The Pipe Band movement is full of multi-talented musicians. It is not unusual for pipers to take up the tenor or bass drum in times of need. It is also common for members of the drum corps to be seen playing different drums from time to time.
A more difficult achievement is for a piper to learn the side drum and vice versa, however, this has happened, and, in some cases, individuals have become more than proficient.
There have been many band bus trips and hotel and motel visits where members have shown their talents on guitars, pianos, piano and button accordions, flutes and almost any other instrument you can think of. One of the more famous New Zealand compositions, The Accordion Jig by Donald Sargent, was composed originally for the button accordion.
Then there are those who have been blessed with a more than passable singing voice and who have entertained on many of the less formal occasions. Poetry is another area where bandsmen and women have excelled. Those of us who were members of the Wellington Police Pipe Band in the 1970s will never forget Doug Muir reciting many Banjo Paterson poems.
Over the last 20 or more years there has been a marked increase in the number of concerts put on by Bands and we see the cross-over of talents first-hand.
One individual who has more than his share of musical talent is David Wilmott of Christchurch. David was born in 1964 into a musical family. His maternal great grandfather, Charles Peebles McGlashan, was one of the first Pipe Majors of the City of Dunedin Pipe Band. His grandfather, Charles McGlashan was an accomplished saxophonist.
David’s mother, Patricia (Pat) nee McGlashan was a piper and his father, Murray a tenor drummer in the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band. In fact, it was at a pipe band contest that they first met and fell in love. David’s three older sisters are also musicians; Margaret, like David, was a classically trained violinist, Diane a pianist and briefly a bass drummer in the Caledonian Ladies’ Pipe Band, and Helen learned the piano, clarinet and bagpipes before moving on to become an accomplished bass drummer.
Not surprisingly, David married a piper, Katherine (nee Hatton). They first met when aged about 13 – David in the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band and Katherine in the Caledonian Ladies Pipe Band. However, they went their separate ways for many years until in 1998 they were reunited and married early in 2002.
With such a family history of musicianship, it was not unnatural that David would play some musical instrument. At the age of 4 he started on the violin and went on to eventually pass his practical and theory exams up to Grade 8 with the Royal School of Music and the Trinity College of London. He also studied music at high school to Bursary level. David progressed through the Christchurch School of Instrumental Music’s orchestral programme until at the tender age of 13 he was a member of the Christchurch Youth Orchestra.
As if all this was not enough, at age 9 he started learning the bagpipes. His first tutor was Airdrie Stewart who was serving with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and living in Christchurch. He spent two years with Airdrie before Airdrie retired and moved to Dunedin.
David had several other tutors over the next few years including Donald Gannaway and Neville Burney. Neville soon had him playing in the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band and in 1979 he competed with the band in Grade 1 at the Dunedin contest.
At about the same time, David started having lessons from Chris Stevens. It was Chris whom he credits with being his main mentor. Chris introduced him to serious solo competition and was instrumental in his progress up through the grades until about 1988 when he was playing A Grade.
In 1990-92 he took some time away from the band and the bagpipes, and when he returned, he came back with a new vigour. By this time Chris Stevens had taken over as Pipe Major and Chris welcomed David’s assistance in setting up and producing the sound of the Band. This partnership laid the foundation for David’s now established role as ‘sound-man’ in the band.
During this period, David was promoted to Pipe Sergeant and since 2000 has carried full responsibility for the band’s sound. In 2004 David was made a Life Member for his services to the Band.
During his teenage years in the late 1970’s, influenced by the Sex Pistols David acquired a passion for punk rock. David states he liked most punk rock bands of the time but of those he didn’t like, Blondie seemed prominent in his memory. The writer was rather surprised at this revelation for two reasons. Firstly, he can well remember the group from the mid to late 1970s and rather enjoyed their music. The second reason is that he never thought of Blondie as a punk rock group or even heard them called that. Perhaps there is a bit of closet punk in us all!!
David adds that Blondie, in his opinion were really a "post-punk" product and he feels they embraced commercialism which turned him away from their music. He admits there were many worse punk bands around at the time but felt that from their punk roots in the late 70's Blondie elected to follow the New Wave road when punk started to fade. He decided to take the more cerebral alternative path.
