionaly and all of us wish you the very best.
I was asked to pipe at two nearby veteran's hospitals as part of their ' 12 days of Christmas '. One of the days has ' pipers piping ' so I was at least one piper piping. In preparation a friend of mine, a military historian, sent me his dvd copy of Tunes of Glory. Your comments are timely.
It may be a typo in that the movie was not a comedy. It was a tradgedy and it certainly, for those of us ignorant, played glorious runs of piping and marching to say nothing of the splendid uniforms on display. The tune ' the Black Bear ' was prominant.
Supposedly when the Director, Ronald Neame, sought a location he was turned down by the colonel of the Argyls because the paperback book, Tunes of Glory , then popular had a seamy picture on the cover to promote the sales. I suspect the Colonel regretted his decision as the movie was splendid.
Duncan Macrae was the actor playing Pipe Major Duncan MacLean. I don't know if all real Pipe Majors look like this but this Duncan bears an uncanny resemblence to Pipe Major Bill Richardson!
The other source I referenced was the movie from the sixties The Longest Day. In this movie Peter Lawford portrays Lord Lovat directing his personal piper to play the pipes as the commandos landed at Sword Beach. The piper then played over a difficult bridge crossing. In both cases he playe ' The Black Bear ' although in real life Billy Millin, now deceased, played Hielan Laddie and Blue Bonnets Over the Border among several others.
In any case The Black Bear is prominant and thank you for your masterful presentation. I will learn it!
Best and Happy New Year,