With London enjoying Olympic glory and Piping Live! consuming Glasgow, Edinburgh this week feels as popular as an aggrieved Lead Drummer on Facebook. Tonight’s meeting, however, was very busy with a distinctly International flavour.
As usual, the Hon P/M commenced the playing with his Sinclairs rarely sounding better. They certainly have never looked better bedecked with the new Eagle Pipers’ Vanden Plas bag cover and cords.
Euan’s tunes included the outstanding 6/8, Bruce Gandy’s Farewell to the Iron Horse written by Rene Cusson. Rene was at North Berwick at the weekend and talked about the tune. Apparently the Iron Horse in question is actually a bar in Couer D’ Alene, Idaho, well known for selling a very strong punch drink named a Derailer.
Our very special guests tonight were The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band from Ottawa under the direction of P/M Bethany Bisaillion. They were literally straight off the plane with barely time for a fish supper. The Sons are continuing to multiply and amongst their ranks was our youngest ever visitor – wee James with mum
Another honoured guest tonight was Sid Moore from N. Ireland. Sid is over in Scotland guesting for Strathclyde Police at the Worlds and gave us a masterful show. Included in his selection was a trio of classic Donald Macleod marches, The Knightswood Ceilidh, Mrs Duncan McFadyen and the Hills of Kintail before finishing with the hornpipe, Piledriver, made famous by Sid’s fellow Ulstermen of Field Marshal Montgomery in the 1990s.
Guards Club member, Tom Fleming, borrowed the PM’s pipe and gave an impromptu medley which included the ever popular Itchy Fingers, Dark Island and Banjo Breakdown. Tom reportedly served in the Scots Guards with Jimmy Banks and “Big” Angus MacDonald. How many bandsmen nowadays would give their prized pipe for that experience!
Following a pie break which saw the Sons of Scotland more than make up for their lack of fish suppers (including wee James) Iain Speirs took the floor. Iain was fresh from winning the piobaireachd at North Berwick and tonight gave us his successful tune, The Kings Taxes, on an immaculate pipe with the delicate touches Iain has become known for in this masterpiece. It also served as a warm up for the Silver Chanter the next day in Skye where Iain was looking to retain his high success
rate in this historical recital contest.
Before we all headed off to dream of our own Olympic gold chanters, Dr Robert Gray deftly pulled out his pipes. Robert is widely regarded within the Eagles as one of the finest doctors to have ever donned a stethoscope. His patients think he is one of the finest pipers to have ever treaded the boards. Arguments aside, Rob is in fine form this season and for those of you not at Glasgow Green on Saturday will find him and fellow Eagle and ex-Boggie, Donald Macleod, wrestling with the judge at Strathpeffer Games. Look out for their feedback on Facebook.
Note: Iain Speirs subsequently claimed his 4th Silver chanter out of 5 attempts. Congratulations. He celebrated by joining South Canterbury Highland Pipeband New Zealand for a tune at the Worlds last Saturday.