Duns piper performed at Commonwealth Games

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony. Firework finale.
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony. Firework finale.

One of the most striking images of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games closing ceremony was the lone pipe on the roof of Hampden Stadium - Pipe Major Steven Small, from Duns.

Not that it was anything new for Steven - he was the lone piper at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in 1986.

It certainly stirred the emotions for many and there were many comments left on the Glasgow 2014 Facebook page soon afterwards: Catherine Slater: “Well done Major Steven Small! Awesome gig”; Linda Campbell: “Pipes and drums, Scotland’s best, not forgetting the lone piper, absolutely brilliant”; Fiona Gillan: “Caledonia had me then....Auld lang syne and the lone pipe....wiped a proud Scottish tear from my eye.”

As well as standing on the roof of Hampden Stadium playing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, Steven also played a prominent role throughout the Games.

For every one of the 261 medal ceremonies played during the Glasgow 2014 Games it was Steven’s bagpipes that could be heard playing the specially commissioned Commonwealth Games anthem ‘Gaisgeachd’ (Gaelic for courage, championship and heroism). The piece, composed by Greg Bowman, was recorded by the Scottish Chamber Orchestran and Pipe Major Small in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

“It’s very exciting to be part of another Commonwealth Games particularly as bagpipes are at the heart of this piece of music,” said Pipe Major Small. “My regiment, The Black Watch, was in Edinburgh during the Commonwealth Games in 1986 and I was selected to play at the opening ceremony so it is great to be involved again in a piece of music which will be played more than 200 times and heard by hundreds of millions of people.”

As director of Army bagpipes music, Steven is used to the big occasions: playing in Duns Pipe Band (at the start of his career): playing at the handover of Hong Kong in 1997; leading the massed pipes and drums for the Queen Mother’s funeral procession; and on duty at the Edinburgh Tattoo.