Supporting our NHS Scotland Frontline Workers

SAPD/ NHS Scotland Limited Edition New Products now Available

We’re excited to launch a series of new limited edition products to support our suburb NHS Scotland frontline workers

ALL Profits from this range will go to NHS Scotland Frontline workers – NO PROFITS will remain with  SAPD 

All the new products are limited editions so get your orders in quick before they run out

We are also working on new ideas for more SAPD/NHS Scotland goodies, so look out for these coming soon in our online shop.

First Up we’d like to introduce our very special Frontline Worker Teddy Bear

His Name is Richard !

Our band member Richard Kerr is an ambulance technician based in Lanarkshire and he has been working throughout this crisis.

We want to give our grateful thanks to Richard and also to band members  Norma Sommerville and Nick Dawson who are also frontline workers in the NHS and Care sectors.

As well as these limited edition SAPD/NHS Scotland products, we’re busy looking into other fundraising activities to assist our frontline health and social care workers in Scotland.]

So keep your eyes peeled on all our social media feeds for further announcements.

PLEASE NOTE : Please “bear” with us on deliveries. They may take a little longer than usual to get to you due to the current social distancing/lockdown.

We will do our very best to get your orders to you as quickly as we can whilst keeping everybody safe.

To see the full range or to place an order visit our online shop https://saoralbapd.scot/shop/

Arbroath 2020 The Gathering

Statement from Saor Alba Pipes and Drums Chairman John McGregor

“As Chair of SAPD I am delighted to say that our suggestion to create a ‘virtual’ Arbroath 2020 celebration has been a resounding success.

It has engaged with pipers and Scots worldwide to celebrate this special moment.

I’d like to say a special thanks to JR Ewen (piper and all round techie god) for his help in making this possible.

I’d also to thank the pipers and musicians world wide for your input.

I must also pay great tribute to our Band Manager, Jim Edwards….who took this from a grain of an idea and steered it towards the reality it has become. Always an inspiration.

We built an important moment.

I cannot say more than thank you 💕🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Yours aye
J McG”

Calling All Pipers

We are planning a virtual celebration for the 700th aniversary of Arbroath Declaration of Scottish Independence

Whilst we cant be together in Arbroath on 6th April 2020, we believe that music can bring us all together. We are calling all pipers in Scotland and internationally to be part of this historic virtual event.

PIPER INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Go to our new “Saor Alba Arbroath 2020” Facebook page and ask to join this new group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1078701595841041/
  2. Watch the example video and download the sheet music from the SAPD Arbroath 2020 Facebook group
  3. Film a video in your house or garden (please stay at home) playing “Scots Wha Hae” and “Flower of Scotland”
  4. Upload your video to your OWN personal social media page (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ) so its ready.
  5. On the 6th of April at 13.20 (1.20pm) share your video from your social media account to SAPD Arbroath 2020 Facebook page

Please also share this information with all your piper family and friends – we hope to get as many pipers as possible worldwide taking part.

SAPD will post regular updates on the Arbroath page about how non-pipers and non-players can also join in and take part tomake this the most joyous of Arbroath Celebrations

Stay safe and look after each other

Ronald McIsaac – Rest in Peace

We are all reeling from the devastating news that one of our Band Assistants, Ronald McIsaac has passed away.

Ronald was from Corstorphine, Edinburgh and would have been celebrating his 60th Birthday in May.

 

Ronald was well known in the Indy Family.He was a member of the Freedom Convoy and the Society of William Wallace.

 

He loved travelling all over his beloved Scotland and meeting like minded folk.

 

 

 

 

 

When Ronald sadly lost his wife and soul mate Denise in early 2019 he needed something to fill the dark void in his life. A friend of his introduced him to the band family, and he was very soon making himself useful!

He was with us on our very first public outing – Stornaway. He drove the van that carried all our instruments, uniforms etc.