David was heavily immersed in the punk culture to the point where he taught himself the guitar and together with a few ‘skateboard mates’ formed a band. Apart from a couple of simple cover versions to get them going, the band only ever played original songs and David was heavily involved in writing their music.
David installed an electronic pick-up on his violin so he could play it in some of the band’s performances. Over time, they built up a bit of a cult following amongst the local varsity crowd and also entered a Battle of the Bands competition. During their competition performance, things were going along quite nicely until they were let down by equipment failure. Apparently, one of the band members (David blushes while talking of this) tripped on an electrical lead and it became disconnected. There was suddenly a massive hole in the music – a bit like a bass drone stopping or a chanter falling out in the middle of a performance. Needless to say – they didn’t win.
Throughout his teenage years David had the three music cultures classical, punk and highland bagpipe pouring out of him. However, his time in the youth orchestra whilst surrounded by other musicians older than himself became less exciting for him and his interest in the classical performance started to wane. Although he no longer performs this music he frequently will sit down and put on a record or CD of Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn or whoever just for his own enjoyment.
Into his 20s and 30s David’s love of the highland bagpipe music slowly took over from the punk and classical and he is now full time into the bagpipes.
As part of his classical music examinations, David had to compose music and write out multiple-part scores. As these were all done to order he did not particularly enjoy the experience. By the time he reached his late teens he found that through his punk and highland bagpipe music - being more free-form idioms - composing came quite naturally.
It is a well-known fact that the way written bagpipe music has evolved differs from the classical style. The placing of the notes and gracenotes upon the stave has been modified to suit the compactness of our nine notes. We all know the way the gracenote groups are written in bagpipe music they do not add up to the time signature. Anyone who has learned to read music via the bagpipe idiom takes these things for granted but they do seem odd to a classically trained musician.
Once David got his head around these idiosyncrasies the compositions came. They enter his head at any time and any place and nowadays he always has a manuscript paper handy so he can jot these ideas down. On one occasion he was riding his bicycle through The Square in Christchurch and an idea for a tune came into his head. He kept humming this idea over and over while battling into a fierce Nor’ Wester - oblivious of the traffic around him - until he arrived home and put it onto paper. The tune was to become what he considers his first ‘meritable’ work. Written in 1982, it was a 12/8 march Garden City Pipers. This tune is still played in the band and was named by a friend and fellow piper Dale Keller. Since that tune there have been many dozens of bagpipe (and other) melodies that he has composed.
He has over fifty complete bagpipe tunes and even more semi complete tunes – he calls these ‘scratchings’. One day they may or may not be completed. Ironically, none of the punk tunes were written down and other than the odd recording these no longer exist other than in the composer’s memory.
Some tunes he has composed have come to him all at once, whilst others have been fragments from a number of different occasions and then joined together to make a
He has sat down with the intention of writing a tune but almost without exception, he finds these end up as incomplete or unsatisfying ‘scratchings’ and they often have little musical merit. He states that although it is relatively easy to write something to formula, it nearly always ends up predictable or unoriginal. It seems that the less harder he tries the more likely he will get a good idea for a tune into his head. This is not unusual amongst composers; most of those written about in this series have stated the same.
David’s favourite tunes are jigs, hornpipes and reels and not unnaturally these tunes are in abundance in his compositions. He also loves playing strathspeys but ironically has found this style of tune the most difficult to compose and to date nothing of merit has emerged. Most composers seem to find the 2/4 march the most prolific time signature to express their art but to date David has only one, Wendy Neale named after a fellow piper in the Band. The writer heard Wendy playing this tune at Labour Weekend 1993 and was most impressed by it.
David has composed three Suites: In the Summertime, The Millennium Suite and Rumour. The first two have been performed by the Band. He also has 4 or 5 semi completed suites.
The writer has archived 16 of David’s tunes and they all have merit. Four Hornpipes; The Southern Attraction tells of the attraction the North Island Bands have for luring away South Island pipers; The MacPherson Strut (a name proposed by a drummer in the band, Lance Rairi, many years before the tune was actually written) does not allude to some pompous Highlander but refers to the well-known suspension system used in many cars since its invention for the Ford Consul in 1951; The Old Man’s Hornpipe is from The Millennium Suite and was given this name after a fellow piper mocked David’s ‘old man’s sausage fingers’ (he says ‘thanks Rowan’), and The Thunderdrone so named because it just sounded cool!
