Match Report Tuesday 18th April 2017

JH EP map 180417As some of you will be aware, each of the committee members have been requested to host a ‘Special Night’. On Tuesday 18th April, it was Jenny Hazzard who stepped up to the mark and hosted a night of ‘Piping Geography’. Colin immediately discounted himself from taking part on the basis of having heard Jenny practicing her repertoire over the previous week.

Before we got into it Jenny got those with pipes (15 in total) up to go through a few sets from the tune book before the evening proper began. Up for grabs were a bottle of Macallan Gold for 1st place, a lovely bottle of wine for 2nd and a box of luxury chocolates for 3rd.

The format of the evening was explained by Jenny. Basically she and Lachie Dick were going to play through a number of tunes (21) in total. Each team were required to identify the tune and thereafter pin point on a map of Scotland where the city, town, village, island etc. was located on the map.IMG_4962

For those of you interested I have attached a map with the answers – not as easy as it may seem I am sure you will agree.

The beauty of this quiz was that, it not only got people scratching their heads trying to identify the tunes, but we were treated to the talents of two great pipers.

With the teams all sorted and team names selected – The Corner Boys, The 3 J’s, The Has Beens and The Philips Duo – to name but a few, battle commenced.

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Alan having a ‘no idea’ moment?

Lachie started us of with the 6/8, Bengullion and thereafter played the 2/4’s, David Ross of Rosehall, The Pap of Glencoe, John MacDonald’s Welcome to South Uist and Tommy MacDonald of Barguillean.

It was brilliant to hear Lachie play again at the Eagle’s and as usual it is an absolute pleasure to listen to him. Those of you that have heard him before will know exactly what I mean.

It was then on to the Slow Air, The Bays of Harris, and the Reels, Sound of Sleat, Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree and Creagorry Blend.

To finish off Lachie played the Jigs, Kenny Gilles of Port na Long, Skye, Flora MacAulay Carradale and Glasgow City Police.

We had a quick break for pies and then it was over to Jenny who started us off with the 6/8’s, Bonnie Dundee and Dornoch Highland Gathering, before cracking on with the 5/4, Cullen Bay, the 4/4, Flett from Flotta and the Jig, Angus John MacNeill of Barra.

Like Lachie, Jenny is effortless with her playing and it is just great for so many of us to have the opportunity to listen to such accomplished pipers.IMG_2561

Jenny finished off with the 2/4’s, Donald MacLellan of Rothesay and John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage, the Strathspey, Blair Drummond and thereafter the most controversial tune of the evening John Morrison of Assynt House. Why the controversy I hear you ask? Jenny explained at the start of the quiz that two of her tunes related to the location of the actual buildings. For those still reeling it is the location of Assynt House you were to identify.

All that was left to do was tally up the points and announce the winners.

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Assynt House, Evanton, Dingwall

The musical interlude was provided by John Fraser who played his own version of a geographical quiz playing the Battle of the Somme and The Heights of Dargai. He rounded off the piping for the evening rather fittingly with the Slow Air, The Flight of the Eagles and the Hornpipes, Duncan Johnstone and Duncan McKenzie of Dumbarton.

So the results were in, 3rd place went to the Corner Boys – Graeme Farr and Iain MacDonald, 2nd place went to John Murphy and John Fraser and the overall winners were, Douglas Gardiner, Fred McKay and Iain Spiers, well done boys.

Thanks to all who attended and took park and special thanks to Jenny and Lachie for a great night.

In other news to of our young Eagles were successful at the Kingdom Thistle Piping and Drumming Competition hosted in Lochgelly. In the U16 Piping Brodie Watson-Massie achieved 1st Place with Christopher Happs, close on his heels in 2nd. Christopher also took part in the U18 competition where he achieved 4th place. Well done to both boys, a great result!

Other dates for your diary:

The next meeting is on the 2nd May where we will be hosting the Royal Scottish Pipers’. It would be great to have as many Eagles – with pipes – in attendance as we can. The meeting will take place upstairs in the Scots Guards Club where after some band playing. Iain Spiers will play a piobaireachd of his choice on behalf of the society.

Untitled 127th May The Royal Scottish Pipers’ are hosting a recital at Edinburgh Academy, where Fred Morrison, Stuart Liddell and Quartet from Dollar Academy will dazzle what I suspect will be a capacity audience.

Douglas Gardiner has managed to secure the following to play mini-recitals:Untitled

30th May – Steven Gray

25th July – Ben Duncan

3rd October – Steven Leask

And sadly folks that’s a wrap. Look forward to seeing you all resplendent in your Eagles’ ties on 2nd May.

