Due to a clash with Inveraray games and members on holiday this Tuesdays meeting has been cancelled. Normal service will resume on Tuesday 2nd August.
With P/M Jimmy Banks MBE celebrating his award, post Queens Garden Party, in the downstairs lounge of the Guards Club, the Eagles were in full flow up the stairs. Attendances can be small at this time of year, with people away on summer holidays and the Highland Games kicking in, but it is pleasing that the Facebook page has hit 1028 members and we are still getting new young members to come and give us a tune.
There was only one way to start the evening and the Hon. Pipe Major got us under way with late great Willie Lawrie composition, The Battle of the Somme.
This lovely 9/8 March was written by Willie Lawrie of Ballachulish in 1916, the same year as the battle. Born in 1881 he won both gold medals in 1910 and became Pipe Major of 8th Battalion of the Argyll and Southern Highlanders in 1914. He died in 1916 having spent months in the trenches and was survived by his wife and three children. His pipes are on display in the Argyll and Southern Highlanders museum in Stirling Castle. He composed several great tunes, including the famous 2/4 marches, John MacDonald of Glencoe, The Pap of Glencoe, The Braes of Brecklet and Mrs. H. L. MacDonald of Dunach.
When the P/M was done he handed over to Michael Upton who,while a regular attended at the Eagles, had never played solo at the Eagles. On an old set of Robertsons, that used to be on the shoulder of the late Andrew ‘Lefty’ Craig, Mike started off with some 4/4 matches. The drones were resonant and steady. Once into his stride Mike gave us some slow airs followed by a couple of 3/4 matches. Great stuff and now that he has broken his duck we hope to hear more from him.
Next for shaving was one of the new breed referred to earlier, Chris Happs. Chris is on school holidays and is hoping to hit one or two games over the summer. When he had settled the pipe he gave us a very musical Caber Feidh Gu Brath,composed by
Next up was his school chum from Heriot’s, Brodie Watson Massey, or Gaz to his mates. On a first class pipe he started off with a 6/8 march, Mavisbank House, composed by Calum Watson of National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland fame. He went onto play a hornpipe and jig and finished with a very nice performance of The Groat.
The post pie piper was Nils Michael who was quickly into his stride knocking out some big 2/4 marches. Nils is clearly enjoying his break from competitive piping and was in fine form.
The final player of the night was Lachie Dick, who was on a few days R and R from hospital duties. He was cheered on by Andrew Gray, who is enjoying his first school summer holidays. Lachie borrowed the P/M’s pipe and it was a real treat to hear him again. Once the drones were locked he gave us a first class MSR followed by a slow air and 3 jigs. The first was The tricky Braes of Mellanish followed by two of Lachie’s own compositions, Trip to Uist and Christina Dicks Jig. Fantastic stuff.
And with that we were done. We headed downstairs to join in the celebrations but there was too much catching up to do as the assemble had clearly had a well deserved ‘kick at the ball’.
THERE IS NO EAGLES MEETING ON TUESDAY 19th JULY.
This is due to a clash with Inveraray games where members will be playing or judging. Several people are on holiday so we thought a night off was the order of the day. Normal service will resume on Tuesday 2nd August.
There was no match report for the last meeting as, truth to tell, there was not much to report. The evening fell victim to the majority of pipers being involved in bands and Tuesday being a big practice night, especially before a major. So well done to Michael Chiang, for keeping the first half going, and the P/M who did the second half. As a reward Michael got a full maintenance session and advice on setting up his bagpipe. He was a tired boy.
With a small hiatus in the band season and the games in full swing hopefully the next meeting will be better attended. It is on Tuesday 5th August KO 20.00hrs in the Scots Guards Club and should be a special night. We are up the stair as P/M James Banks, family and friends will be in the downstairs bar celebrating
Jimmy’s well-deserved MBE. I dare say the two evenings will merge at some stage. There may even be a few stragglers from the Queen’s garden party being held that afternoon at Holyrood Palace. It is unlikely that Her Majesty will attend the Guards Club but you never know what the lure of an Eagles pie may do.
She may even have a go at the record?
Hopefully two young Eaglets, Chris Happs and Brodie Watson-Massey will be there to give us a tune. Brodie ‘Gazebo’ Watson-Massey to give him his full title. For those of you who follow Pipes/Drums you will have seen the photographs of him receiving medical treatment, having been wiped out by the judges flying gazebo at Thornton Highland Games on Saturday, during a fine performance of MacCrimmons Sweetheart.
For those who missed the excitement here they are. Bad blowing of a different kind.
Luckily Brodie was not badly injured and recovered to play again. Chris struggled to play, as he couldn’t stop laughing.
See you on Tuesday,
Eagle Pipers v Cold Play?
