Not even a table festooned with wonderful prizes could attract a major turnout but as they say, size is not everything, and what a wee cracker of a competition wee had.
As the Hon President took entries, made the draw and added the final touches to the evening Lachie Dick played a few introductory tunes to warm up the audience. Lachie’s mum was making her first appearance at the Eagles and without putting any undue pressure on her son she immediately declared a fondness for Hendricks gin-one of the prizes.
Joshua Townsley, who has grown about 6 inches since his last visit to the Eagles, also gave us a few tunes including a nicely phrased ground and doubling of MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart.
As the first competitor got himself ready Colin announced the only rule of the competition. ‘Tune for longer than you play and lose 10 points.’
The judge for the evening, the Hon P/M, ensconced himself in a comfy seat ensuring that he was well catered for in the Guinness department.
First up was Lachie Dick who played Lament for Red Iain (Tuireadh Iain Ruadh) and Donald McKillop- This great Jig was composed by Pipe Major Alexander “Sandy” Hain. McKillop was a piper in the Perth British Legion Pipe band who apparently was a jocular fellow and well liked. Hain composed the tune in his honour.
So we were off to a great start as Lachie’s Air was full of music and the Jig had a cracking tempo. All played on a very nice pipe. He did not score all that well on the dress and deportment front, wearing loud brown brogues that could have been used in one of the Winter Olympic events-none the less he did his mum proud.
Next for shaving was Iain Dewar who is trying to rival the Hon P/M on the dapper stakes! As coincidence would have it he also played Lament for Red Iain but gave us an entirely different interpretation. He followed this with a sprightly Troy’s Wedding. Great drones.
Joshua Townsley was next up and although not dressed in Highland attire he did try and distract the judge with a somewhat provocative T –shirt. JT played a ‘nameless’ Gaelic Air-OK he couldn’t remember the name but then again once he had played we all struggled to find the title. This was followed by an excellent Thief of Lochaber (Meurlach Loch Abair). You can find this tune in Donald McLeod’s book 3 and the great man himself wrote the 3rd and 4th parts to this traditional tune. JT prides himself in playing a well-tuned and balanced pipe and tonight was no exception.
The pre pie competitor was Jim Cooper, a stalwart of the Glencorse Pipe Band, gave us the air, Walking on Air and two-2 parted jigs, Wee Buns, composed by Richard Parkes and The Pony Gallop (M Forsyth). Jim is a regular at the Eagles but does not often give us a tune so it was a real treat to hear him play.
The pies were well received and gave everyone time to talk about the ‘walk of shame’ awards. There was heated debate about the two main contenders, Hightower (Andrew Gray) for being at the Eagles without pipe and thus not talking part and our Head of Communications, Douglas Gardiner, who apparently was at home entertaining his wife’s (Lucy Vanreenan) relatives. The ‘bowed and cowed’ award went to Douglas while Andrew picked up the ‘glass half empty’ trophy.
Jenny Hazzard was our post pie competitor and looking like a new pin, resplendent in a newish kilt-the tartan escapes me- she would have been the front-runner for the D and D prize if there had been one. Her pipe and playing was a match and she trotted out an immaculate Samantha’s Lullaby, composed by Arthur Gillies followed by Angus John MacNeil of Barra, a 9/8 slip jig composed by A J MacNeil. Hopefully this was a case of a father composing a tune for his son and not the man himself writing a tune for himself. If you know let me know.
Up next was Craig Martin who decided to be brave and bold giving us the Air, Long Shall I Return and 8 parts of the Cameronian Rant. While his drones were somewhat bold (a discussion post event) he played a lovely Air and a cracked out the ‘Rant’ managing to hit all 4 consecutive birls in the last part.
The final competitor was the recently married Tom Peterkin. This was actually Tom’s second competition since getting married 4 weeks ago. A clear marker of intent to the new Mrs. Peterkin. Well-done Tom. Tell Douglas how it’s done. Due to Tom’s lovely jovial demeanor you can easily forget that he is a journalist, indeed a Political Editor, and as such conversant with scurrilous tactics and strategies that may achieved the desired result.
On his usual quiet sweet pipe Tom played Morag of Dunvegan followed by the Iain C Cameron tune Islay Charms.
And that was that. The audience was well sated and the top awards went to
Lachie Dick (mum got her Gin)
Dates for the diary-
Saturday 15th March-Duncan Johnstone Memorial Piping Competition – separate B & C grade streams – Piobaireachd and Light Music.
Sunday 16th March-1st Semi final of the knock out competition-Scot’s Guards Club 16.00hrs Margaret Dunn v George Seewart
See you all in two weeks time.