‘Piping Live’ has left some, if not all, ‘barely alive’, such is the feverish rush to try and cram in as much as you can. There is so much high quality music on offer, it is impossible to get round it all. That, combined with the run into the ‘Worlds’ and a very active solo-piping scene, leaves one feeling as if they have spent the week inside a tumble dryer with a bottle of malt. Or two.
Before we report on Tuesday evening, mention must be made of significant success by some of our members. Cameron Drummond has had quite the week, claiming the Sliver Chanter in Dunvegan and then donning his band hat, lifting the grade 1 World pipe band title with Inveraray and District.
It has been toe to toe all season between them and Field Marshall Montgomery who were edged into second. Jenny Hazzard has had quite the inaugural season with FMM. Hats off J. With the band season over our eyes are now on the Argyllshire Gathering, The Northern Meeting, not forgetting the Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner on Saturday 26th August. There may be a few tickets left.
Last Tuesday saw the welcome return of some old friends, The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band and Elgin and District Pipe Band, from Canada, who are under the direction of Bethany Bisaillion and Wanda Goundrey respectively. Elgin were formed informally in the late 1960’s, but as the numbers grew they officially registered the Elgin & District Pipe band as a non-profit organisation in 1997. The group is based in Huntingdon, Qc. and primarily performs in the Chateauguay Valley, Montreal area, Northern New York and Vermont.
Adding to the Canadian ensemble was Peter MacKenzie, from St Catharines, Ontario. Peter is the Pipe Major of the Niagara Regional Police and is in
Scotland with the City of Dunedin pipe band, who placed 4th at the worlds, Grade 2. Peter played with the famous Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band for many years.
To break the ice the P/M had a few tunes before the band knocked out some old favourites. The first solo spot and pre pie piper, Martin Wilson, who played a group of WW1 3/4s, composed by John ‘Jock’ McLellan, Dunoon. Martin’s mum, dad and sister Julie, were there to cheer him on. The girls were seconded into the kitchen to help with pie duties 🙂
The break saw a couple of presentations by Beth and Wanda. Quite a quantity of original maple syrup was handed over and Beth presented the P/M with a book, The Winnipeg Collection, pulled together by Nathan Mitchell. Tunes in the book are from composers far and wide and all proceeds from the book will go toward the Canadian Mental Health Association.
This book should be part of your collection.
The post pie piper was Donald MacLeod, who due to family commitments, has been absent from the fold for almost two years. Included in Donald’s selection were two lovely 3/4s, The Heroes of St Valery and Alexander McLeod, Ardindrean.
The first tune was composed by a member of the 51st Highland Division, P/M Donald MacLean of Lewis, commemorating the unsung rear guard action of the 51st HD, where they were ‘left behind’ at St Valery. After a terrible loss of life most were taken prisoner and some unilaterally shot on the spot for attempting to take food from French civilians by the roadside on their way to polish POW camps. The second tune was written last year by Donald, to commemorate his fathers 80th birthday.
Peter McAllister then took to the floor and played a few tunes that included a nameless reel that he invited the audience to name. One of the Canadian contingent came up with “Burn the Donald” … which Peter thought was quite sparky. You can work out who the Donald is for yourself.
Peter then ran a wee quiz that sounded quite simple but was actually deceptively difficult. Name 24, 2/4 marches from the last 2 bars only. Peter played them in blocks of 4. Great fun.
Peter then gave us some of Lady MacDonald’s Lament, by Angus MacArthur 1790 from the MacArthur-MacGregor manuscript. MacArthur, the family piper, composed the tune on the death of Elizabeth Diana, Lady of Alexander, first Lord MacDonald, who died 18th October 1789.
The final player of the evening, fresh from his first tilt at ‘Pipe Idol’ in Glasgow, was Brodie Watson-Massey. He settled the pipe down with some 4/4s, before playing his pipe idol selection. Brodie then concluded a marvellous evening with a very musical rendition of, The Desperate Battle of the Birds.
His next solo venture is up at the MacGregor memorial competition at Oban later this month.
And that was the evenings evening. Remember the Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner on Saturday 26th August.
Ticket enquiries to Colin at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Tickets
Many thanks to all who came along and safe travels.