Four Jigs; The Millennium Jig is part of theMillennium Suite and was composed around the time of the Millennium; 2 Ladies 2 Vex Me is named for his wife Katherine and four-year-old daughter Evelyn and the wonderful new challenges they bring him; Hot Pursuit is just a fast tune and hence the name, and The Distillery so named for obvious reasons.
Three Reels; The Chameleon has frequent changes of time signature between 2/4, 3/8 and 2/2 and as the chameleon changes its colour, so does the tune; J T Stuntman (aka The Collarbone) refers to James Tomkinson’s attempt to ride a bike into the infamous Dungeon and the subsequent breaking of his collarbone as he found the door was not quite wide enough to accommodate his entry, and The Toper’s Dance is in remembrance of the late Alan Harris. Alan, who died recently is a fondly remembered member of the band who, whilst at the Tauranga contest 12 years ago slightly overindulged in the ‘sponsor’s product’. David observed Alan, while smiling ever so smugly, reaching out to lean on a tent pole. Unfortunately, the pole was a good ten feet away. Alan did quite a dance before not quite making it to the support he so casually was seeking!! (An obituary for Alan is elsewhere in this magazine).
A 6/8 march Patricia Wilmott is named for his mother. Two airs; Doubtful Sound is named for the place in Fiordland, and Rumour is part of the Suite of the same name.
David has competed in solo competitions with many of his own compositions and has won on more than a few occasions. At one of the annual Scottish Extravaganza concerts held in the Christchurch Town Hall, David was the guest soloist and was asked to perform a 10-minute medley of his own compositions. The Band has also used many of his tunes.
David has shown a brief interest in piobaireachd but has never played it seriously. He found many of the grounds have beautiful melodies but often his interest wanes once into the variations. He admits that some of the piobaireachd he has heard have influenced his own compositions.
As mentioned earlier, David has always carried a manuscript book to record any ideas that come to him. Technology has taken over from the manuscript book and with the advent of the many music writing programmes for the computer he now finds that he can just as quickly write the tune directly onto the computer.
Like the writer he used Encore 4 for many years, but this is a time-consuming programme and since then the piping fraternity have developed software especially for the bagpipes. One designed by an Andy Baker; Pipe Major of the Auckland Police Pipe Band is Electric Pipes. David can enter a tune, embellishments and all, into this programme using the keyboard as quickly as anyone can type a sentence into Microsoft Word. However, if the computer is not available the trusty manuscript book, cigarette packet or whatever is never too far away.
The writer would like to thank David for his assistance in preparing this article. Normally, all interviews for these articles occur over the telephone and then several emails later the finished article takes shape. This one involved a trip to Christchurch, a 4-hour session with David at his house and then the normal number of emails to catch up on things missed. David is a very talented man, and it has been a pleasure working with him.
Chris is one of the more talented pipers in New Zealand. Although he has chosen not to air his talents in the solo scene, he has certainly done so in the Pipe Band world. Recently he has made more of a name for himself as the editor of the Pipe Band Magazine. He has also composed a few tunes that have been highly regarded by his fellow bandsmen.
Chris is another piper who is fortunate to have come from a piping family. His father, Peter is a well-known piping identity in Christchurch. There are many who have been at the Labour Weekend competitions in Christchurch over the last 20 or more years and have ended up at the Steven’s household for the after-ceilidh breakfast on the Monday morning.
Chris initially learned his piping from his father as a 9-year-old in 1968. Four years later he went to St Andrew’s College and for a couple of years had lessons from Bill Johnston. Joe Patterson, another well-known piper from Christchurch, had an input into Chris’s piping for a year or two. In 1975 he received instruction from the great Bill Boyle, and this continued up until Bill’s untimely death in 1980.
In 1977 he joined the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band and in 1990 became Pipe Major, a post he was to hold until 2000. At this point Chris moved away from active playing in pipe bands and a year later took over as Editor of the Pipe Band Magazine. He also finds time to teach young pipers.
Chris’s wife Diane and 16-year-old son Michael are both pipers. Younger son Scott, aged 13, completes the family involvement and is a drummer.
Composing bagpipe tunes came to Chris comparatively late in his piping career. He fondly recalls in precise detail the occasion; one day in 1990 whilst mowing the lawn the idea came into his head and he quickly turned off the mower and wrote it down; the whole process took only ten minutes.
