The Pipes and Drums of British Caledonian Airways (Part 3)
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Our next adventure was to attend the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, we stayed in Mexico City for a day then we were transported by coach to a small town called Carretero. It literally only had one street with a couple of small hotels and we stayed in one of them; we arrived in the early afternoon and it looked like they were having a siesta.
Germany was playing Scotland at a beautiful football stadium on the outskirts of Carretero and we were due to play the Scottish team on to the pitch.
Anyways, we checked into our rooms and the Pipe Major decided that we would get dressed up and parade up and down the one and only street. So we assembled outside of our hotel and on my command we marched forward; the band playing. Within seconds windows were being flung open and the travelling Tartan Army had come to life and Scottish flags appeared everywhere and the Scottish supporters rushed out and mobbed us.
As we continued our march I noticed that there was a bandstand at the end of the street so we headed towards that and once in the bandstand we played for a further hour or so to the applause of the Scots, the Germans and the Mexicans too.
The next day we arrived at the stadium only to be told that the powers-that-be would not allow us to play the Scottish team onto the pitch. So we waited outside of the ground and played the Scottish Team on their coach into the stadium. We were then allowed to stay and watch the game, several Mexican waves later, Scotland sadly lost 2-1.
That evening I think all of the Scottish and German supporters came to our hotel and a lot of beer flowed, but not one argument or fight; both groups of supporters were genuine fans. We drove back to Mexico City and had one more night before flying back to the UK after another memorable engagement.
Though playing big stadia was not new to the Pipes and Drums..........and they dont get much bigger than this one.
Part 4 - The Final instalment of The Pipes and Drums of British Caledonian
Another video and a huge photo gallery of The Pipes and Drums around the world
The Pipes and Drums became a top league Grade 1 Band after winning the 1977 World Championship (Grade 2) under the guidance of Pipe Major Bob Richardson. They would remain a Grade 1 Pipes & Drum Band for the remainder of their time with BCal. They would also win the British Championship in 1984 too.
But back to 1986 and the Band was sent to Atlanta to promote the airline and they also attended the Stone Mountain Highland Games. As mentioned we were by now a Grade 1 World Champion Band and thus were in great demand.
The Astrodome Scoreboard
The Derrick Dolls (Cheerleaders for the Houston Oilers)
Time to watch
The Pipes and Drums lead the parade at the Houston Astrodome
This game was given Coast to Coast TV Coverage in the USA - advertising BCal could not afford at the time
Stone Mountain - the Hosties are ?
After the Stone Mountain Games parade
The 1987 visit to The Stone Mountain Games was a particularly memorable one for me as well as for other members of the Band.
We were staying at the Peach Tree Plaza Hotel, which was a very up market hotel, we had been playing out somewhere and on our return we decided to sit in the bar and talk about the dayís events over a cold beer. Amongst the band members was an excellent drummer whose name was Jimmy Collins.
While we were sitting there a group of men came in and we instantly recognised them as the Rock band Genesis. They saw us all sat there in our uniforms and come over to join us for drinks and a chat; after about an hour a couple of us decided to change so headed off to the rooms and Jimmy Collins was one of them.
He went to his room, opened the door to be met with an almighty scream from a naked woman on the bed. A red faced Jimmy ran from the room while the woman tried to make herself presentable. After a lot of discussion it turned out that the wives of the Genesis members had arrived via a different hotel entrance and Mrs Phil Collins had asked for Mr Collinsís room key........and was given Jimmy Collins room key in error. It ended with a lot of laughter and no hard feelings infact Phil was laughing too.
Another great experience that helped make the Band what it was, a close knit group.
This video was recorded in October 1986 at The Stone Mountain Highland Games Tattoo.
It features Alex Duthart and the Drum Corps of the British Caledonian Airways Pipe Band playing the Max Rayne Salute.
Sadly, Alex passed away shortly after in New York at the Macey's Day Thanksgiving Parade.
Special thanks to Drew Fowlie of the Loch Norman Pipe Band for saving this recording.
Drum Major Mike Sterling is leading the Salute.
Following the sad news that Pipe Sgt Dave Stark passed away in late September 2015, we have a special photo of Dave (on the right) and Pipe Major Bob Richardson enjoying Burns Night back in January 1976.