A tough one and when the text came in ‘Pipey, I can’t make it tonight, off to see Cold Play’, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the author was Iain Dewar. Chris Martin is probably used to fan adulation (probably from young girls) but little did he know that a middle aged piping rocker was in the midst cheering him on. Viva La Vida!
The P/M got the evening under way starting with the hornpipe The Mokwa, followed by a few jigs. Some quick time 2/4 marches followed and he finished off with a few 6/8s.
Next up was Michael Chiang who had a few tunes on the P/M pipe. Despite the blow stick being about 3 inches too long for him he quickly got into his stride playing some light music, before giving us the ground of The Little Spree. This was Michael’s inaugural tune at the Eagles and we hope it is not the last. He is in Edinburgh and currently looking for a tutor.
The pre pie piper was Nils-recently married-Michael and despite his new responsibilities he was in excellent form on a good pipe. He played a large selection of strathspeys and reels before concluding with the 2/4 marches Murdo’s Wedding and Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque.
Sir Arthur Bignold was a politician in Scotland who served as the Member of Parliament for Wick Burghs from 1900 to 1910. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1873 he was a founding member of The Kennel Club. He was proprietor of Lochrosque and Strathbran Estates in Ross Shire and served as President of the Ross and Sutherland Benevolent Society as well as a magistrate of Ross and Cromarty and Chief of the Gaelic Society. It was around this time the bagpipe march Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, composed by John MacColl, was named after him.
Pies and time for a chat. Tickets for the John MacLellan memorial dinner are on sale and going well. Here is the facebook link. https://www.facebook.com/Captain-John-A-MacLellan-MBE-Memorial-Trust-120949951337845 If you want to secure a ticket please contact Colin at firstname.lastname@example.org
The post pie piper was Jenny Hazzard, who is marking her 20th wedding anniversary to Colin by heading back to Canada to reminisce and visit some old stamping grounds. We were all expecting The Unjust Incarceration, 20 years is quite a sentence, however, as usual, Jenny trotted out some excellent light music while her husband looked on all doe-eyed
The final player of the night was Andrew Donlon who was making a welcome return to the Eagles. Andrew is from Wooster, Ohio and plays with local band, The MacMillan United Pipe Band, but is over in Scotland to have a run out with the Spirit of Scotland. On a solid pipe Andrew settled the instrument with some big stuff that included the little heard Hugh McKay composition, Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling, followed by the great G.S. march, Inveran.
This got us all in the mood for the evenings Ceol Mor, Rory MacLeod’s Lament. This tune can be found in full in the Campbell Canntaireachd MS and in book 11 of the Piobaireachd Society collections and is probably dedicated to the Chief of the MacLeod’s of Skye around the 1760s. Andrew made a great job of this wonderful tune and it was a real treat to hear him play. Thanks Andrew.
And with that we were done. The next Eagles meeting is on Tuesday 21st June.
Members Slow Air and 6/8 March competition
There is nothing quite like a wee members competition to prompt a few to dust off the cobwebs and put in an extra hour of practice. Some ‘weel kent’ faces showed up but were they fully paid up members? One for the stewards to assess while taking the obligatory doping samples. Yes there were quite a few dopes there, the 3 judges leading the way, but more of that later.
The competition was organised by the Hon President Colin MacLellan, who briefed the ensemble and the judges regarding the unique (to piping) scoring system. He went through it twice for the benefit of those from Fife. Aw right neebs.
In short the judges were issued with scoring cards that had to be displayed immediately after the competitor had played and left the room. Points were to be deducted for excessive tuning, those who did not buy the judges a drink and those who were T.C.T.H.B.s.
With an array of top prizes on display that included tickets to the John Maclellan Memorial dinner, the new JM book and CDs, Eagles bag covers, cords, cufflinks and a fair amount of plonk, the gloves were off.
The 3 judges for the evening, picked for their inability to understand what was actually going on were, Davy Drysdale, Pete Toole and Hamish Anderson. Pete gave us a quick scoring demonstration and the signs were not good.
Peter McCalister was up first and gave us Oft in the Stilly Night and Jean Mauchline. An excellent run was not reflected in the judges scoring who had already dropped most of the cards on the floor. Peter was followed by the first guest player from Heriot’s school, Brodie Watson-Massey who played a first class Megan’s Lullaby and Glendaruel Highlanders.
Jenny Hazzard was up next but her cards were already marked, certainly by one judge who clearly hasn’t fallen for the Canadian charm. Your secret is safe Davy. Jenny gave us The Easter Townships and Cameron MacFadyen. Next up was Greig ‘Dyson’ Canning, from Fife. Who I hear you ask? Yes fresh from his British Championship win with Inveraray and District to the Eagles to try and beat the kids for a wee prize.
