We shall be hosting our first online meeting at 2000hrs (UK time) on Tuesday 20th October.
There will be a group practice chanter session over a selection of Society tunes, led by The Hon Pipe Major, and a short solo set from Dr Peter McCalister on small pipes. For Zoom virgins, the key is to stay on Mute until you have something stunningly exciting to say (or play).
We shall endeavour to try and recreate the social element of our meetings however, the format is partly experimental and we will review how successful it is.
The plan is to limit this to 40 minutes before Zoom kicks us out. If all goes well we may pay for a premium subscription to avoid this limitation.
To join the meeting you will need to download Zoom (this is free), click the link below and input the Meeting ID and Passcode stated.
Further to last month’s message, I write to advise that the Committee have decided on the following:
Online Meetings: We will attempt to recreate our meetings on Zoom. The first proposed date is Tuesday 20th October @ 2000hrs. If this works and there is enough demand, the plan is to host these monthly. The format will include a group session on practice chanters and possibly a solo performance. Members will have to purchase their own steak pies and have the liberty to wear whatever they wish from the waist down.
Zoom log in details will be advised in due course.
Members’ Handicap Solo Contest: We will run this online later in 2020. In keeping with the tradition of this event, one of the biggest names in drumming has agreed to judge.
The format will be a Slow Air/Jig as usual but will require competitors to have a You Tube account. More details to follow but I would encourage members to learn more about how to record and upload a clip of your fine playing onto this platform. The prize for the Best Breakdown will be replaced this year by Worst Video.
Subscriptions: From 1st January 2021, we are offering temporary reduced subscriptions for the year. UK subs will be £20 and Overseas £10 (from £30 and £20 respectively). We recognise that many members pay at other times of the year by standing order or Pay Pal. In simple terms, when you renew your membership during 2021, you will be able to pay this reduced rate. We will of course appreciate any member who chooses to pay at the standard rate.
The Scots Guards Club: We continue to pay a contribution to the Guards Club of two thirds our normal rental. This is under constant review but the health of our home is integral to the Society.
I fully appreciate the world of online piping is not complementary to a social society such as ours. However, we need to grasp the nettle and make the best of the hand we have been dealt. One plus side is that we may see more of our distinguished Overseas members.
Canadian member, Brad Davidson, has submitted this recording of the demanding and poignant Daughter’s Lament.
Brad visited the Society in May 2019 and hails from Waterloo, Ontario, the home of the Blackberry oncesmart phone.
Brad won The Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) in 1992 and having returned to serious piping after a 24 year break was looking forward to treading the boards in 2020.
He received instruction as a teenager at summer schools from Donald MacLeod, and later from Garth Neel, Colin MacLellan, Ed Neigh, Willie Connell and Bob Worrall. He now works with the double-gold medallist, John Cairns.
Thank you Brad for the clip and we very much hope to see you in person next year.
It is with heavy heart that I advise the Committee have reviewed the Covid guidelines and are unable to see any way of resuming our normal meetings. Whilst there is a little more flexibility outdoors, the seasons are changing and no longer conducive to social playing.
I had hoped in August I would be able to announce something more positive but, as we all know, 2020 has been unprecedented. 2021 might be as well. We are now reviewing ways of keeping the Society active online. This will include not only our regular meetings but other events to provide value to members such as the annual handicap contest.
In the meantime, we continue to support the Scots Guards Club by paying two thirds of what we would normally pay for room hire. The good health of the Club is intrinsically linked to our own. I am pleased they have bounced back but would urge members to support them wherever you can.
Our annual jamboree to Blair Castle is obviously not happening. However, I hear on the grapevine Glenfiddich is hoping to run a crowd-free competition with online streaming. Watch out for more details.
I will advise shortly how we plan to resume online but in the meantime, if you have any queries or suggestions please contact me.
The response to the Lockdown Challenge has been outstanding.
Prize for the most innovative recording goes to a face-masked Martin Wilson filmed by the bronze statue at The Army School of Piping. A second-hand DVD of Tunes of Glory is making its way to Martin.
Notable mentions also go to the following:
• Kenton Adler: It was a delight to hear and see Kenton in Arkansas, USA. He and his wife Nancy have been long standing EPS members. See you in 2021 perhaps?
• Ninian Christie: Ninian’s recording was made at the beautiful Braes of Brecklet in Ballachulish. P/M Willie Lawrie is buried 1km away in St John’s church. P/M Lawrie might not have turned in his grave but he may have made some reaction as Ninian finished off with his famous composition The Battle of the Somme.
• Kenny McBride: So keen to win, Kenny entered twice. Superb pipe and playing as always.
• Peter McCalister: Young Peter was another very keen to win the DVD. Unfortunately the Society plays the Green Hills as a retreat march not a piobaireachd. Having not submitted the score in advance Peter was immediately disqualified. Playing Bonnie Gallowa’ and Scotland the Brave in Strathspey time and Conundrum as a reel further compounded the matter. That said, with some more careful preparation, Peter could go far.
Many thanks to all those who entered. There is plenty of piping going on.
Our meeting on Tuesday 17th March will go ahead as planned. We will have guest piper Jonny Simpson with two or three youngsters from Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band. Please note we aim to start at 1930hrs to run through our own tunes first.
Our visit to The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society on Friday 20th March is however cancelled.
In view of our relatively small numbers and the high degree of common sense of our members we have chosen to continue business as usual. This decision was not taken lightly. Matters are evolving fast and any subsequent change will be advised as it happens.
A relatively small number took to the floor for a tune in preparation for the upcoming visit to the ‘Jolly boys’ but on the upside we were joined by Eddie Seaman who had a good pre pie session with the band.
Eddie is originally from Edinburgh and went to Edinburgh Academy school where he learned the pipes. Since then he has become a well travelled and seasoned player and studied the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from until 2013. He has played with the folk band Barluath but has recently returned to The Royal Conservatoire to take his Masters degree.
After the pies Eddie warmed up his pipe with the John MacLellan, Dunoon 3/4 march, The Unknown Warrior. A hornpipe and jig followed and a lovely MSR, kicking off with P/M George Ross’s Farewell to the Black Watch, composed by Wille Lawrie, concluded the light music.
Eddie then give us Salute to Donald. Nothing much was known of this tune until the Campbell Canntaireachd was “discovered” by chance in the house of Ann Campbell, Oban, in 1909, and the music was transcribed from that record. Presumably the tune is a Salute to one of the MacDonald chiefs.
Eddie got all the music from this and the pipe was very well balanced and held throughout. What lovely tune. Many thanks Eddie for coming along and playing.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 17th March where we will have a quartet from George Watson’s school. The doors will be open at the earlier time of 19.30hrs so the Eagles can have a wee practice for the Royal Scottish Pipers’ visit on Friday 20th March in their society rooms.