Practical Pipers Society
McLean Ladies Pipe Band
Tartan: McLean of Duart
SADNESS STRIKES ALL THOSE IN OR CONNECTED TO THE BAND
Pipe Major Reta P. Stewart
1917 - 2010
It is with great sadness that we bring the news of the passing of a strong personality
in the pipe band world, especially in the Dundee, Perth & Angus Branch of the RSPBA.
Reta Stewart (nee McBeth) was a young and successful solo piper around the games in her younger years
just when the Mary McLean Dancers were in the throws of forming a new ladies pipe band in Dundee.
After two approaches, the band were very lucky to obtain the help and services of this dedicated
piper who was to continue teaching and coaching right up to her eventual passing.
A real enthusiast who gave every help and encouragement freely and in abundance throughout her life.
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Attention all news hounds!
Following an e-mail from Anne Pearson, I am searching for a former member of the McLean Ladies Pipe Band
I've just discovered your web-site which has triggered some wonderful memories of playing the bass drum with the McLean Ladies. A friend who used to dance with the band’s dancers is anxious to get in touch with the above Mary Cruickshanks and I would like to as well. Mary played the pipes for many years with the band. Do you know anyone who knows where she is that you could put me in touch with? Jimmy Mills from McKenzie Caledonian was a good friend of Mary and her family and I well remember his expertise in competitions and massed bands.
Hope you can up with something.
Congratulations on this site.
In 1947 a Mr Gardner had two daughters (one call “Vina”) who were highland dancers and about this time another highland dancer named Mary McLean was hitting the headlines with her success on the boards.
This small group formed a group called “The Mary McLean Dancers” in Dundee. Through time, some of the girls outgrew the group and age restrictions and continued their interest by becoming Pipers and Drummers known as The Mary McLean Pipe Band.
It was clear that the abilities of the girls would be greatly enhanced by the correct type of tuition and it was decided to invite Mrs Rita Stewart to become their tutor and Pipe Major. This was a very ambitious move as they had invited one of the best Ladies Pipers in the country, whose main platform was in the solo circuit. It was a revolutionary move, when you consider the barriers put up against women at that time.
This was taken a step further by inviting David Miller (City of Dundee Prize Pipe Band) to teach the drummers.
Pipe Major Edward Rennie was involved in the Highland-dancing scene and also had a hand in the formation of the Band.
Today (2004), the band is still in existence in name only, with Rita Stewart still the Pipe Major running classes on a smaller scale.