It turned out to be a 4 parted 4/4 march which he called Tommy’s Walkabout. This was named after Tom Weir who went on a three-month trip back home to Scotland in the 1980s. The band has played this tune for a number of years.
A quick count up by Chris reveals that he has composed about 33 tunes. Many have come in a similar manner as the first and have had the names appended at a later date. However, there are a number where the title was derived from some amusing incident and just begged for a tune to be named after it. Chris was more than happy to oblige.
The measure of the quality of any tune is that it must be played by one’s contemporaries before it can be considered to be of merit. During his time as Pipe Major of the band, his fellow musicians have liked 14 of his compositions enough to agree to play them in the band.
A few years ago, Chris was in Australia and heard a local band playing one of his hornpipes My Two Sons. He admits to getting quite a buzz out of hearing it.
A few years ago, Chris collaborated with David Wilmott and has put a number of tunes together and intends to publish them in a book. We will all be looking forward to its arrival.
Airdrie is another who started learning the bagpipes at a young age. He took his first lessons as a 9-year-old from Donald MacArthur in Dunedin in 1935. Over the next three years Airdrie very quickly became a competent player in both piobaireachd and small music under Donald’s guidance.
Donald died in about 1938 and the famous George Yardley took over as his tutor. Donald MacArthur and George Yardley had both served in the Highland Light Infantry in Scotland before coming to New Zealand. George’s sudden death about a year later put an end to a flourishing pupil/tutor relationship.
Airdrie was a piping prodigy and many in the Dunedin area recognised the fact. Local Scottish Societies raised a considerable sum of money to enable young Airdrie to continue his amazing progress with some of the best tutors in Scotland.
Unfortunately, the Second World War intervened, and Airdrie was forced to remain in New Zealand. The money raised was used to send him to Masterton in 1940 where he boarded at Wairarapa College and for six months received tuition from the well-known Murdo MacKenzie.
At the end of 1940 he returned home to Dunedin and for the next two years had no tutor. This changed when Neil Munro arrived in Dunedin and for 10 years Airdrie received regular lessons.
Airdrie started competing at ten years of age and very quickly made a name for himself. As an eleven-year-old he played in the New Zealand Championship Piobaireachd competition at Dunedin and got second to the man who was soon to give him lessons, Murdo MacKenzie.
Airdrie also had time for pipe bands and as a 16-year-old joined the City of Dunedin Pipe Band. He played with them for a number of years and then left to join the Dunedin Scottish Pipe Band that had recently been formed by Neil Munro. Two years later he was to become their Pipe Major.
1954 saw a major vocational change for Airdrie when he joined the RNZAF as a bandmaster. He was based at the Taieri Air Force Station until it closed in 1960 and was then posted to Te Rapa near Hamilton – still as a bandmaster. During his time in Te Rapa Airdrie played with the Hamilton Caledonian Society Pipe Band.
By 1970 Airdrie was coming up for retirement and had decided that he would return to his native Dunedin. The Air Force then transferred him to the base of his choice to see out the remainder of his 20 years’ service. It was at Wigram in Christchurch in 1970 that the writer first made Airdrie’s acquaintance and has remained firm friends ever since.
During his time in Christchurch Airdrie played with the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band and in 1974 he left the Air Force and returned to Dunedin. He has continued his association with the City of Dunedin Pipe Band and has been heavily involved in teaching young pipers over the last 30 years.
Airdrie admits that composing was not prominent in his early piping years. In fact, it was not until about 20 years ago that a tune came to him whilst he was driving the car. He quickly pulled over and wrote it down on a piece of paper. He adds that the main motivation for composing was to try to come up with simple sparsely embellished tunes that would suit pipers playing in a beginner’s band. He has composed about ten small music tunes and two piobaireachds.
Four of Airdrie’s tunes have been published in The Kiwi Collection by Roger Gill 1991. These tunes are:
In 1998 the Otago Piper’s Club organised a piobaireachd composing competition and Airdrie submitted two tunes and was placed 1st and 2nd with them. Donald Bain was one of the judges and was to attend the function during which the awards were to be made. Sadly, he died suddenly that afternoon. Airdrie’s tune that took 1st prize was named the Lament for Donald MacKinnon Bain.
For his services to piping, in particular his teaching, Airdrie was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001. A richly deserved award.