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Craig Robertson

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Society Membership

At the AGM, in December 2016, a review of positions within the committee was carried out. As a result the role of Treasurer and Secretary was split between Iain Speirs and Craig Robertson, the latter being Craig’s responsibility.

Craig has been tasked with a review of membership with the intention of identifying:

A. Persons who wish to continue being members and whose membership has lapsed.

B Weeding- to identify people who no longer wish to be members.

C. People who are members and require their contact details up-dated.

D Recruit new members to the Society.

Should you fall into any of the above categories Craig Robertson would be grateful if you could get in touch at

EaglesSecretary@outlook.com

An accurate database will allow him to keep the membership updated with events and general news.

UK membership is £30 annually and the preferred method of payment is by standing order – details of which can be obtained from the Secretary. PayPal can also be used.

Overseas membership is £20 annually and the preferred method of payment is via PayPal- details also available from the Secretary.

It should be noted that Facebook membership to the Society’s Group page is not membership to the Society.

There are many benefits to being a member of the Society, not least the Society tie but now the new Society Book of Tunes is also available to current members.

The Society also looks to promote piping, at every appropriate opportunity, and our funds help us do this, thereby servicing the greater piping good.

Yours Aye,

Colin MacLellan

President

 

 

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100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

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Bethany and Lochie Bisaillion at Juno Beach representing The Eagle Pipers’ resplendant in Society ties 

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from 9 to 12 April 1917, was part of the opening phase of the British-led Battle of Arras.

The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern flank could advance without suffering German fire. The Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadian Corps on 12 April.

The battle is seen by many Canadians as a pivotal moment in their nation’s formation. That sentiment was reflected at the ceremony in Ottawa and at others across Canada throughout the weekend, and at the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge near Arras, France, on Sunday, where about 25,000 people gathered, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and relatives of those who fought in the four-day battle.

Mr. Trudeau said,

It was through their sacrifice that Canada became an independent signatory of the Treaty of Versailles, and in that sense, in that way, Canada was born here.”

We salute you.

The Eagle Pipers’ Society

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Match Report Tuesday 4th April 2017

FullSizeRenderRevered as the greatest ever pipe major in the history of Edinburgh City Police / Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band this evening we remembered Pipe Major Iain McLeod.

The Society historically and in modern times has had links, not only to George Heriot’s School, where Iain and his sons were pupils, but also with the police service in Edinburgh where Iain led the police band to five World Pipe Championships wins.

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Iain MacLeod

Within the Society there are those that played with Iain and those that followed in his footsteps as pipe major of the Lothian and Borders band – namely Colin MacLellan and Kenny McBride.

For some – myself included – the only contact we ever had with Iain was a visit to the shop in Whitehouse Loan, Edinburgh, where as a schoolboy I pawed over things and spent my pocket money on hemp and beeswax or the occasional practice chanter reed. I avoided the very itchy

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Iain in the shop

looking handmade hose however.

The band became iconic for its style of play and immaculate turn out on parade, winning countless dress and deportment prizes at various competitions. When the end of the legendary dynasty was in sight Iain was quite outspoken about its demise.

‘I have been greatly saddened in recent years to witness the decline of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, formerly the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band. It seems incredible that this once proud, respected, highly successful and renowned band, having survived throughout years of the austerity of two

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John Fraser leads the final parade

world wars, has now been allowed to decline to the point of extinction. I would hope that Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Police Service now take steps to ensure that the pipe band’s achievements and its role in promoting both the city and its police service over 131 years; are now formally

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Euan Anderson, Alison Gardiner, Dougie McBride, Donald MacFadyen, Brian Lothian

recognised by way of a permanent record in the history and archives of the city.’

To start the evening the P/M consulted with Martin Wilson Snr – who was a member of the band during Iain’s time at the helm – for something fitting to play. The decision was Rab’s Wedding and Auld Adam, two of the bands 6/8 marches that were in their repertoire for many years, (both coincidentally appear in the new Society’s tune book).IMG_4962

John Kerr wrote Rab’s Wedding for a band member Robert Gibson who was quite the character. Few of Iain’s peers are still with us but Harry McNulty, George Lumsden and Chris Anderson spring to mind. Andrew Berthoff, editor of Pipes/Drums, has a couple of excellent interviews relating to the band in his archives that are well worth a read.

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Martin Wilson Jnr on his dads pipe. Better late than never.

With 15 sets of pipes on the floor we had a pretty good go at it and after a couple of run throughs I’m sure Iain would have been close to giving us a ‘Well done’.

