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Bagpipers and the Victoria Cross

David Lairson
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The Victoria Cross is the highest military award for members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth countries. This award is given for valor in the face of the enemy of the “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valor or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.” We are going to look at three bagpipers who have won this award.

The Heroism of Bagpipers During WWI

Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E.

David Lairson
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Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. was one of the greatest pipers and composers of the 20th century. He served in 51st Highland Division in WWII and was appointed Pipe Major of the Seaforth Highlanders at the age of 25. He published 6 books of light music and one book of piobaireachd. He also released over 40 volumes of piobraireachd tutorials as well as several other recordings.

Major-General C.S. Thomason

Crafting Great Tuning Sets

David Lairson
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Knowing a tune is good. Knowing a set is better. Being able to play a good sounding set that also lets you check the tuning on your pipes is the best. Having a good tune, or set, that allows you to make sure everything sounds correct, but you can also use to entertain, kills two birds with one stone and gives your repertoire depth.

Embellishment Practice Tunes

The Story of Highland Cathedral

Tom Crawford
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Regal. Stately. Majestic. It’s one of the biggest bagpipe tunes ever, behind only "Amazing Grace" and perhaps "Scotland the Brave." "Highland Cathedral" is – or should be – in every piper’s repertoire.  But how much do you know about this tune? Time and again I’ll see it listed in programs as "Highland Cathedral" – traditional Scottish bagpipe tune. But that’s wrong.

Highland Cathedral [Vintage]