As many of you will know, Terry Tully retired as Pipe Major of SLOT at the weekend. He has been the driving force behind the band’s sucess and to mark his retiral we have below some extracts from Terry’s chapter in the book. We will vary these words over the next week or so, and add some audio from the original interview as well.
“There are people in our band from the North who will do their day’s work, get into their car and travel for two and a half hours, do a two and a half hour band practice, then travel home for another two and a half hours. It’s a huge commitment. I think that the reason they do it is partly because they’ve been involved in the band for quite a while, ten years or so for many of them, and it’s partly because of the fact that they realise that the band has huge potential . It has the potential to win major competitions and to win another World Championship. I suppose it’s easier for them to be getting into their car and driving to Dublin than hopping on a plane and travelling to Scotland.”
It’s not only a time commitment for the pipers and drummers travelling to Dublin. “Everybody in the band funds their own trip, even the pipers in Dublin and the North. This year it’s five trips for the major championships, and we each pay for our own flights, accommodation, food and drink. We do this four or five times a year at our own expense. People often ask me where we are going on holiday. My answer is that I’m going to Scotland five times. How can I afford anything else?”
The practice, and the trips to Scotland, are certainly paying off and SLOT, as the band is almost universally known, is hitting some real high spots at the moment. “The highlight would have to be winning the World’s. Before that it would be winning the All-Ireland Championships in Grade 1. To date we’ve won it three times since 2007. Up to that we’ve come close by maybe winning the medley and losing it on the MSR. I didn’t want to have to retire as pipe major without having won our own national championships in Grade 1. After that it would have been winning our first major, the Scottish championship in 2008 in Dumbarton.”