 

 

 

 

 

The tributes have been pouring in on social media, and all have the same common threads. People remember how passionate Ronald was about Scotland and Independence, but what shines through is how well loved he was. He was kind. He was generous. Above all people are remembering that they always laughed with Ronald – he was funny.
We are deeply sorry we will not be able to attend his funeral due to the Covid – 19 restrictions but I’m sure we’ll find a way to honour his memory once life returns to normal.
Scotland has lost a true patriot and freedom fighter and is a poorer place for it.
Rest in Peace Ronald – your memory will march on in our hearts

Thank You Inverness !

A spectacular day in the Highland Capital

What can you say about a wonderful day out in beautiful sunshine, strolling through the heart of the Highlands with several thousand fellow yessers?  It was breathtaking. It was a buzz. It was incredible. It was full of joy and laughter and children and music. And it sent a very clear message that there most definitely is an appetite for Independence in the North.

This was a first for us. A march organised by a group of dedicated locals. Understanding that not everyone can travel hundreds of miles to attend the big marches which are usually several hours away down the A9,  for a variety of reasons, this team had a dream to bring the march to the people. It was a gamble, but boy did it pay off.  The Indy family rallied round and gave them their full support. This march had everything you’d expect at the big mega marches …. the roar of the Yes Bikers, the dignity of the Silent Clansman, the Cairn of the Yes Stoners etc … and us. It was also supported by our local politicians , including the leader of the SNP at Westminster Ian Blackford and Inverness MP Drew Hendry. And better yet, in Inverness, in January the sun shone down on us all for the whole day. Add to that, the estimated 12000 marches who took part, flags flying, whistles blowing and press teams from all around the globe, this march even made it onto the BBC news.

As usual our intrepid team of band assistants came from all over the country to make sure the band could play without worrying about any practical details.

But as you’d expect, the relaxed family friendly atmosphere meant there were not too many demands on them so they had time for a wee dance while the band warmed up.

 

Despite it being Burns day and a lot of our pipers having previous commitments to play at various events round the county we managed to put out a reasonable size band.  A special mention for JR and his wife who made the trip and then dashed off as he was booked to play in Edinburgh that night !  As usual our team came from all over, from the Borders to Glasgow, Oban to Falkirk and of course our “local” members who were delighted for a change not to be the ones doing the early start !

 

The only thing that confuses me about the day is the counter demonstration.

We’re all used to marching past a few unionists with flags – but does anybody now what the gnome costumes are all about ? They certainly made me smile

 

 

The beauty of a windy day is the flags fly and make a fabulous backdrop to the photos – so check out our gallery of pictures from the day at https://saoralbapd.scot/projects/freedom-march-inverness/ 

It was an honour, a joy and a privilege for us to lead this march – days like this are the very reason we were formed and the reason we exist …  to join the Yes family marching on the road to Independence

This was everything a March should be. The organising team really cant be praised and thanked enough. They thought of everything and brought the local community along with them. Local businesses offered discounts to Yessers, arranged entertainment for them and embraced the influx of visitors to the area. Rather than march and run, people were encouraged to enjoy our beautiful city and actually taste a wee bit of our history, our culture and our people. Imagine that being replicated all across Scotland.

If any local groups across Scotland are inspired to try and replicate this wonderful event in your own area and would like us to support you please get in touch – we cant promise to attend every event, but we’ll try our best.

Remembering Friends and Loved Ones

We are all very aware that the fight for Scottish Independence has been going on for a very long time.

Many loyal campaigners and supporters have very sadly not lived long enough to see our beautiful country regain her freedom. We know they march with us in spirit, we know most of us have somebody we carry with us in our hearts every day. When news that a band supporters mother had passed , the idea was born for the band to play a tune in her memory. One of our pipers Hugh Scott suggested that we could maybe extend the tribute to include more friends and loved ones who would be marching with us if they could. When the idea was floated on our facebook page we were overwhelmed by the interest – and quickly collected a list of over a hundred names of people who needed to be remembered.

Before we took part in the March in Glasgow we took some time out to play “Freedom Come all Ye” by the Stewart Memorial Fountain in Kelvingrove Park, whilst our lead piper Alasdair read out the list of names of your lost loved ones.

