Piobaireachd Composition Contest

“The Eagle Pipers Piobaireachd composition contest is still open for entries. The link to the original page for this is here https://eaglepipers.wordpress.com/6978-2/

The judges have now been announced, and the panel is a group of Eagle stalwarts : Tom Speirs, Iain Speirs and Euan Anderson. 

The prize money of £400 for the winner and £200 for the runner up is significant, and the winning tune will have a high profile performance as soon as we can set that up. It will become THE Eagles Pipers’ Ceol Mor tune, in perpetuity.

We look forward to hearing from any further competitors before long – note the closing date is 31st July.”

Peter McCalister, Contest Organiser”

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7th June 2022 – Visit of The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society

I am very pleased to announce that The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society will be our special guests on Tuesday 7th June.

There will be a combined band playing the usual family favourites so everyone bring your pipes.

Please wear the kilt if at all possible.

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Match Report Tuesday 10th May 2022

A smaller band took to the floor but the 9 pipers produced the sound of the season thus far. After a few warm up tunes there were a few runs through King George the V Army and The Conundrum. All in all very nice playing and the sound held throughout the night.

The post pie piper was Archie Kenneth legend, Tom Peterkin. We don’t get to hear Tom very often so it is a real treat when he gives us a tune. He usually has one or two unusual tunes in his repertoire and tonight was no exception as he started with the John MacLellan, Dunoon 6/8 composition, Stronsaul. Stronsaul is of course an area in Argyll and Bute near Dunoon.

Tom Peterkin

Tom was in his stride and Abercairney Highlanders and Dr E. G. MacKinnon were up next. With the pipe settled and purring away Tom finished off the evening with a lovely Corrienessan’s Salute. You can listen to the tune below.

This was the tune that Tom won his 5th Archie Kenneth Quaich with.

And with that we were done. Great night. Many thanks Tom.

Remember to spread the word about our Piobaireachd composing competition and of course the JMD dinner tickets.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 24th May.

Euan Anderson

Hon. Pipe Major. 

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Match Report Tuesday 26th April 2022

With the Pipe Major running a bit late due to piping duties at the Playfair Library, Kenny McBride very kindly took the band for the first half session. No rolling starts and sloppy cuts off. Good attacks and finishes were the order of the evening. After some warm up tunes the MSR got an airing and the band were on the floor for some 45 minutes. A good workout indeed and the pies and a pint were very welcome. 

The post pie piper was Lachie Dick and a more musical player would be hard to find. After settling the pipe he knocked out a competition MSR that included the great Cameronian Rant. Lachie, despite having a young family and a very busy professional career, is desperately trying to keep his solo piping up to scratch and has his sights set on the new CPA backed Bronze Star.

The inaugural Bronze Medal Piobaireachd contest will be held on Sunday, August 28 at The National Piping Centre, McPhater Street. With the blessing of the Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering, and with generous funding from the William Grant Foundation and the Piobaireachd Society, a new CPA Bronze Medal has been minted. Every CPA member graded B or B- and not already eligible for the Silver Medal for 2022 will now have an opportunity to immediately qualify for next year’s Silver Medal. This is an excellent step forward and hopefully will become a permeant fixture in the piping world.

Lachie’s tune was the very difficult but musical Captain John MacLellan tune, The Edinburgh Piobaireachd. Challenging as there are quite a few memory hurdles and of course the high G has to be spot on. Lachie took a very positive approach to the tune and why not as it is certainly not a lament but more a celebration piece to commemorate the Capital city. Great to see a young player having this in his repertoire. Excellent stuff.

A mention of John MacLellan gives us an opportunity to remind everyone that the memorial dinner tickets are now on sale.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 10th May 2022 at the Scots Guards Association Club, Edinburgh.

Euan Anderson

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Tickets: The Captain John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner

I am pleased to confirm that tickets are now on sale for The Captain John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition on Friday 26th August 2022.

The venue will be The Waldorf Astoria Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh.  Dress code is Black Tie.  

Tickets are £50 and can be bought on our website: The Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner-Tickets | The Eagle Pipers’ Society, Edinburgh (wordpress.com)

I very much hope as many members as possible will attend and make this a really special Eagles night.

Captain John’s first album cover, Folkways Records, 1949

The pipers who have kindly agreed to play are as follows:

  • Iain Speirs (3 time former winner)
  • Angus McColl (2019 winner)
  • Findlay Johnston (winner of the 2021 Premier Grade piobaireachd at the Captain John MacLellan contest)
  • Jack Lee (2021 Glenfiddich champion)

Each will play a tune composed by Captain John.  Dr Jack Taylor will determine who wins the bespoke silver medal for best performance.

Numbers are limited and we expect demand to be high. 

Douglas Gardiner

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Match Report Tuesday 12th April 2022

For the first time ever the Eagle Pipers’ welcomed the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band, or at least a quartet. The band has been in continuous existence since 1947. It was originally the Woolmet and Danderhall Colliery band, then became the Scottish Gas Caledonia Pipe Band before morphing into the current set up. Our President, Douglas Gardiner is a relatively new member of the band and thankfully persuaded Pipe Major Dave Clunie, and brother and sister Jamie Cameron Franks and Islay Cranston to join him for a tune. 

Competition and public performances have been a rarity and the band are just getting back into the swing of regular practice sessions.