Due to time constraints – Brodie Watson-Massey – took to the floor as the ‘Pie Piper’ as opposed to the post or pre variety and in keeping with the theme for the evening started us off with an MSR comprising of The Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band, John Roy Stewart and Loch Carron.IMG_4981

Brodie went on to play Lucy Cassidy and Donald MacLennan’s Tuning Phrase and was just getting into the swing of things when his dad arrived. Thankfully, however, we were blessed with another fine set before his departure that included Fraser Allison’s Jig, The Famous Baravan, Duncan MacKillop and The Henderson March that he played as a jig.

It’s at this point I feel that it is incumbent upon me to say a few words to all those parents out there who regularly fetch, carry and travel to far flung destinations to enable their children to entertain and compete. We at the Eagles do appreciate it, and would like to thank the Happs, Watson-Massey and Taylor families who do just that.

IMG_2408The P/M went on to tell us a little about the ‘Piping Societies in the Modern Era’ lecture that took place on the eve of The Piobaireachd Society Conference. We were not only represented by the P/M delivering part of the lecture but Jenny Hazzard and Iain Speirs played some great music to compliment the presentation

On that note Gordon Hislop also gave a good account of himself on the Saturday when the topic of discussion was the amateur clasp competitions.

The P/M went on to give us a few tunes – such has been the demand to play this has actually been his first chance to get a tune in. He played a few 6/8 marches that included tunes from the book and as part of a demonstration played Michael Grey composition Blustering Home, as the musical rhythm can be unusual to the ear if not familiar with the tune. Follow the link to see Euan in action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vds6ENoo844

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Bring it on

There is a bet on in the Society between the P/M and Martin Wilson Jnr as to whether we will ever manage to play this tune as a band. Watch this space!

A more fitting way to end the evening couldn’t have been found and Kenny McBride (former L&B Pipe Major) illustrated why the demise of the Lothians band was such a shame. On a pitch perfect pipe with rock steady drones and precision fingering it was a delight to hear Kenny play the 3 / 4 ’s Dunaskin Glen and the Highland Brigade at Magersfontein.

IMG_2414He rounded off the evening with an MSR, comprising of Tom Wilson, Susan MacLeod and Thomson’s Dirk.

It was then time to reminisce but not before being told that Auld Adam and Rab’s Wedding will be first up next week.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 18th April where Jenny will don her Bamber Gascoigne hat and run a ‘Piping Geographical Quiz’.

Until then folks have a good one and keep up the practice.

Note: Iain’s funeral will be a private ceremony on Tuesday 11th April for family and close friends.

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Craig Robertson
Membership Secretary

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Match Report Tuesday 22nd March 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 00.34.19On a dreich Edinburgh night 10 pipers took to the floor and tackled a few tunes from the new book. With a bit of work on the drones an acceptable sound was found and it looks like everyone is enjoying the new format.

During the pie break young Amara Taylor played us her second tune, Tha mi Sgith, (I Am Weary) on the chanter and was thrilled when Jenny was able to tell her all about the tune and how it could be played in different styles. The tune is also known as The Weary Maid or Brain a Rainich -cutting bracken (ferns)IMG_4894

The post pie piper was John Fraser who took to the floor with little persuasion and trotted out half a dozen Scots Guards Company marches that started off with Greenwoodside. And with that he was done.

IMG_4896Alan Harper was up next and settled the pipe with a couple of 3/4s before giving us a bit of Too Long in this Condition. Alan has been working hard on his instrument and the drone quality was very nice.IMG_4899

The final player of the evening was Iain Speirs, who does not manage along as often as he would like, but it is always well worth the wait. As you would expect from one of Scotlands top players his pipe was immaculate as was his playing.

IMG_4902How nice is it to have a home for piping where you can have an 8 year old play her second tune on the chanter and end the night with a top flight artist. With the two young Heriots lads playing at the last meeting and an enthusiasm for the band format perhaps piping societies are still current and viable to run?

On that topic The Eagle Pipers have been invited to present at the annual College of Piping lecture this Friday, 24th March at the Birnam Hotel, the subject matter being, ‘Piping Societies in the Modern Era’. They will be joined by The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society. It won’t be all chat as music will be provided by Jenny Hazzard, Iain Speirs and Roddy McLeod. This event traditionally kicks off the Piobaireachd Society conference that is held over the weekend.

Tunes to work on for the next meeting, The Gardens of Skye, Flett from Flotta and Old Adam and Farewell to the Creeks. Bag covers will also be available. Great value at £30.P1010499

Hope to see you in a couple of weeks Tuesday 4th April.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report 7th March 2017

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The Society Tunes

Apologies for late reporting of events on the 7th, generally I am not one for excuses however, 21 -61? It was a real shock to my system. That being said, I expect the boys to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and put on a good show against Italy this weekend coming.

 

Speaking of good shows Tuesday 7th was an absolute treat – I will come to all that in a minute.

We had another good turnout with 14 pipers and half a dozen spectators. The evening began with the handing out of the ‘Eagle Piper’s Society Tunes’.

