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Protocol for Piping a Official Dinner: A Ceremonial Information for Highland Bagpipers

It is believed that the tailor made of eating in began in the monasteries, was adopted by the early universities, and afterwards spread to armed service units when the officer’s mess was proven. British officers of the 19th century had been drawn from the aristocracy, and while they deemed themselves gentlemen, they had been not necessarily adult men of signifies third and fourth sons experienced small possibility of inheriting title and lands below primogeniture. Whilst the pooling of sources may have been out of financial necessity, the regimental officer’s mess managed the social stratification of English culture and ensured that the traditions of gentlemanly perform were being managed and inculcated to junior officers. The principal things are a rigidly official setting, espirit de corps and the camaraderie of peers, a good meal, classic toasts to the head of condition and military services expert services, martial music and the attendance of honored visitors or speakers. Currently, though the intent of a dinner may possibly be to notice an appointment, promotion, retirement, or some auspicious situation, a central concept of this kind of events is a ceremonial focus on the historical past of the host group.

Although the tradition of having a piper at large desk could have it is origins in the clan procedure in Scotland & Eire, the official dinners and eating in ceremonies as we know them right now are instantly attributable to the traditions of the officers mess in the British Army and Royal Navy. Initially fife & drums or trumpeters were being employed to audio the calls as Highland regiments were arranged, pipers ended up used not only for this goal, but to rejoice good battles and victories in the historical past of the regiment and to memorialize their dead, fairly in retaining with the Celtic bardic tradition. It must be borne in brain that originally Army pipers were outfitted and paid not by the Exchequer but solely by the officer’s mess devoid of their patronage, present day Highland regiments would not have at any time experienced pipers, and with out the Army to maintain and develop upon this custom the great Highland bagpipe would be about as familiar to most folks now as the zampogna.

When a piper is asked for to pipe the phone calls and the new music at a formal evening meal, you may possibly be engaged to complete during supper to offer a constrained general performance these as pipe in the head table, pipe the lament and/or pipe in the port or to just pipe in the head table and depart. Whilst there are numerous different traditions related with formal eating, the pursuing are some of the customs associated with piping a formal dinner. You may well be asked for to conduct some, all, or some variant of any of them on celebration.


This sort of affairs are invariably official, demanding black tie, sometimes white tie, or whole parade regalia. Miniature decorations and medals are worn. If flying a pipe banner, be certain that the drone cords and/or ribbons are to the left of the banner i.e., not more than the regimental crest. If there is extra than a person piper, the banner is typically flown by the rating piper current, who will guide the detachment, fashioned up in purchase of rank or seniority.


The seating arrangement at the head table is normally centered on rank, seniority and standing. The host sits in the center, the future senior individual (or guest of honor) to his/her appropriate, the next senior man or woman to his/her left and so on, until finally all are seated. The senior-ranking member of the mess is the head (or “President”) of the mess dinner and sits in the centre. The President of the Mess might appoint a second (“Mr. Vice”), generally the junior officer of the mess, who will be in charge of preparing, and who usually occupies the seat farthest from the host, sometimes on the significantly suitable, from time to time at a further table. Officers get priority above civilians. If a visitor speaker has no rank or standing, he/she is positioned as close to the centre (correct of the host) as probable with out offending rank precedence. Chaplains are generally integrated at the head desk, ordinarily at the much still left of the President.

Warning Calls

15 minute and 5 minute warning phone calls are normally sounded to alert the attendees that evening meal is about to be served, and could be furnished by a piper. When piping warning phone calls a shorter up-tempo tune is necessary but no certain title may well be prescribed. In some regiments it would be the Officers Get in touch with (e.g., “All the Blue Bonnets Are O’er The Border”). A naval custom is to ring “six bells” (19:00) on a ship’s bell for the 15-minute warning (if eating at 7:15 PM, of training course). Dinner might be signaled by a transient pipe tune (“Brose and Butter” is a common 1), followed by the host or grasp of ceremonies announcing, “Evening meal is served!”


The guests (besides the head table) will progress into the dining space and continue to be standing guiding their chairs the nearer to top desk, the greater the rank or seniority. You may be asked for to pipe in the visitors. The head table sorts up in purchase of seating, led by the host and the principal guest. When cued, guide the persons of the head desk into the dining space taking part in an suitable tune “Roast Beef of Aged England”, “A Man’s A Person for all That”, “Prince of Denmark’s March”, or the regimental march. If room permits, parade counter clockwise about the space. This is specially vital when traveling a drone banner. The regimental crest on the obverse of the banner is usually shown to start with. When everybody is in location, carry on to march, and complete taking part in at the halt near the eating-home entrance. At a sign from the host, halt actively playing and continue to be at consideration until eventually grace has been reported. If you are not to supply the audio all through dinner, march from the area immediately after grace is reported.

Putting up the Colours

An honor guard may perhaps post and retire the colours as a piper you may well be requested to pipe them in and out. As the American and Canadian countrywide anthems are not able to be correctly played on the pipes, other acceptable patriotic tunes ought to be chosen. If you march in with the coloration guard, make certain that you are perfectly rehearsed in their drill initially they march in shut buy with wheeling movements to transform way. Of system, if not actively playing stand at consideration with pipes down for the National Anthem(s). If you are flying a drone banner, enjoy the shade guard and drop your bass drone from horizontal when they dip the colors.

