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.
A relatively small attendance at the AGM saw the formalities taken care of reasonably quickly. The secretary reported that there are 106 fully paid up members, the treasurer said there was moneythe bank and the President reported on what lay ahead in 2020. Officer bearers were not up for re election so business was pretty much done before the arrival of the pies.
Interestingly the Society has 1380 followers on facebook and has a healthy social media footprint that certainly helps integration with the International piping community.
Post pies saw Alan Harper have a run through his Archie Kenneth tune, the melodic Lament for Mary MacLeod. Alan is first on (Saturday 29th) and will have to fight against the morning elements in this big contest. Pipe preparation and settling the inevitable nerves will be key but all the music is there so best of luck to Alan and all the other Eagles taking part.
Remember that although this is a rugby international weekend there is still a bit of piping on in the Guards club on Sunday with a round of the KO competition.
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 3rd March and guest, Eddie Seaman, will be giving to post pie piobaireachd, The Salute to Donald.
Despite the recent storms, Ciara and Dennis, and the narrow loss at Murrayfield, spirits were high within the Scots Guards Association Club and some 15 pipers took to the floor for a tune. The 3/4s The Kilworth Hills, The Argyll’s Crossing the River Po (composed by Robert Brown and Eagle piper back in the day) and The Shoals of Herring, got a dusting off and we had a look at the hornpipe and jig, The Train Journey North and The Curlew.
The post pie piper was the President himself who after warming the pipe gave us a lovely The Lament for the Old Sword. A great way to start the new session of Piobaireachd.
The Societies AGM is on Tuesday 18th February 2020 starting at 20.00hrs. Bring your pipes in case it is a quick meeting. Tom Peterkin is on Piob. duties in preparation for the Archie Kenneth Quaich that is on Saturday 29th February in the Royal Scottish Pipers rooms in Edinburgh. The draw is
1. Allan Harper;
2. Iain Kirkwood;
3. Lachlan McDonald;
4. Aaron Yeung;
5. James Murray;
6. James Kenny;
7. Sandie Greenwood;
8. Robert Frater;
9. Gordon Hislop;
10. Leslie Barrett;
11. Walter Gray;
12. Stewart Gaudin;
13. Janette Greenwood;
14. Con Houlihan;
15. Jim Waugh;
16. Stuart Letford;
17. John Forbes;
18. Michael McGowan;
19. Evan Wraga;
20. Stewart Allan;
21. Tom Peterkin;
22. Andrea Jones;
23. Andrew Park;
24. Gill Cairns;
25. Neill Mulvie;
26. Dugald MacLeod.
The judges are Patricia Henderson and Donald MacPhee.
Nice to see a smattering of Eagles on the list.
The Scots Guards KO continues on Sunday 23rd February, 16.00hrs. Calum Brown v Bradley Parker.
Please come along to the AGM if you can or write to the Secretary Craig Robertson if you have any thoughts or matters that you wished raised under AOCB.