NYPB at The Eagle Pipers – Edinburgh, 11 May 2010

The much anticipated evening with members from the National Youth Pipe Band lived up to all expectations and in front of an audience of approximately 50 Alisdair McLaren’s (Director of the NYPB) charges strutted their stuff and put on a show that was quite extraordinary.

The National Youth Pipe band was formed in 2004 by the National Piping Centre in Glasgow and is funded by the Scottish Arts Council. Alisdair recently took up the reigns and has produced a series of outstanding concerts all over Scotland, the next being on the 29th May in the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline.

There are about 40 pipers in the senior band and just about as many sides and mid section musicians. When you take into account that there is a development band with 15 pipers then there is no doubt Alisdair has his hands full. A very worthy project that deserves all the support it can get.

Emma Buchan is the current Pipe Major of the senior band and is also the Pipe Sgt. of Torphichen and Bathgate who got their season off to a great start with a win at Dunbar and a third at Gourock.

Lucy Ferguson

While the representatives of the NYPB, Emma Buchan, Lucy Ferguson, aged 12, Kyle Howie, Ross MacKay, aged 15, and David Shedden, warmed up we got the evening under way with a few tunes from society member Colin Campbell who has recently arrived in the Edinburgh and is teaching the OTC.

Around 8 o’clock the NYPB mini gang took to the floor and treated the audience to half an hour from their outstanding concert repertoire. After their very entertaining spot they disappeared back upstairs to ‘whack’ in their solo chanters. This gave Alisdair a chance to give a bit of background about the NYPB and their ambitions for the future.

David Shedden

First up to give us a few solo tunes was David Shedden who had a fine set of full silver Hendersons on his shoulder. During his excellent selection he gave a fine MSR starting off with the 91st at Modder River. The Battle of Modder River (known in Afrikaans as Slag van die Twee Riviere, which translates as “Battle of the two rivers”) was an engagement in the Boer War, fought at Modder River, on 28 November 1899. So should we open the age old argument of 91st or 93rd at Modder River?

The pre-pie piper was Ross MacKay a member of the Johnston Pipe Band. Ross is only 15 but gave a very accomplished performance and his MSR started with Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal. When Ross was finished we had the traditional pie break and time to recharge the glasses.

Ross MacKay

To start the second half 12 year old Lucy Ferguson took the stage. There are some people who are meant to play pipes. She is one. This is not an observation on her playing but more on her style and panache. Similar to Gordon Walker she just looked like she was made to play bagpipes and they were made for her. She treated the audience to some first class light music and kicked off her MSR with The Highland Wedding. Great stuff Lucy. Well done.

Kyle Howie, from the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, was next for shaving and on a strong solid pipe showed great finger dexterity and technique that would have had the late great Seumas McNeill turning in his grave.

Emma Buchan, NYPB and Torphichen & Bathgate

The final performance of the evening was from PM Emma Buchan who after settling her pipe with some light music, that included a competition MSR, gave the piobaireachd of the evening The Old Men of the Shells (setting no 1). I remember hearing Emma playing some years ago and she has certainly fulfilled all the promise she showed then. A first class tune.

A first class evening and it was great to see such young talent on display. Many thanks to Alisdair and his troops for coming through to Edinburgh and giving us such a lovely evening.

As you know the Hon Pres. is hosting the first ever Eagles night outside Scotland in Ottawa, Canada on Wednesday 12th so here’s hoping they match the very high standard that was set on Tuesday. I’m sure a match report from that meeting will follow shortly.

Kyle Howie

Up and coming events are The Scottish Championship at Dumbarton on Saturday 22nd May followed by Cameron Drummond v Craig Muirhead in the semi final of the knock out competition in the Scots Guards’ Club on Sunday 23rd May at 16.00hrs. £10 per head including the traditional curry.

Our next evening is on Tuesday 25th May 19.30hrs, so come along and if you play please bring your pipes and give us a tune.

Your aye

Euan Anderson
Hon. Pipe Major
The Eagle Pipers’ Society


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