In the history of solo piping there have been some memorable milestones: 1781 – the first Falkirk Tryst competition; 1871 – the first Argyllshire Gathering; and in 1974 – the first ever Glenfiddich at Blair Castle.
29th May 2012 will now join this list as the date of the inaugural Eagle Pipers’ Society Handicap Slow Air/6/8 March contest.
The rules were simple!! 35% audience vote, 35% percent judge’s decision, and 30% special age/playing ability handicap. Pipers were not allowed to vote for themselves. All pretty straightforward. Aye.
12 pipers vying for a place in history entered. The table below details the various performances with a unique insight into the comments from the confidential audience crit sheets. In order of play:
|Piper||Slow Air/March||Crit Sheet Comments|
|Tom Peterkin, Forfar||Loch Rannoch/Farewell to the Creeks||Outstanding dress and deportment – should have been a Guardsman. Nice tie.Shame its not round the neck.Nice drones – all two of them.|
|Dr Bill Fraser, Aberdeen||Epilogue /Tug Argan Gap||Beautiful drones. MacDougalls?Lovely slow air.V. smart trews|
|Diarmid Lindsay, Fife||Lairig Ghru/Kirkwall Bay||Smashing Sinclairs.Properly dressed.Swinging 6/8.|
|Craig Sutherland, Crieff||Mozart 11th Sonata/Lord Drumochter||Did Mozart come from Skye?Smashing pipe.Very musical.|
|Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh||Welcome to the World, Annie/Bruce Gandy’s Farewell to the Iron Horse||Where is Tom Speirs tonight?Top shelf stuff.Love the Iron Horse.|
|Douglas Gardiner, Edinburgh||Leaving Barra/Lady Diana Spencer’s Welcome to Deeside||Who?Stop. Stop. Stop. Please…|
|Tracey Williams, New Zealand (and Glasgow)||My Love, My Joy, My Sorrow/PM Wm Boyle||Drones smooth as hot chocolate.Nice Torphicen & Bathgate mini kilt.Excellent.|
|Donald MacLeod, Edinburgh||Hills of Kintail/Ishbel T MacDonald||Confident and controlled.Want to get up and march.Where are the Boggies drum corps?|
|Dr Robert Gray, Gorgie||Hector the Hero/Geese in the Bog||Cracking pipes.Only the geese could march to this 6/8Braw cardigan.|
|Allan Harper, Edinburgh||Fair Maid of Barra/10th HLI Crossing the Rhine||Beautiful bass drone – so good it has a mind of its own.Lovely performance.|
|Dr Fergus Perks, Edinburgh||Loch Monar/Mrs Lily Christie||Strong performance in the classic idiom.Great tune selection.|
|Andrew Gray, Edinburgh||Nameless Gaelic Air/Jean Mauchline||Good pipe and technique.Good tunes.A swinger. The tune not you.|
The contest was judged by that well known Slow Air aficionado, the Hon PM Euan Anderson, who was sympathetic enough to the competitors not to gesticulate too much during performances.
After a brief consultation with the contest referee to apply the secret handicaps, the results and prizes were announced as follows:
1st: Tracey Williams (custom made EPS bagcover and silver cords)
2nd: Craig Sutherland (six Colin MacLellan Pipe Chanter Reeds)
3rd: Jenny Hazzard (unique CD from Capt. John MacLellan’s archive of the late Pipe Major Robert Reid)
4th equal: Tom Peterkin, Donald MacLeod, Fergus Perks, Diarmid Lindsay (no prizes)
Great prizes for a competition which truly captured the fun and enthusiasm of the Eagle Pipers’ Society. Look out for the next one…
Tracey had a quick change of cover and gave us a few celebratory tunes to close the evening.