So here we go after 2 years of cancellations the Big Orkney Folk Festival is back and to kick it all off the Stromness RBL Pipe Band rise to the challenge as the first act of the opening Concert in the Town Hall on Thursday evening at 7.30pm. As at previous Folk Festivals we set the tone and the atmosphere at the start of four days of wall to wall folky music. If you haven’t got a ticket it’s too late. But we are playing in the street at the Pierhead on Saturday 28th at 2.pm followed by the Kirkwall City Pipe Band around 2.30pm, then a few tunes as a massed band to complete an hour + of piping and drumming. CU there.
Some folk play the folky music for the other folk who like to just listen to the folky folk playing the folky music and they all have a folky good time.
Last Friday evening saw the band on the street in Stromness for the first of this year’s fortnightly Friday evening parades. It was great to get back out on the street and get a few tunes as a full band. The weather was perfect for the parade and it attracted a good number of spectators. We thoroughly enjoyed our first outing and a big thank you goes out to all who came along to support us. We will do the whole thing over again on Fri 20th May 8 pm. Hope to see you there.
We are pleased to announce that after 2 years delay due to the effects of Covid we are now planning our 40th Anniversary trip to Kincardine in Canada this August. Plans have been hastily drawn up after being given the green light from our host pipe band, The Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band, that the events we are hoping to attend are going ahead. It’s eye’s down and looking with a fund raising Prize Bingo evening on Friday 29th April at the Stenness community hall. Commencing 7.30pm with the doors opening at 6.45. This event will kick off a number of fundraisers as we go through the next 4 months. Time to get match fit on the pipes and drums it’s going to be a long summer.
It was a privilege to be asked to do a radio interview with presenter Angelica Bell from the London based Scala Radio, a digital radio station which specializes (mostly) in the classical genre of music. Each week Angelic likes to investigate the workings and day to day running of musical groups from around the UK. So as a small pipe band just about as far away from London as you can get The Stromness RBL Pipe Band seems the obvious choice. Pipe Major Mark and Secretary Ian took part in what will be15 mins (approx) airtime during her radio show this coming Sunday morning (13th Feb 2022). The Programme starts at 10am and runs for 3 hours. We have been told that it will be on at around 11.45am. Follow the link to listen on your phone, Ipad or PC.
This Saturday evening 14th August as part of the much shortened Stromness Shopping Week Gala the pipe band will play in front of the Town House at the Pier Head for a approx 30 mins between 1730 -1815 (Flexible due to other groups playing). This will be the first street parade the band has attended since the summer of 2019. We are looking forward to this much awaited event. We would also wish the Shopping Week Committee all the best for setting this up and hope the weather is kind for the sake of all involved.
At 1pm on Friday 9th July 2021 on Broad Street, Kirkwall Orkney Islands Council are conferring the “Freedom of Orkney” on the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group in recognition of their on-going commitment to the annual survey of HMS Royal Oak war grave in the waters of Scapa Flow and the resetting of a RN Ensign onto the wreck. Also their regular visits to Orkney for the disposal of old ordnance and dangerous objects from the shore line. The ceremony will commence at 12.45pm. Following the official handing over of the “Freedom Scroll” the NDG and RM Band will take part in a traditional march through the town with Drums beating, Flags flying and “Bayonets fixed” displaying the scroll on a cushion for all the townsfolk to see and recognize.
On the evening of Thursday 8th July 2021 at 6.30pm the NDG accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines will perform the ceremony of “Beating Retreat” at Stromness Academy (car park). The ceremony will be preceded by our very own Stromness RBL Pipe Band. The Pipe band will perform a short programme 10-15 mins in the lead up to the ceremony itself.
This is a public event but spectators should adhere to the Covid restrictions of social distancing and face covering where appropriate.
Dating back to Roman times Martial organizations that are granted the privilege of The Freedom of a City are allowed to march through the streets with their weapons unsheathed. In modern times this is known as Bayonets Fixed. This is to say that the bayonet is fixed to the muzzle of a rifle as in prepared for use.
Here we are in the Month of May 2021 we have not been able to practice or play pipes and drums as a full band since March 2020. As we move through this month we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with a lifting of restrictions in Orkney to level 1 on Monday 17th May However we have not been advised that any piping practice can restart on that date. In fact I believe we are to remain at the same level as the whole of Scotland until we are given the green light by the government to return to piping and drumming. Ongoing I also understand that the whole country will go to level 0 at sometime towards the end of June at which time surely some form of practice and street parades can return.
In Orkney as with a lot of places, most, if not all of the main annual events have already been cancelled in their normal form but some are proceeding on a virtual basis. We as a band do not have any bookings. We will be announcing some self organised street parades and any offers that we receive once we can get back together and form a plan.
Pipers are already taking their pipes out of the box, for some it has been a long time since they have seen the light of day. Drummers are looking for their drum pads and hoping the family haven’t used them as teapot stands.
Practices will start as soon as we are allowed and hopefully get a full band out as soon as possible. Until then we won’t hold our breath we will use it to blow the dust out of that pipe bag and the drummers will be giving their drum pads a lot of stick.
We were going to hold a short parade and remembrance ceremony in Stromness on Sunday 8th November followed on Wednesday 11th with a gathering for the 2 mins silence at 1100. Unfortunately new Covid regulations came into force today. Although they do not restrict private citizens paying respect at the War Memorial a dictate from the Scottish Government has been sent to the OIC instructing them to cancel all Legion Parades.
The band members are keeping in touch by social media, practicing and carrying out instrument maintenance. Yes? there is an upside.
No official cancellation yet, watch out for further information–Sunday April 26th 2020. 10.30am The Stromness RBL Pipe Band will lead the parade of all Orkney BB sections from the Finstown Hall to the Kirk and return following the Enrolment service. This is an annual event where the BB’s renew their vows