The Society pipers had a quick half hour on the pipes and topped out at a pitch of 478. The Edinburgh City quartet started at 486 and ended up at 488 that now appears to be the standard band pitch. It must take quite bit of work to sustain that pitch both in the chanter and drone tone? 

Anyway they kicked off with a few 6/8 marches starting with the René Cusson composition, Bruce Gandy’s Farewell to the Iron Horse. The MSR was a fairly standard band set, but challenging nonetheless, as it finished off with Blair Drummond and John Morrison of Assynt House.

The quartet then split their medley into 2 sections and in true band style there were a few unusual settings of tunes and unusual names. The opener, New Beginnings, was written by Dave Clunie and it is musical and catchy. We had Under the Duvet, written by Kyle Rothschild who has played at the Eagles a few times. We also had an interesting setting of Jimmy Tweedie’s Sealegs. The tune was composed by John Allan Macgee in commemoration of Jim’s first trip from New Zealand to the UK – an epic 6-week journey in the 1950s which involved the crossing of 5 seas or oceans. Each of the parts also tells a section of the story of the gaining of Jim’s sealegs – from jauntily leaving the harbour to entering the high seas, to ‘feeding the fish’ and gradually onwards towards gaining his sealegs. “A mighty tune for a great friend and a true gentleman.” John Wilson wrote a 6th part which is often heard added to the original five. 

What great first half performance and a well earned pie and a pint (or Irn Bru) was the order of the day.

Dave Clunie very kindly agreed to be the PPP (post pie piper) playing a very nice MSR. It was only fitting that, on a band pipe, that Douglas Gardiner ended the evening with a bit of Ceol Mor. A strong band reed is not what you want when playing a piobaireachd but Douglas coped very well and produced lovely MacIntosh’s Lament.

All that remains to be said is a huge thank you to the troops for coming along and let’s hope they have a very successful season. How nice it will be to get out to play and listen to bands doing their stuff and having a beer or two in the tent. How we have missed that.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 26th April and Lachie Dick, work permitting, will be on Piobaireachd duties.

As you may have read the Society have announced a new Piobaireachd composing competition with the winner being announced at the Captain John MacLellan memorial dinner. Further information can be found on there web site at the link below.

Piobaireachd Composition Competition

See you at the next meeting

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M.

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12th April – Visit from The City of Edinburgh Pipe Band

A quartet of pipers from The City of Edinburgh Pipe Band will play for us on 12th April.

This historic Grade 2 band is led by Pipe Major David Clunie and includes some fine Edinburgh pipers.

A superb night is assured.

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Match Report Tuesday 29th March 2022

If there is a sign that we are back on the right track then Tuesday night was it. One of the great Eagles traditions is inviting a school along for the evening and turning over the platform to the youth of today. Edinburgh Academy stepped up to the plate and what treat it was to have them in the body of the kirk.

Under new tutor Alastair Tripney, ably assisted by Johnny Simpson, a quartet of the school band took to the floor. Pipe Major Polly Thompson, Pipe Sergeant Orla Tait, Finan Harkness and Zander Millar were the able representatives.

Finan Harkness

In the first half there was mixture of solo playing and band tunes. Zander played some very nice 9/8 marches starting off with the great Battle of the Somme. Finan treated us to an MSR before the band concluded the first spot with the Robert Mathieson composition, The Walrus followed by The Curlew.

The pies were very welcome and a substantial audience took full advantage for a chat and catch up. Hats off to the parents/taxi drivers who also came along to support the troops.

The second half kicked off with a trio who played the Pumpkins Fancy and the jig Cork Hill. This jig is an old stalwart of Edinburgh school pipe bands and I remember well Jack Crichton teaching us it at Heriots.

Orla then came on and played the ground and first variation of MacIntosh’s Lament. This lovely and now very familiar melody dates back to the 16th century. Orla made a very good job of keeping it flowing along and got the very best from the music. Excellent stuff. The kids then, quote, “threw Alastair Tripney under the bus’ and forced him to give the company a tune or two. He was quickly into his stride and it was nice to hear him play. Hopefully the first of many tunes at the Eagles.

Orla Tait

The quartet then finished with a flurry and gave us Highland Cathedral. Golfers amongst you may have seen Robert McIntyre driving up Magnolia Lane with the Oban Pipe Band blasting this out. Good preparation for another assault on the Masters.

And with that we were done. What a super night and our heartfelt thanks go out to Edinburgh Academy for performing for us. Haste ye back.

Having consulted with the membership at an EGM the Eagle Pipers announced that they would be running and presenting the Captain John A. MacLellan memorial dinner to be held on Friday 26th August in the Waldorf Caledonian Hotel. Players and judge to be announced shortly and tickets will be priced at £50 per person which is fantastic value for such a prestigious event.

The next meeting is Tuesday 12th April.

Euan Anderson

]Hon P/M

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The Captain John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition

I am pleased to confirm The Eagle Pipers’ Society will be running The Captain John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition on Friday 26th August 2022.

The venue will be The Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh.  Dress code is Black Tie.  Further details on tickets and pipers will be confirmed in due course. 

I would like to thank those members that have offered generous financial assistance to support the event.  As agreed at the EGM, we will review finances after this event and make any necessary changes to the format going forward.

Douglas Gardiner


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President Douglas Gardiner speaks to the Piobaireachd Society

The Piobaireachd Society

Some 50 members of the PS popped onto zoom to listen to Douglas’s excellent presentation. It lasts just short of an hour with great clips, including a very young Connor Sinclair. First class stuff and a walk down memory lane.

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