Since the AGM, the book has been put together by the P/M and it is hoped that it will encourage those who attend the meetings to bring their pipes along and join in for a wee band session prior to those – who are of a mind – playing a solo spot.

It is really about playing the pipes more than the tunes, and, it is hoped that it will inspire those who would normally sit back and listen (myself included) to get up play a wee solo piece.

In the absence of the P/M, John Fraser put us through our paces with the 2/4, 3/4 and 6/8 sets and paid his subs. Cheers John!

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John having a tune

Just a quick note here – we are working through the membership list and those of you with up to date memberships will be receiving your copy in the post. There are some records needing confirmed (addresses etc.) so will be in touch via email to get those details.

The night thereafter progressed and we were blessed to have some fantastic talent in our midst in the form of two young Heriot’s lads (and Eagle members) namely Brodie Watson-Massey and Chris Happs from Heriots.Heriots logo

Brodie started off the evening with the 2/4’s Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque and The Argyllshire Gathering. A wee adjustment of the drones and he was back on it with the Strathspey ( Catlodge) and Reel (John McKechnie).

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Brodie

It was at this point the real fun began and if you follow the link you’ll see what I mean : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvM9FoC9r5Q

The post pipe piper was Chris Happs who got things started with Hugh Kennedy and P/M Sandy Spence. Chris was effortlessly into his stride and the Hornpipe and Jig set comprising of No Regrets, Pitlochry High School, Bronnis Blue Brozzi and the Banjo Breakdown (with a twist) was out of this world. His final set can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReSprdPhJAk .

Both these guys were extremely modest as well as talented and are a credit to themselves,

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Chris

their parents and their school. Well done lads and thank you.

Gordon Hislop thereafter took to the floor for the piobaireachd, MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute (composed by Angus MacKay of Gairloch in 1761). Gordon explained that there is still a dichotomy regarding how this tune should be played. Is it a salute commemorating the birth of a son or a lament mourning the death of a father? Gordon chose to play it as the former and this was an inspired choice. A wonderful warm tone emanated from the drones, a beautifully balanced chanter, great expression and a truly sublime crunluath a mach. A great recital indeed which many commented on.Untitled2

And after all that it was time for the night to end – ‘closing time already?’ was the cry from the stalls, but not quite – John Fraser played us out with The Black Watch and Scots Guards Polka.

See you On Tuesday 21st and bring the pipe.

Craig Robertson

 

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Match Report Tuesday 21st February 2017

img_4875Daffodils on the table? Ah yes a wee welcome to our Welsh friends due to play at the National Stadium on Saturday. Little did we know then that the dragon was to be slain (in grand fashion) and they were to be sent home to think again.

Some 14 pipers took to the floor for the band session. Not the grand affair that was awaiting Jenny in Belfast, the back in Ireland concert celebrating the great music produced back in 1987 in Ballymena by the 78th Frasers, but an enthusiastic group none the less.img_4613

Joining the company for the first time were Martin Wilson Senior and Junior and it didn’t take Martin Snr long before he was into the swing of things and on the pies. To Martin Jnr, pipe out and on parade next time please.

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The Wilsons

The post pie piper was Iain Dewar who played Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban (the first tune in the new Eagles book that was being handed round the company- although still in draft form) followed by Pipe Major Jimmy Christie of Wick. This is originally a fiddle tune composed by Addie Harper of Wick. The title honours Jim Christie founder and Pipe Major of the Wick Girls’ Pipe Band who toured in Scotland and abroad. Iain concluded his slot with the ground of The Lament for the Old Sword.

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Jim Christie far right with the Wick girls pipe band circa 1960

Next for shaving was Alan Harper who was in fine form and in practice mode for the Archie Kenneth Quaich that is due to be competed for on Saturday 4th March in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ rooms. Alan gave us the ground and a couple of variations of The Lament for Captain MacDougal.

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Alan Harper

The final player of the evening was Douglas Gardiner, who settled the pipe with a few tunes and an MSR before giving us an immaculate King’s Taxes, a tune attributed to Ranald Ban MacDougall, circa the early 1700s. Of note this was the first tune to win one of the new Piobaireachd Society competitions at Oban in 1904, gaining for the winner, John MacDonald of Inverness, the princely of sum of £20.00– at a time when the Gold Medals at Oban and Inverness brought their winners a mere £8.00.img_4869

Douglas, on an immaculate pipe, did this great tune justice and was rewarded with an extra pie for his efforts.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 7th March where the band will focus on the tunes Those Endearing Young Charms/The Highland Cradle Song and the Scotland the Brave set. The book is now at the printers and may be ready for the next meeting? See you there.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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