Kerr Cowan MBE

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Honorary Member of ‘Let it Blaw’

Club Piper 

1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990,
1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019,  2020

Became a member of ‘Let it Blaw’ 1975

First mentioned in Toast List/Programme 1979

Kerr is father of Club Member Graham Cowan and grandfather of Kerr Cowan Jnr.

In January 1979, Kerr Cowan was appointed Let it Blaw’s Club Piper and he remains in post to this day, some 40 years later. A rather modest man, Kerr would play down the part he plays in our annual Suppers but, without him, something would surely be missing.

Apart from piping the haggis in at the beginning of our suppers Kerr, in keeping with tradition at Burns Suppers all over the country, pipes a lament following the ‘Immortal Memory’, and pipes a selection of tunes during the course of the evening. As if that’s not enough, following breaks during proceedings, everyone is under strict instructions to rush back to their seats at the sound of Kerr and his pipes.

Kerr composed “Lament for the Bard” in memory of Willie Shanks, our Club Bard for many years. He played it for the first time when Willie’s memorial stone was unveiled in Balerno. Kerr was also influenced in writing the tune by the feeling he had that the usual laments played at the close of the Immortal Memory, had no direct link to Burns – tunes like “Flowers o’ the Forrest”, “Sleep Dearie Sleep” etc; Beautiful tunes, but no direct connection to the Bard, and so the seed was planted for “Lament for the Bard.”

Kerr has given permission for the music to be included on our website for the use of the future pipers of ‘Let it Blaw.’

Kerr also composed the 6/8 March “The Hundredth Blaw” which he played at Let it Blaw’s 100th supper in 2003. Kerr has also given permission that the music for “The Hundredth Blaw” to be included on our website.

Kerr Cowan held the post of Honorary Pipe Major of the “Royal Scottish Piper’s Society” for two years, and was awarded the MBE late in 1998 for his services as a Trustee of Harmeny School in Balerno. However, and we quote Kerr :

“I am far more proud of the fact that a tune named after me, “Kerr Cowan MBE”, is included in the Scots Guards book of pipe tunes – Volume 3. To say that I’m chuffed about that is an understatement.”

For his long and ongoing service to Let it Blaw, the least we can do is include ‘his’ tune on the Club website.