The evening of the last Eagle Pipers’ meeting of 2011 was wet, windy and altogether wild (not in a good way). Fortunately the playing was none of these things.
Douglas Gardiner was first with pipes out of the box, beginning the end of 2011 on a set of Niall pipes, which were made in the 1990s for the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band, and have surprisingly short drones, creating a challenge in ‘reeding’ them. Gardiner has obviously discovered the secret, and he fired into the compound time signatures, with the 9/8 Ian MacFadyen’s Tuning Phrase and the 12/8 Jock Masson, followed by classic 6/8s Mrs Lily Christie and P/M Donald Maclean’s Farewell to Lewis. Gardiner finished his set with an Air called Morag Duncan, written by John Wilson and the lovely march The Centenary Jewel.
Robert Gray took the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs that were hanging around after a certain seasonal work function, and cracked out some great wee sets including The Man From Skye and The Seagull which was flying furiously in the conditions of the night.
A dedicated group of students joined us tonight from Glasgow amid speculation that they had been blown east-wards by the fierce winds, and also prompting the tune name The Weegies’ Welcome to the Eagle Pipers, although no such tune exists yet. We look forward to publishing the tune on eaglepipers.com soon. We were also joined by Don Bogue from Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA. Don is a Drum Major with his local band, and as always, we are very pleased that our international friends look us up when they’re in Edinburgh.
Jenny Hazzard kept the tunes flowing, fresh from her win at the Scots Guards Knock-Out competition, with an MSR and a stunning set of contemporary compositions including 3 from the pen of fellow Canadian Mike Grey,The Bottler, Doubled-Over Happy, and The Mallaig Ferry. Intricate and cleverly constructed pieces that demand nimble fingers!
The feature players of the evening were two brothers from a family of four piping sons who learn their piping at Edinburgh Academy. 13 year old Angus McPherson began with Argyll’s Crossing the River Po and Colin’s Cattle before a tremendous MSR of Achany Glen, the Caledonian Canal and Alick Cameron. It was pointed out to me by Donald Macleod that the march was written by Angus’ namesake, being the Angus MacPherson of Invershin. As a reward for making pertinent and very interesting links, Donald shall be making an appearance as Match Reporter in the future…
Older brother Hamish then took the floor and gave us a very musical and thoroughly enjoyable rendition of The Detroit Highlanders as an entrée to his first public performance of a piobaireachd, which was Too Long In This Condition. Hearty congratulations to both young men.
Eagle Pipers resumes for 2012 on Tuesday 10 January. We do hope you have all had a safe and happy festive season and we look forward to seeing you soon.