The Lament

In some army and veterans companies it is customary to don’t forget comrades killed in motion, from time to time with an empty place setting, from time to time with a small desk ahead of the head desk. You may possibly be asked for to play a lament in their memory. “Bouquets of the Forest” is standard, but other laments may work similarly as perfectly if the host has expressed no desire.

Piping in the Beef

In some traditions, the major program (usually beef) is ceremoniously piped in to the head desk (or “Mr. Vice”), which will sample it and formally announce it fit for use. “Roast Beef of Aged England” or “A Man’s a Man For All That” could be employed if not played earlier to pipe in the head table. You might pipe the beef out as very well.

Piping in the Haggis

If haggis is served (this kind of as a Burn’s Meal), pipe the haggis to the head desk to “A Man’s a Gentleman For All That”. Stand at awareness for the recital of Burn’s “Deal with to a Haggis”, and take part in the toast to his “immortal memory”. Pipe the haggis out to “Neil Gow’s Farewell to Whisky”.

Most important Class Audio

Wait around right until all at the head table has been served before beginning to engage in acceptable picks intermittently throughout the most important class. A piobaireachd is usually viewed as customary. If parading all around the place, it is customary to start “widdershins” counterclockwise. If traveling a pipe banner, it could be acceptable to countermarch as perfectly, in buy to screen the unit crest on the obverse facet. Prior to the port wine remaining served, the host/delegate will sign you to end playing.

Piping in the Port

An old custom made is the piping in of the port wine for the Faithful Toast. Just after dessert and espresso are served, tables are cleared other than for the table decorations and wine eyeglasses. No special audio is demanded, but it ought to be limited and proper. On cue, guide the wine stewards into the eating space, positioning yourself at a predetermined location, and continue to engage in until eventually the wine is about to be sampled and declared potable by the host. At times the piper will perform as the port is handed down the tables as the company demand their eyeglasses. Stay at attention right until the Loyal Toast is drunk and then march from the room, until expected to continue to be for the Toast to the Corps.

Loyal Toast

If a Commonwealth meal (or if Uk friends are current), you might be asked for to enjoy “God Help save the Queen” right before the Faithful Toast. The person proposing the toast will request everyone to stand and join him in a toast to the Queen. The member will then increase his/her wineglass shoulder significant and say: “The Queen”. The assembly will respond: “The Queen”.

If an American meal, the host may propose a toast to the Commander-in-Main. Mr. Vice seconds this by increasing and addressing the corporation, saying, “Gentlemen, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States”. Just about every member and visitor then stands, repeats in unison the toast (e.g., “The Commander-in-Chief of the United States”), sips the drink, and remains standing. The band then performs the Countrywide Anthem. If piping, enjoy “America the Lovely” or “God Bless The usa”. At the conclusion of the music, users and guests are once more seated.

Toast to the Corps

You may well be asked for to perform the regimental march prior to a Toast to the Corps. Sadly, the only American regimental marches that “suit” very well on the pipes are the “Maritime Corps Hymn” and “Semper Paratus”.

Shelling out the Piper

At the summary of your performance, the host may well present you (or the lead piper) a quaich made up of a dram (about 3.5 ml) of whisky. Stand to the remaining of the host. Getting the quaich in both equally fingers, hold it shoulder superior and encounter the head table. It is standard for the piper to toast the head table (Sláinte! “to your wellness” in Gaelic phonetically Slanjer or Slanja), switch to the firm and give a official toast. Following the toast, you might be envisioned to drink the whisky in just one draught, toast the organization (Sláinte!), and flip the cup more than and kiss the bottom. Adhering to the ceremony, just take your go away of the head table and march from the space. Unless of course you’re Gaelic is pretty excellent, you might be almost certainly ideal off giving your formal toast in English.

The regular Pipe Major’s toast of the Liverpool Scottish may possibly be adapted to a variety of gatherings


Slainte mhor, Slainte Banrighinn

Slainte agus buaidh gu brath

le Gillean Forbasach.


Slanjervaw, slanjer banreen

Slanjer aggus booey goo bra

la gillian forbusach


Good health, wellbeing to the Queen

Health and accomplishment for at any time

to the Forbes lads


At the summary of the meal, you may be requested to perform the Nationwide Anthem. As neither “The Star Spangled Banner” nor “Oh Canada” can be played effectively on the limited tonal vary of the pipes, engage in “The united states the Gorgeous” or “Maple Leaf Permanently” alternatively. Of course, if not taking part in stand at attention with pipes down for the National Anthem(s). If you happen to be traveling a drone banner, observe the color guard and fall your bass drone from horizontal when they dip the shades.

Responsibility Tunes of the 48th Highlanders of Canada

Officers Mess Contact (15 minutes)

“Bannock & Barley Meal”

Food Phone (5 minutes)

“Caller Herrin'”

Pipe in Attendees

“Lt. Col. Robertson”

Pipe in Head Table

“Highland Laddie”


“Bouquets of the Forest”

To start with Established (Primary System)

Finishes with “Highland Laddie”

2nd Established (Dessert)

Finishes with “Lt. Col. Robertson”

Pipe Major’s Toast:


A Mhàidseir na pìoba, òlamaid deoch-slàinte!

(Pipe Key, let us drink a toast)

Pipe Major’s reply:

A h-uile latha a chì ‘s nach fhaic, an dà fhicheadamh ‘s a h-ochd gu bràth! Slàinte don Bhànrigh! Slàinte Mhòr! Slàinte!

(Every single day that I see you, or that I do not see you, the 48th for good! Wellness to the Queen! Terrific excellent well being! Well being!)

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