353 to be precise. Thanks to everyone for their continued support. Come along and join us when you can. Bring the pipe if you fancy a tune. Those who don’t well there’s always a pie, pint and good craic.
With our meeting falling the day after (apparently) the most depressing day of the year it was interesting to see how our members had survived.
Part time piping tutor, Robbie Ross, continued the strong form on his McCallums with Jeannie Carruthers, P/M Hector MacLean and Arnish Light, a tune made popular by the Tannahill Weavers, before finishing with the catchy reels Kenmore Ladies and Captain Forbes.
It was a delight to have Jim Cooper follow with his grand Robertson drones. Jim is a very regular attender but usually hides his piping talents in the bottom of his pint glass. Jim played the Robert Mathieson slow air, Farewell to Camraw, written many years ago when Shotts moved from Warmac to Shepherd chanters. Jim’s other tunes included the Glasgow Week in Hamburg and The Silver Fox written by, and named after, P/M Ian Lowther of the Scots Guards.
Tam Peterkin was next to play and looked as though rather than a couple of Prozac, he had survived yesterday with a tube of UHU and an old plastic bag. His pipes were on fine form though and he gave us the ground of Melbank’s Salute and the lovely 9/8, Heather Grant of Strathyre, written by his boyhood tutor, P/M Jimmy MacGregor.
Just before pie break, Donald MacLeod appeared, as if by magic, like a kilted and slightly merry Mr Benn*. Post pies he gave us a truly wonderful rendition of the piobaireachd, The Old Woman’s Lullaby.
Marie Ross followed with the piobaireachd Clan Campbell’s Gathering. Marie is from Nantes in France and plays a set of Breton made Highland pipes in the style of Robertson. Appropriately, she finished her selection with a set of Breton tunes, Melodie du Pays de Retz and Rond de Landeda.
Last but not least, Lachie Dick closed the evening on his “new” pipes with some excellent music including Donella Beaton. Lachie is a medical student and it is a sobering thought that one day he could prescribe a variety of drugs to patients and himself alike. Given the twisted smile permanently affixed to his face, this is akin to allowing a pyromaniac to work in a Swan Vesta factory.
As advertised, our next meeting on 5th February will be Michael Grey’s book launch with Bob Worrall also coming along for a tune and a pie.
The Society is pleased to announce on Tuesday 5th February we will be hosting the official launch of Michael Grey’s new book, “Damned Suites and Other Music”.
The evening will follow the usual format although there will be a competition for pipers playing one of Michael’s tunes from any of his six books during their selection. £100 for 1st prize, £50 for 2nd, and £25 for 3rd.
Michael will be there to talk about his book, sign copies, hand out free T shirts and of course play a few tunes.
It promises to be a hugely entertaining evening.
At a time of year when most pipers keep their instrument tucked away under their bed, we expected a small turnout of players tonight. However, it would appear that sadly many Eagle members sought the comfort of their bagpipes this Christmas to provide respite from nagging in-laws and embarrassing uncles. In all we had eight performers including two debuts.
The Hon P/M started the year in fine form opening with the little heard Loch Monar before moving into some Gaelic airs. He then played a few 9/8 marches. That was 2013 on the move and the P/M was clearly in good fettle-notwithstanding lingering worries over signs of incipient Tourette’s syndrome.
Next up was well known vegetarian, Dr Peter McCalister. After a festive diet of Linda McCartney “sausages” and Quorn turkey, it was no wonder Peter had self-diagnosed himself with man flu. His playing was unaffected thankfully and he included the ground and first variation of the piobaireachd, A Welcome for Patrick Struan by Captain John A. MacLellan MBE – a beautiful tune which deserves to be heard more often.
Marie Ross made her very welcome debut next. She was recently persuaded to marry EPS member, Robert. This would appear to have been a good decision, at least for her piping. Now under the tutelage of Tom Speirs she played a very musical MSR and finished with A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick. Marie captured the strong pulsing of this tune perfectly and brought to mind the drum beats in the version recorded by the 78th Fraser Highlanders in 1998.
The Pre-Pie-Piper was special guest, Dr Jack Taylor, President of the Piobaireachd Society, making his first visit to Eagles. Jack had ventured all the way from Aboyne, Royal Deeside, en route to Winter Storm, Kansas City. Jack picked up the Hon P/M’s pipes and despite the ‘retro’ blow stick produced a lovely tone. After a couple of sets Jack played most of the classic piobaireachd, I got a Kiss of the King’s Hand with beautiful phrasing and expression. We were left wanting more but the pies awaited kissing too.
Post-Pie-Piper was the aforementioned romantic, Robert Ross. This was (probably) the second ever husband and wife combo to play at Eagles (answers by email for the first). Robert treated us to a few entertaining sets finishing with his own setting of the Highland Wedding in jig time.
This was a most interesting interpretation and seemed to have evolved a little since its first outing here last year.
Christmas wasn’t all a struggle for our next piper, Lachie Dick, as Santa had left him with a new quieter instrument in his stocking. We enjoyed some big tunes though including Colin Thomson and the Little Cascade.
Rounding off a busy night, the final two soloists were EPS regulars Andy Gray and Donald MacLeod who both gave us performances to their usual high standards on bagpipes which have clearly not been gathering any dust. This is particularly impressive given Donald’s new parental responsibilities.
We very much look forward to the rest of 2013. It promises to be a good one!
Starts this Tuesday 8th, ‘Sciors Gaurdsa Clun’ (Scots Guards Club) new start time of 20.00hrs.
Note: Next round of the KO competition is on Sunday 13th 16.00hrs, SGC, Callum Beaumont v Finlay Johnston.
see below for a wee reminder………….
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.
All future meetings will now start at 8.00pm.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th January 2013. We have decided to cancel the scheduled meeting on 25th December.
Ho ho ho.