Kerr Cowan MBE

by untangledwebl
Honorary Member of ‘Let it Blaw’

Honorary Vice President


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,  2021
Replied to the Toast  “New Members”  2022

Kerr became a member of ‘Let it Blaw’ 1975 and was first mentioned in Toast List/Programme in 1977.

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

In 1977, while Alan Shiels was still Cub Piper, Kerr played the pipes at the Club’s annual “Nicht wi’ the Lasses,” a duty he continued each year through to 1986.

In January 1979, Alan stepped down from his duties as Club Piper and Kerr was appointed to succeed him. Kerr thereafter served as Club Piper for 42 years. A rather modest man, Kerr would play down his enormous contribution to our Club.

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.