We hope our heartfelt tribute brought some kind of comfort to those of you grieving, and went some way to show how much we appreciate your support as we keep marching on the road to independence.

Given the apparent popularity of this tribute we will be doing it again some time in the future (perhaps not at every event, but we will do it).

If you would like any of your loved ones remembering during a future tribute, please keep an eye on our facebook page as that’s where we will ask for names.

It was a great honour for us to be able to do this and getting feedback on how much it meant to the families has been both moving and humbling.

 

You can see all the photos of the whole day (including the march) in our gallery at https://saoralbapd.scot/projects/glasgow-january-11th-2020/

A Big Year Ahead

Happy 2020 – bring on Indyref2020

Hope Santa was good to you all and you’ve started 2020 with renewed vigour to march with us on the road to independence.

Our online shop is now fully back up and running and the first orders of the year have been posted !

On Saturday we will join thousands (hopefully hundreds of thousands) at the Mega March in Glasgow. If the weather forecast is right , expect lots of black capes as like everybody else we try and keep warm and dry .. good job our trademark blue bonnets are waterproof !

We are currently collecting names of loved ones who didnt live to see our beautiful country regain her freedom. Our plan is to read out their names and play a tune in their memory before the march. We know they march with us in spirit.

We are delighted to confirm that we will also be putting out a band for the Inverness March on the 25th January. Bearing in mind its January, so most people are finding it tough to get to payday, its only 2 weeks after the Glasgow March,its the middle of winter and its way up in the Highlands, we will not be attending in the numbers you may be used to at the big city marches – not because we dont want to, but because of a diary clash with Burns Night …there’s a lot of Burns Suppers that had booked their pipers well in advance making it impossible for some of our members to get up to Inverness and back in time to pipe in their respective Haggis. But we are none the less thrilled to be supporting this grass roots march and fully support the local team making it happen. If you have no other plans, please consider supporting this event, make a weekend of it – Inverness is a fabulous city with loads to see and do, you could even add in a visit to Culloden Battlefield !

Time to get those boots back on and start Marching on the Road to Independence

 

Merry Christmas from SAPD

Our shop staff are now on holiday

Our last orders have been boxed up and posted, and now our shop volunteers are taking a break to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

The online shop will remain open, so you can still browse and place orders, but nothing will now be dispatched till after the holidays.

We’d like to thank you for your orders,for your support and for marching with us on the road to Independence.

The band are all taking a well deserved break,  and will be back with you in Glasgow on 11th January.2020

Merry Christmas from of us all.

Saor Alba

The Best Kept Secret

SNP St Andrews Night Awards Dinner

Double Tree by Hilton, Glasgow

The cat is finally out of the bag and we can all stop creeping about. The band were honoured to be invited to be the surprise guests at the SNP Independence  Magazine Awards dinner. A flash mob in a big ballroom, without anybody knowing we were there .

Our biggest disappointment was that we were limited to numbers and couldnt take the whole band with us, so we had to pick from those ready willing and able to commit to a friday afternoon in Glasgow. The places went to those who had attended most events over the year (marches and practices) and who could get time off work. Although we missed those we couldnt take we had a backing video running on the huge screens all around the venue with their faces smiling down on us. The edge was slightly taken off our excitement (but only slightly) by the news that our First Minister had had to change her plans and was in Sheffield for a Question Time Leaders special so wouldnt be watching the performance .

All making our own way to the venue we had from 2 – 4 to rehearse, work out which doors to use, where to stand etc The nerves were starting to show and I’m not sure the staff trying to set up the tables fully appreciated our musical input .

At 4pm we all made the dash to our hotel in Hamilton to get ready (not easy for those of us who dont know Glasgow, dont usually drive in cities and not used to friday teatime traffic)

After a very quick shower and change we were back in hotel reception within the hour, blue bonnets donned and aboard a bus back into town.

Its not the easiest thing to get a pipe band from a bus and through the entrance lobby of a very busy hotel unseen, but we did it and then hid in the green room till show time. Warming up was difficult – pipes are remarkably loud when you dont want anybody passing to hear them. As our time slot drew near our 2 drummers opening our set were smuggled through the kitchen to be able to appear unnoticed in the ballroom., whilst the rest of the band formed up in the lobby.

