Match Report Tuesday 9th July 2019

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Unknown-2There is no doubt times are changing and certainly attitudes toward formality and tradition are becoming more relaxed, however, sometimes it is very satisfying to see things done just as they should be. 

The Army do that.

On Tuesday Pipe Major Ben Duncan brought along 4 pipers and 3 dancers and put on a performance that was straight from the top drawer. They arrived immaculately dressed and went about their business with military precision and professionalism. In the group were pipers,

Cpl. Euan Jardine 

Cpl. Adonis Maximus-Badass 

T.pr Gary MacKay

T.pr Lewis Park

and dancers

L.Cpl Robbie Gray

T.pr Mark Duff

T.pr Conall Stewart 

‘The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. The regiment, through the Royal Scots Greys, is the oldest surviving Cavalry Regiment of the Line in the British Army. The regiment is currently based at Leuchars Station, as part of the Scottish 51st Infantry Brigade.

It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards) (themselves the product of the amalgamation in 1922 of 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales’s) and 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)), and The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons).

The cap badge features an eagle, which represents the French Imperial Eagle that was captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Royal Scots Greys from the French 45th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Waterloo.’

IMG_1095In front of a full room the boys got under way with a lovely set of 3/4 marches before taking on a big MSR, The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society/Hector MacLean/Willie Cummings Rant. 

They went onto a group of 6/8 marches that started with the little heard The Hills of Biggar, composed by John Howie that can be found in the Edcath collection, book 2. The musical arrangement with excellent harmonies was very pleasing to the ear.

A medley was up next that appropriately started with the The Battle of Waterloo. Not perhaps as you may play it yourself but an arrangement that had the old guard in the room raising an eyebrow. Have a listen on our You Tube channel.

A set of 4/4 marches followed and again time to show what can be done with clever harmonies and good tune selection.

Time for a break and some pies. Also time to open a few windows as the temperature in the room was tropical.

The second half started with another set of 3/4s to settle the pipes and then we were into some classy jig playing ending with a jig setting of The Ewe wi’ the Crooked Horn.

Highland Laddie indicated the start of the fling and on marched the dancers. Again you can have look at this on our You Tube channel.

Excellent stuff and a rare treat

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Practice makes..?

A set of hornpipes followed that again reflected clever musical arrangement and they were not short on harmonies. The tunes were Carlos Barral of Oviedo by Fred Morrison, Scalasaig by Lorne MacDougall, Orlando Tango by Chris Armstrong and the popular Golden Brown by Kyle Warren. Great finger work and the boys were clearly very comfortable playing these tunes.

The quintet concluded with a set of three Regimental marches that were a fitting end to a wonderful display of band playing. Very musical and despite the warm room the pipes held remarkably well. First class stuff.

IMG_1102But the evening was not over. Down with one set of pipes, out with the solo set and time for the traditional end of evening piobaireachd. 

P/M Ben Duncan took the opportunity of having a run through his Captain John MacLellan memorial dinner tune, The Salute to the Great Pipe. He would get medal for stamina alone as, on the back of an evenings band playing, to finish with a big tune like this was no mean feat. Ben’s parents,Ruth and John and his wife Lee were in the audience and you could see the pride as he stepped his way through this great tune. What fantastic end to a wonderful night.IMG_1103

What a treat for those who were there. For those who were not, you missed a good one. 

A heartfelt thanks to Ben and his troops for providing the highlight of the year.

The John MacLellan memorial dinner is on Saturday 24th August at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Tickets are still available from Tina Anderson at captainjohnmd@gmail.com

Captain JohnAM 2019-4See you next time on Tuesday 23rd July.

Euan Anderson

P/M Eagle Pipers’ Society

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Match Report Tuesday 11th June 2019

As usual the evening started with a solid session from members playing as a group. The Conundrum is coming along nicely. Reports from the committee meeting state that a drone tuner has been secured so in two weeks some time will be spent on sound.