In the writer’s collection of bagpipe music there are over 350 books but there is only one compiled by a woman. That is Ann Gray’s Collection Music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. This was published in 2000 and has 82 tune, 26 of which were composed by Ann. Ann has recently published a second book of tunes.
Looking through many of the other books it quickly becomes apparent that there are very few tunes composed by women. In one of the earlier articles in this series comment was made about the lack of woman composers, not only woman bagpipe composers but woman composers from all other fields.
It was hoped that those comments would either flush out tunes composed by women or inspire women to become composers. It is apparent that until now, neither happened. By chance whilst interviewing John Frater for an article in an earlier edition of this magazine, John made mention of Sheran Hancock who had won third prize in a composing competition in USA.
This name was unknown to the writer and immediate enquiries were made to track her down. As a result, it became apparent that Sheran was better known to some of us as Sheran Cotton. The Cotton family and their involvement with the Feilding and Districts Pipe Band is almost legendary. Sheran’s Uncle Norman was a piper well known to the writer in the 1970s.
Sheran was born into a family of ardent pipe band people; her father Rae was a drummer and Mother Gail a piper in the Feilding band. Gail was taught by Frank Gannaway.
With this piping pedigree it was natural that Sheran would get involved and the age of 10 her mother started her on the chanter. After about a year it was agreed by both parties that it might be better for mother/daughter relations that Sheran should go to someone else for lessons and it was ex pipe major of the band Dirk MacGregor who took over. Dirk in now 90 years old and still gets enormous pleasure whenever Sheran visits him to play a tune.
During this time, she started playing with the Feilding and Districts Pipe Band and at the age of 17 became their pipe major. At around the same time Sheran started to get lessons from Rod Appleton-Seymour from Waipawa and in 1982 she competed with the Waipawa Pipe Band.
In 1984 Denis Pierce of the Manawatu Scottish heard Sheran playing and invited her to join his band. For the next 3 years she played with Manawatu until, in 1987, the Feilding and Districts Pipe Band decided to compete. Rotorua was their first contest, and they were runner-up in Grade four. This was followed by a 3rd placing in Dunedin in 1989 and Runner-up again in 1990 in Auckland.
By this time people were starting to take notice of the quality of their performances and perhaps most importantly, the Grading Committee had a say. Although the band had not won the Grade 4 the Committee had no hesitation in promoting them into Grade 3.
They quickly followed this with a 3rd in their new grade at Timaru in 1991 and then runner-up twice; at Napier in 1992 and Christchurch in 1993. Once again, the Grading Committee took matters into their own hands and promoted them into Grade 2. This is probably a unique achievement and attests to accomplished teaching, musicianship and leadership of Sheran.
The arrival of the band in Grade 2 has coincided with a number of people leaving for a variety of reasons. The task of getting the new players up to Grade 2 standard has not been easy and as a result they have moved back down to Grade 3 in 2004. One suspects that this will not last, and they will make a move up again in the not-too distant future.
Comments made to the writer by seasoned campaigners in the pipe band world say the Feilding band may have suffered at times as a result of being under-strength but have always delivered tunes with a spirited and musical interpretation with a true and bright chanter sound – the hallmarks of good musicianship.
One might think that all these activities would have kept Sheran very busy and indeed it has. However, she has had time to compete in solo piping competitions up to A Grade and has been the education officer for the Wellington-Hawkes Bay Pipe Band Centre. She has also helped to tutor youth bands in the Wellington and Central. North Island Centres. And just to use up any spare minutes in her extremely busy schedule, she tutors school bands at Feilding Intermediate and Palmerston North Boys’ High.
Feilding also has a youth pipe band that Sheran tutors and although they have not competed that often when they do, they have always been in the top two. They are naturally proud that Feilding can produce two bands when other large towns struggle to populate one.
In 1991 she married Jason Hancock who just happens to be the drum major of the Feilding Pipe Band. They have two boys, Brogan aged 12 who is learning the pipes and 10-year-old Jared who will one day be a drummer.
When pressed about how many pipers she had taught, Sheran is a little coy, but one suspects that it will be in the dozens if not a hundred or more. Five years ago, she gained her advanced piping certificate.
Like us all, Sheran also became a piping doodler at an early age and did compose some tunes. There are only one or two from her early days and one of these is a strathspey she composed as a 14-year-old especially for a competition in Blenheim where all contestants had to play a tune of their own.
