• Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall
  • Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall
  • Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall
  • Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall
  • Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall
  • Kernow Pipes & Drums, Premier Pipe & Drum marching band in Cornwall

Allan Downie

Allan Downie, piperAs a boy in Glasgow, I loved pipe bands and at the earliest opportunity learned to play the pipes with the local Boys Brigade band. I continued playing at university and then went to work in Rochester in New York state, where I joined the City of Rochester Pipe Band. This opened doors to aspects of life in America that I would otherwise not have seen. 

I then moved to Canberra Australia for several years, playing the pipes sporadically. A special memory I have in Australia was playing the pipes high up on the roof of a friend’s house overlooking Sydney harbour on the night of the Australian bicentenary in 1988. A few months later I left Australia to live in England and rather let my piping lapse, playing solo at new year’s and Burns’ night celebrations. 

A problem with playing alone is that I have acquired a personal style rather than the rigour required for a pipe band. I recently (2014) met up with Alex McColl, who encouraged me to join the Kernow Pipes and Drums and this friendly group is helping me get my idiosyncratic and rather rusty piping technique up to standard.