D2EF6AA9-AB6F-459C-8520-8653C5A9281ECongratulations to Glenn Brown for his win in the Donald MacDonald quaich. By all accounts it was a first class contest and hats off to Society members Iain Speirs and Peter McCalister for being part of the elite group of players that took part in the event.

Our post pie piper was Brodie Watson Massey who we had not heard from in a while. Brodie has put his toe, very successfully, in the professional ranks recently taking part in CPA C grade competitions. Making the step from junior to the professional ranks is not easy as it is generally combined with tough educational demands, university/employment decisions and of course most of the young top players are member of top grade 1 pipe bands. A busy schedule indeed.

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Under the watchful eye of a very proud gran

Brodie started off with some 6/8 marches that included the classic The MacNeils of Ugadale, composed by John Mackenzie.

He continued on an excellent pipe with a competition MSR that was first class. Some jigs followed, Kenny Gillies of Portnalong, The Biddy from Sligo and The Cameronian Rant. These showed what young hands can do and the audience were tapping along while admiring the finger dexterity.

IMG_0958A small selections of strathspeys and reels followed before Brodie gave us the classic Lord Lovat’s Lament.

He settled into this big tune quickly and it clear he knew what he wanted to do with the phrasing. This tune will stand him in good stead this year and a tune everyone should have in their repertoire for life.

A great wee session from Brodie and those who were there were lucky to hear him in such fine form. Many thanks Brodie for taking the time to pop in a give is a tune.IMG_0959

Lord Lovat’s Lament

On the death of his cousin in 1698 Simon Fraser assumed the title of Lord Lovat, though it was many years before, with the help of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, he was able to secure the legal settlement of the estate. Following the Battle of Culloden Lord Lovat took refuge in various hiding places on his own estates and eventually with MacDonald of Morar. By now lame he was captured on an island in Loch Morar in June 1746 and taken in stages to London. He was executed on Tower Hill on 9th April 1747.

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Simon Fraser The 11th Lord Lovat

Lovat is said to have looked forward to his internment in the family vault at Kirkhill with all the pipers from John o’ Groats to Edinburgh playing at his funeral. But the government refused to release his body for burial in Scotland.

And with that we were done. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 25th June where we will be working on the sound and going through quite a bit of the repertoire from the Society book, including The Conundrum, Caber Feidh and Andrew Warnock etc.

Hope to see you then

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report – 28th May 2019

A large turnout tonight despite the dreich gloom outside.  The group session climaxed with The Conundrum.  This was less of the pipers’ dilemma it proved last meeting and showed plenty of promise.

The Post Pie Piper and Overseas Guest for the night was Brad Davidson from Waterloo, Ontario, home of the Blackberry smartphone (remember them?).

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He runs a wealth management practice and has recently made a return to piping after a 24 year break.

He received some instruction as a teenager at summer piping schools from Donald MacLeod, and later from Garth Neel, Colin MacLellan, Ed Neigh, Willie Connell (a pupil of Robert Reid for 14 years) and Bob Worrall.  He works with John Cairns, the double-gold medallist.  Brad won The Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) in 1992 and has taken prizes in light music and piobaireachd in Ontario, around the U.S. and in Scotland many years ago and is hoping to return to his former form before too much longer.

Brad kicked off with a delightful selection of light music including the 6/8 March Glen Affric.  This is a Donald MacLeod composition which Brad learnt from a manuscript belonging to Garth Neel, a student of Donald’s in the 1970’s.  It remains, apparently, unpublished.

He also gave us the slow air, Koreen MacNeill; strathspeys, Isle of Hoy and Jane Campbell and reels, The Scottsville Reel, Razini Reel and a two-parted Nameless reel thought to be of Cape Breton origin.

Brad plays a set of Gibson drones modelled on a set of MacDougals (Captain John A MacLellan’s ?).  The mellow warmth of the drones was the perfect complement to Brad’s sweet chanter sound.

