Tonight’s Eagles was the last of 2012 and a good crowd turned out to send the year off, looking to squeeze a few tunes in before the true onset of Silly Season. Our Hon P/M was back on duty, and despite his illustrious career being that of an (and I quote) “International Detective fighting for truth and justice, without fear, favour, malice or ill will”, he confessed to losing his own battle with a willful instrument. This will be an all-too-familiar tale to many of us, especially at this time of year. I am trying to stick with the Little And Often approach to keeping the pipes going. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Having braved the M8 in sub-zero temperatures, Hayley McInnes was first with her pipes out of the box tonight. Hayley is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now teaching piping with Inverclyde Council. Hayley is also a member of the new Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band under P/M Ryan Canning and her set included a number of tunes drawn from both of these aspects of her piping career. Starting with airs including Drambuie, The Lovers’ Lament and Stornoway Bay, she continued with a superb MSR selection which included some seldom-heard tunes. The march was Jimmy Young, the strathspey was Glentruim, and the reel was Fiona MacLeod. This made for refreshing and very interesting listening.
Kiwi Ex-Pat Matt Fraser was next up playing his grandfather’s set of fine Robertsons dating from 1939. In true Robertson style they are sounding warm and rich, and Matt treated us to
an MSR of The Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band, Lady McKenzie of Gairloch and The Sheepwife. Matt is playing with Inveraray and District Pipe Band and for the last 18 months has worked very hard on establishing the extensive repertoire the band have in preparation for their Pre-Worlds Concert in 2013 entitled Ascension. He has not neglected any aspect of his playing, taking regular lessons with Dr. Angus Macdonald, and gave a commanding performance of the Ground and First Variation of The Prince’s Salute.
We then had a break to catch up while Hon P/M performed minor surgery on a set of pipes belonging to a new friend Patrick, a Hungarian student of Engineering, who hopes to be in
Edinburgh for a number of years as his studies progress.
Donald MacLeod was our Pre-Pie Piper, and never fails to stun Eaglers with a resonant bagpipe and exceptional repertoire. Tonight was Night of the Classics for Donald with John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage, Delvinside and Ca’ the Ewes being aired.
Roddy Weir presented a lovely set of marches on a bold pipe before going into some standard favourites. This was Roddy’s second visit to the Eagles for a tune and he was a most welcome addition to the evening. Robert Gray was up next breaking in a new bag. He was in fine form despite recovering from recent festive activities that put paid to our communications guru Douglas Gardiner-allegedly.
The piobaireachd tonight was presented by yours truly. I had spent just enough time upstairs huddling close to the single heater to go some way to ensuring that the pipes didn’t go wildly out of tune and managed to get all the way through Lament for the Viscount of Dundee. This is another of my Top of the Pops tunes with a magic High G. Great for a cold winter’s night.
Editorial note= Tracey gave a very musical performance on a steady instrument where the resonant drones complemented the said High G.
T stood up to the plate at short notice and is to be congratulated for trotting out such a polished tune at this time of year.
Little And Often Approach Progress Report: Thwarted by an incident while hillwalking which involved stepping into a snow-covered hole, falling and catching thumb on a rock. Result: bruising, swelling and restricted movement around thumb. It’s not the High A thumb though, so should be fine. .
The next round of the Scots Guards Club Knock Out is to be held this Sunday 16 December, and features Niall Stewart and Jonathan Graham. 4pm at the SGC.
Our next meeting will be on 8 January 2013, and from this date onwards, our start time will be 8pm.
Wishing you all a very safe and happy festive season, from all of the Eagle Pipers’ Committee.