Goosebumps … when that band stuck up, the doors opened and they marched in playing “Blue Bonnets”  .. a very emotional moment for us all

A flawless performance despite the nerves .

All the guests at the dinner stopped what they were doing to sing along to Flower of Scotland  (I’m smiling just remembering it),and clap along to Killiecrankie.

The 10 minute slot passed in a heartbeat, and just like that it was over and the band were back out in the foyer smiling for the cameras.

With the “work” of the evening over, the band got the very rare chance to relax together, have dinner and and just enjoy each others company. Some of our younger members took the chance to get photos with the better known faces in the room (huge thanks to them for being so kind and generous with their time and smiling for our cameras) – a few even tried on the Blue Bonnets

After a fabulous time, like Cinderella around midnight it was time to board our bus for our hotel. The icing on the cake. As we were leaving, wandering through reception our First Minister arrived … much excitement and the perfect end to the night and another chance to get the treasured selfies.

The journey back to Hamilton was much rowdier than the outward trip … much laughing, singing and back slapping went on.

Nobody wanted the night to end, so the hotel bar became home for an hour or 3. Despite having been at a luxury dinner, pizzas were ordered, friendships were cemented and memories were made.

What an incredible way to round off our first full year Marching on the Road to Independence.

You can see the gallery of photos at https://saoralbapd.scot/projects/snp-st-andrews-night-awards-dinner/

The National Rally

George Square Glasgow

2nd November 2019

 

 

 

The band were delighted to be asked to open the National Rally where our First Minister was addressing the Yes family for the first time.

 

 

The short notice made it difficult to impossible for some of the band to attend , work, travel problems and other long standing arrangements stopped some players getting there, and needless to say they were gutted. However we did manage to get a dozen pipers, 5 drummers, 10 band assistants and a dog to the square in time.

 

The enormity of the occasion wasn’t lost on any of the band – who are not immune to cataloging their own personal Independence journies with a few selfies … JR caught in the act here

 

 

 

Although at face value things may have appeared to run like clockwork, behind the scenes plenty was going wrong !

The day started badly when the van carrying the bands drums broke down in Stirling (sadly it now needs a new engine). So lots of scrambling about was needed to rescue the drum corp who were having a tough enough day with an unusual bass-less line up – they are good but less than impressive without actual drums.

 

 

The pressure got too much for our only tenor drummer who had to be forceably removed from the pub !

 

 

 

 

 

Standing facing a huge bank of cameras was daunting enough for the band, but add in the huge expectant crowd and the nerves started to show. The only band member who cracked under the pressure was Sheldon, who disgraced himself despite being walked for hours in the morning.

Thanks to our long suffering band assistants the evidence was quickly removed and the band played on !

 

 

The band were delighted to help out a lovely gentlemen who just wanted a photo…. a very special photo. He had a Lion Rampant flag made in 1898 which it was an honour for the band to pose with.

Sadly in the excitement nobody got the gentleman’s name so if anybody knows him please let us know!

 

 

 

After all the speakers had left the band gave a wee impromptu recital in the middle of the square …. well some of them did. However they couldnt find the support team to get into the vehicle where the kit was being stored .

 

 

 

Some teamwork was required –  one drum between 2 !

 

 

 

It goes without saying that it was a fabulous day, and will live in our memories for a very long time. However some thank yous are very much required.

Firstly thanks to The National for giving us the opportunity to play at such an historic event.

Thanks to Pauline for jumping in her car and bringing the drums – it would have been a very different day without them !

Yes Ross Sutherland once again showed incredible generosity transporting 6 of the band from the far north on their Yes bus – we couldnt get to as many events without your help and support

The Yes Stones Cairn for their very generous donation

And of course the Yes family in the crowd who always make us feel so welcome and appreciated .

You can browse through the photo gallery of the event at https://saoralbapd.scot/projects/the-national-rally/

The Pipe band of the Scottish Independence Yes Movement

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