With the light stuff out the way Brad gave us a wonderfully musical rendition of MacGregor’s Gathering.   He was taught the tune by Willie Connell including birls in the ground rather than the double taps.  It’s a very melodic tune surprisingly rarely played despite being a Silver Medal set tune in 2012.

 

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Brad was presented with a Society tie and tune book by President Douglas Gardiner (once the Secretary had taken his annual subs).

We wish Brad all the very best on his return to competitive piping.  On this showing, he will show many a young buck a thing or two.

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Visit of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – 9th July 2019

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We are very pleased to announce that a quartet of pipers from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be our special guests on Tuesday 9th July.

They will be led by the accomplished Pipe Major Ben Duncan.

Our historic association with the Scots DGs is of course very close and so this will be a very special evening.

Please make a diary note and cancel any holidays.

 

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Match Report Tuesday 14th May 2019

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Field Marshall Montgomery

It is certainly golf weather and I wonder if it will last for the first major this Saturday in Paisley? On a beautiful Tuesday evening the band (minus the Pipe Major who was on call elsewhere) ran through a few of the standard sets under the guidance of Douglas Gardiner. All was going well until the pre pie stab at The Conundrum. A new tune to most and it can be quite tricky to get the head round the timing, but it is work in progress. In the meantime keep the tempo back.

This Sunday sees the final of the Scots Guards knock out competition between Cameron MacDougal and Callum Brown. 16.00hrs at the Scots Guards Association Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh.

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Graham Farr

The post pie piper on piobaireachd duties was Graham Farr, who tuned his band new Naill drones with a couple of old 6/8 marches, Bengullion and The MacNeils of Ugadale, composed by P/M John MacKenzie of Campbeltown, who joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1938. 

John became Pipe Major of the 2nd Battalion and the 8th Battalion of the regiment, before leaving the service in the late 1940’s. MacKenzie returned to Campbeltown and was involved in the local piping scene, where he helped organise the Kintyre Piping Society.

With a quick tweak of the drones he went into a big MSR, Jimmy Young composed by Donald Shaw Ramsay, Dora MacLeod and The Sound of Sleet.

Jimmy Young played under Ramsay when he was a member of the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band in the 1950s. Jimmy Young was a successful competitor and among other prizes he won the Dunvegan Medal at Skye  and the Senior March at the Argyllshire Gathering, both in 1961.

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John MacLellan and Jimmy Young

Graham then gave us the very melodic Donald Macleod tune, Cabar Feidh Gu Brath. This tune was one of Donald’s early compositions and the title translates as the Deer’s Horn Forever.  It was composed when the Seaforth Highlanders were merged with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. Donald joined the Seaforth Highlanders in 1937 and they merged with the Queens Own in 1961.

Graham did this tune justice and I would expect him to have this in his repertoire in the clasp competitions this season. The new pipe was steady and well balanced. Many thanks Graham for coming along and giving us a tune.

IMG_0832In two weeks time we will have the usual band session then hand over to Canadian guest piper Brad Davidson, who will be on piobaireachd duties.

Good luck to all those involved in Paisley and perhaps I’ll see you on Sunday at the SGKO.

Euan Anderson

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Match Report Tuesday 30th April 2019

IMG_0748On a night that saw a small turnout of 10 or so pipers there was chance to do a bit more work on the sound and have a run through a few tunes that had not been played for a while. With the piping calendar hotting up and the pipe band season nearly upon us time is marching on.  

A few stalwarts were missing and some were in exotic climes, George Campbell in China with the pipers trail, Craig Robertson in Barbados, some in Canada and our President working in London!  None the less the show goes on and thankfully we had Kenny MacBride in the wing to give us the evenings piobaireachd.IMG_0750

Kenny started the second half post pie piper slot with some small light music tunes but it was not long before he was into the big stuff with the MSR Donald Cameron/Inveraray Castle/McAlister’s Dirk. A quick tweak of the drones and Kenny played a very musical Lament for the Old Sword. Not much is known about this tune but there are some very fine recordings of it available in the internet.

