Chris Gibb opened tonight’s session fresh from competitive success at Gourock with Scottish Power Pipe Band, and his first tune was arranged by P/M Chris Armstrong. Mrs Lily Christie and Jeannie Mauchline are surely two of the loveliest 6/8 marches in the repertoire and were presented on a magnificent Lawrie pipe. Chris continued with some 2/4 marches and jigs to set a very high standard for the evening. Chris teaches piping in schools in the Stirling authority, and has as many as 70 students in the age range of 8 to 17 years. Several of his students are following Chris’s excellent example in solo competition picking up prizes in the highly competitive junior ranks and are a credit to his teaching.
Keeping with the Chrises, RSAMD student Chris Ross dusted off the pipes next in preparation for a 10am lesson the following day. A very pleasant MSR began the set, followed by a nifty wee set of polkas from the Kerry area of Ireland. Chris claimed that he hadn’t tried them before, but then he also claimed that his pipes weren’t going…and that clearly wasn’t the case!
Tom Peterkin kept the tunes flowing and began with a march that he later told me was called “Tommy Somebody From Somewhere” which I thought was lovely. He also played some super Top of the Pops tunes, namely the Mist Covered Mountains and Crossing the Minch. Classics! Tom has surely had a punishing schedule of late given all of the political goings-on, and was impeccably turned-out playing his set in full suit and tie in a room that would have heated the pies without the need for an oven. Upholding standards, Peterkin, well done. (Tesco have nice irons on special this week, by the way.)
One of our guests tonight was a gentleman from South Africa, Peter Digby. Peter is the curator of the Transvaal Scottish Regimental Museum and is visiting Scotland on a research trip. He has been involved in piping for many years and remembers Bob Kilgour running the last Eagle Pipers night he attended in 1973!
Tonight’s piobaireachd was presented by Colin Campbell, another Eagle Piper who has recently been savouring the sweet delights of competitive success. Colin is a regular at Eagles, however this is the first time that he has given us the piobaireachd. The tune he chose to play for us was one of the most melodious in the repertoire with a fascinating story, the Lament for Mary MacLeod. This Patrick Og MacCrimmon tune commemorates the Skye poetess who lived in the 1600s, and was banished from Skye as punishment for failing to appropriately recognise the Chieftain in one of her poems.
She is said to have later composed a poem in his praise despite continuing to despise him, and is said to have requested to be buried face down in contrition. Colin presented this tune sensitively and confidently, striking just the right touch in some very subtle phrases. His pipe was solid and harmonious and concluded another very enjoyable evening.
Next Tuesday 24th of May the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland shall be entertaining us again, and there is a rumour that on the 21st of June, the RSAMD “Brat Pack” shall be shaking things up… watch this space…