Greig started with Hector the Hero and one would have thought the judges would have slammed him for his audacious sliding note towards the end but they were clearly having a nap. Dyson finished his run with The Dundee City Police Pipe band.
Next for shaving was Douglas Gardiner who was on a different pipe with RAF Halton stamped on the cover. Hopefully not a theft? DG gave us The Highland Cradle Song and P/M Sam Scott. Jim Cooper was up next and gave us one of the best performances of the night playing The Bells of Dunblane and Rabs Wedding. Erratic scoring/thinking from the 3 wise-not so- men cost him dear.
Fergus Perks gave us Oh My Dearest Dear and the classic Kenneth J MacLeod. Another fine performance, on a set of Tim Gellaitry pipes that were top notch. Alan Harper was next and played Cailin Mo Ruinsa, made famous by the singer Calum Kennedy and The 10th HLI crossing the Rhine.
Our second guest piper from Heriots school, Chris Happs, was the post pie piper, a title that he seemed somewhat bemused by. On an excellent pipe he gave us Scots Ballad and Angus MacKinnon. Chris is a member of the NYPB and is one for the future. In full No1 regalia having come straight from work, Craig Martin gave us Long Shall I return and Leaving Post Askaig.
We were on the home straight and the penultimate player of the night was Iain Dewar. He started with The Sleeping Tune. It must have had an effect on him as he nodded off during his 6/8, P/M Donald MacLean of Lewis. However, his good friend was on the panel, so you would have thought he might catch a break? Think again. Ankles done. The final player of the night was Gordon Hislop who played the slow air Ruth Grant, followed by the 6/8 Over the Chindwin, composed in 1944 by P/M Evan MacRae of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. The Chindwin is a river in Burma and was a major barrier in WWII for the Japanese trying to invade India and for the Allied forces trying to reoccupy Burma.
Once the Hon President had totted up the scores the results were announced as follows.
Cunningly the judges had worked out the no alcohol could be given to children so they were waiting in the wings to collect their unexpected bonus. Not so daft after all.
What a great night and all participants are to be congratulated for taking the competition in good spirit and heart. Thanks to Colin for all his efforts in organizing it and to our erstwhile judges who were last seen staggering up Haymarket singing Sunshine On Leith.
We are holding a Slow Air-6/8 March Contest at our next meeting.
It will be judged by a bench of distinguished non-pipers with an informal handicap system to ensure a level field for lesser experienced pipers.
The Hon President has assured the prizes will be “substantial”.
No tuning lights, no set tunes, just fun.
It’s the end of April/beginning of May. It’s snowing! The band season is just about upon us and the first major is on the 19th . 3 weeks! Dig out the capes, mitts and hip flasks.
The down turn in the weather saw a quieter evening at the Eagles and the P/M got the evening under way. After trotting out some old favourites he ended with the ground and first variation of the Salute to The Prince. The heavens opened and down came the purple rain.
Next up was Fergus Perks, who is coming back into form after a bit of an absence from the pipe. A quick tune of the drones and he was off into some lovely light music. The drones stayed where they were and the pipe was very easy on the ear. Fergus concluded his spot with the Urlar of Colin MacRae of Inverinate’s Lament which is also known as Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament. While published in the Kilberry and Piobaireachd society books there is a setting of Colin MacRae in the William Ross’ collection from 1885. This setting has toarluath and crunluath variations (singlings only) that rounds off this very melodic tune very nicely.
Pies were very welcome on this cold night.
To finish off the night Jenny Hazzard, who was breaking in a new sheepskin bag, (T.T.O.BB), played a few tunes that included the 2/4 March Murdo MacLeod, composed by Peter R. MacLeod Snr.
Peter Roderick MacLeod Senior was born in Aird, Uig, on the Isle of Lewis, on the 13th December 1879. During the First World War he saw action in Egypt and Gallipoli. From 1902-1927 he was employed as a shipwright in a number of Clyde shipyards including Fairfield’s in Govan and Charles Connell in Whiteinch.
For many years he stayed at 7 Exeter Drive in Partick, Glasgow. It was during the latter part of this time that he met with an industrial accident involving a ship’s deck hatch that led to his right leg having to be amputated. The resultant ill-fitting artificial leg caused him much pain throughout the remainder of his life. He died in Erskine Old Soldiers Hospital near Renfrew on 16th June, 1965.
Jenny finished with the ground of McNeill of Barra’s March and that was the evenings evening.
Dates for the Diary
This Friday, 6th May, the Eagles are at the Royal Scottish Pipers Society rooms in Rose Street Lane, Edinburgh, KO around 19.30. Come along and bring your pipes.
This Saturday, 7th May, at the Scots Guards Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, the annual Scots Guards Association dinner, featuring Angus MacColl Snr. Tickets £25 are still available