The bulk of her composing started about 3 years ago and since then there have been eight tunes that she considers worthy of naming. Perhaps her most famous tune is one called Iris and Doug’s 50th and it celebrates Iris and Doug Corkill’s 50th wedding anniversary. Doug has been a member of many different pipe bands as his work with the New Zealand Railways took him throughout the country. He has been around almost as long as many of us can remember!
This tune started life as an entry in a competition sponsored by The Pipers’ Club of the Carolinas. The club was founded in 2004 by Christoph Kresse of Greenville, South Carolina and by Mark Elliott of Sophia, North Carolina. There were 37 entries from USA, Denmark, UK including 3 from New Zealand. (Sheran, John Frater from Masterton and Jock Spence from Auckland were the contributors.)
Sheran’s tune is a 4 parted 4/4 march and is currently being played by her band. It is an extremely simple melody in the first two parts but in the third part the melody takes on a subtle change in its rhythmic pattern. In the fourth part these subtle changes are taken a step further and result is a tune that is sure to be heard around the pipe band scene for years to come. If it was only good enough for 3rd place the other two must have been damn good.
In 2004 Sheran was asked by her son Jared’s schoolteacher to organise a Medieval Feast for 150 school children. She was also asked to play the pipes and thought a new tune would be appropriate for the occasion. This tune is a two parted 6/8 march and one of the children suggested it be called Midi Evil. One can almost detect modern day computer terminology being used to make a pun out of a very old word.
It has been said before that New Zealanders are very strong on hornpipes and there is no doubt this stems from the hornpipe and jig competitions that have been part of the solo competing repertoire for many decades.
We also find there have been a number of fine quality hornpipes composed in this country and comment has been made about some of them in earlier articles in this series. We find that Sheran is also talented in this medium.
Cassie’s Camp Rocks! is probably the younger generation’s way of saying that at Cassie’s Camp you can have a great time. The Hancock’s spend each New Year at Cassie and Mike Lucas’s Mercury Bay Holiday Camp and usually see out the old year with a few tunes on the bagpipes.
This particular tune is a hornpipe composed in 2005 and a very good one. The first bar borrows heavily on the first bar of John MacKenzie’s Fancy by Jim Barrie but from then on it is completely original and will stand by itself as a composition of high quality and may be heard frequently in years to come.
Sheran has a good friend Coyla Buckley, a Highland dancer and band supporter who owns Malones Motel in Rotorua. She composed a jig in 2005 called Coyla at Malones.
Pipe Corporal of the band, Mikaela Guy asked Sheran to pipe her in when she was to be presented at the Debutante Ball. When Mikaela was asked what tune, she wished to have played, she suggested Sheran could write one for the occasion. The result is very pleasant two parted hornpipe-cum-polka called Mikaela, the Belle of the Ball.
Another pretty two parted hornpipe with polka overtones is Ainsley’s Boys Rock and this was named after Ainsley Watson and his 2006 under 13 Manawatu hockey team which included Brogan Hancock. Sheran and Brogan knew Ainsley was learning the pipes and they surprised and delighted the boys when they piped the boys into dinner at the end of the tournament.
Another tune started its days as a 2/4 march but is now played by the composer as polka is the unusually charming Johnnie’s Fall. It is also unusual in that it is a three parter; the first two parts commemorate the band manager, John Guy who at an ‘after match’ function in 2006 fell over and skinned his nose.
The third part although still in 2/4 time has the instructions to play it slowly and the manner in which it is written surely indicates that the story does not end there. Indeed, it does not. After an extended absence of about two hours John was found asleep on the toilet. We are assured it was not a pretty sight!
One would not think that a two parted 6/8 march with a name like The Cat and the Mackerel would have any untoward connotations. If you did think that you would be wrong and as this is a family magazine, we will leave it there. However, the tune itself does not indicate any of this.
Sheran has proven herself to be a talented all-round member of the pipe band movement, not the least of which is her composing ability. It is recommended that people keep an ear out for the Feilding, and Districts Pipe Band and they might just hear a tune or two that is completely new that they wish to play.
Sheran is probably not the first woman to compose tunes for the bagpipes in New Zealand, but she is the first to come to the notice of this writer. It is not easy to come up with original melodies and Sheran seems to have this ability.
We look forward to any new tunes that will flow from that ever-active piping mind.
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