We started 2021 in outstanding fashion with a recital from Gary West on small pipes, vocals and guitar.
Our Zoom session was joined by 25 members from across the globe including California, Switzerland, and Lesmahagow. We welcomed new member Alan Beveridge from Ontario and said hello to old member Ninian Christie who recently piped the funeral cortege of mountaineer Hamish MacInnes through Glen Coe village.
The Hon Pipe Major led us through The Eagle Piper’s March on chanter before handing over to the dulcet tones of Gary West. For a piper of Gary’s skill it must be frustrating to be better known for your speaking. However, Gary gave us one of the best recitals ever heard at Eagles. His expertise as a broadcaster was clearly evident though with hugely engaging chat and informative dialogue between playing.
Playing a set of Hamish Moore small pipes in A, Gary kicked off with the 3/4 march, The Atom of Delight. This was written by fiddler Derek Hoy (and uncle of Sir Chris) and as Gary suggested, would make a fine pipe band tune with the opportunity for some clever harmonies.
After the lively jigs, Scarce of Tatties and The Gold Ring, Gary introduced his next tune, The Jedburgh Ba’ Game composed by himself. The tune commemorates the ancient village football played annually in the Borders town. According to Wikipedia the game is played all over the town centre and “can prove awkward for shoppers, trying to avoid getting caught up in the game, and shopkeepers, who put shutters on their doors and windows”. Thankfully the tune is more charming and is composed in a theme and variation style, much like piobaireachd. The melody is wonderful – enjoy the clip below. It is published in one of the LBPS collections and as with The Atom of Delight, would make a fine swaggering pipe band march. Pipe Majors take note.
Gary followed with the slow air Drum Corry and Ian Green of Greentrax. The latter was composed by the late and much missed Gordon Duncan, a school and bandmate of Gary’s. The Pitlochry genius and finger gymnastics were evident in the next set She Moved Through the Fair, Pressed for Time and The Fourth Floor.
Proving his voice is not just good for radio, Gary then sang the moving and melancholic The Last Trip Home by Davy Steele and John MacCusker of Battlefield Band fame.
This was a recital par excellence and proved that whilst online meetings can often be sterile, in the hands of a master, they can bring genuine delight. Gary leaves his role as Professor at The University of Edinburgh at the end of this month to focus on fresh ventures. We wish him all the best of luck. Anyone looking to buy any of his music, please visit: Home – Piper, Professor, Performer, Presenter (garywest.scot)