IMG_0752And with that we were done.

Callum Brown from Aberdeenshire won the second semi final in the SGKO competition and faces Cameron MacDougall in the final on May 19th.

The line up for the Captain John MacLellan Memorial Competition has been announced and tickets will be on sale from the beginning of June.Be with nature

 

 

 

 

See you on the 14th May.

Euan Anderson 

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 16th April 2019

IMG_0680Tonight saw the start of our youth guest program for 2019 and breaking the ice the Society was delighted to welcome John Dew into the fold. John is currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and at the ripe old age of 21 is establishing himself in the solo and pipeband scene.

Originally from Crieff he was initially taught by Anne Spalding. He went to Strathallan school in Perthshire where he came under the wing of Cameron Drummond and latterly Craig Muirhead. He now receives guidance from Finlay MacDonald and Willie McCallum and is member of the Inveraray and District Pipe Band.

John has done a fair bit of damage in the B grade competitions recently and has won some significant prizes, including the overall B grade at last years Captain John Maclellan Memorial contest.

He is no stranger to the Scots Guards Association Club having competed in the Sunday Knock out completion run by P/M Jimmy Banks. 

The band had a few tunes while John warmed the pipe up the stairs. John came down around 8.30 and in an informal but knowledgable audience he started off with some 6/8 marches. The pipe was first class the music flowed. Those in the audience who were not that familiar with John realised that they were in for a treat.IMG_0685

Included in the marches were Dominic McGowen by Duncan Johnston and Duncan McGillivrey Chief Steward by Jim McGillivrey, who wrote the tune for his father who was long-time Chief Steward for the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario.

The hornpipe Duncan Johnston by Donald MacLeod was followed by 3 jigs, that included one of John’s own compositions. The Moonlight on the Heather by William MacDonald, Benbecula, The Follow-On by John Dew and Alex MacDonald by Norman MacDonald

John is a student of music and while comfortable with established tunes and settings he is a enthusiast and promoter of modern tunes and ones not in the main stream. His MSR was MacLean of Pennycross, The Doune of Invernochty by William Grant and a tune new to most, if not all the audience, The Merry Men of Mey by Brian Birse, that I think you will find in Seumas MacNeill Book 2 .

What a first half and there was quite a buzz during the pie break.

IMG_0684During the second half John played some lovely 3/4 marches including his own tune The Roses of Upper Inverroy, 42nd Parallel by Ryan Canning and A Nusa Wedding by Rory Campbell.

His performance included wee strathspeys and reels and showed off Johns musical ability and finger dexterity to the full. He threw the old stagers in the audience a bone with 3 great big 2/4/ marches Pipe Major Roddy MacLeod MSB by Chris Armstrong, Dugald MacColl’s Farewell to France by John MacColl and The Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount Forrest. Full of swing and music. First class stuff.

John concluded his recital with one of this years silver medal tunes, The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute. This is an attractive tune that can be played boldly and while one of the shorter tunes it is very musical. John got the very best from it and what great end to a fantastic evenings entertainment. 

Note: Archibald the eighth Earl of Argyle, succeeded his father in 1638, and was created Marquis of Argyle in 1641. Between 1640 and 1650, as head of the Coventanting party, he became the most powerful noble in Scotland.  Angus MacKay tells us that, after the decapitation of King Charles, he had the honour to place the crown on the head of his son when he retreated to Scotland; but on the restoration he was attainted of high treason, for corresponding with Cromwell, and was executed at Edinburgh on 27th May 1661. The composer is not known. IMG_0681

John certainly made his mark, not just with his immaculate playing, but in the manner he presented himself and the music he was going to play. There is no doubt that this young man will be a force to be reckoned with. He is one of the new breed of composers and his music can be found on YouTube and facebook where you can listen to the tune of the month.

https://www.facebook.com/JohnDewComposition/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCExJM9jH5MRsXbzWuGgAUyA/videos

Many thanks John for taking the time and effort. It was greatly appreciated.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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