The evening started off quietly enough with the P/M opening events with a few tunes from his old Pipeband Club repertoire. Just back from a sojourn to Germany where a weekend was spent with The Clan Pipeband from Frankfurt, he was a little green round the gills from too many dunkles and drams. Not to mention the famous German sausage. You have to hide from that!
Next up was first time debutant Craig Martin. Craig is a regular attender at the Eagles but this was his first time on the floor. He opened with the classic 6/8 marches Leaving Port Askaig and Donald MacLean of Lewis. He then played the 2/4 marches Duncan McColl and Clan McColl before closing with some fine light fingered small music.
The next victim was Nils ‘lover boy’ Michaels. Nils made the schoolboy error of changing his FB status and didn’t think we would spot it. We did. Nils took the banter in good spirit and opened with the famous Rabbie Burns piece ‘Ae fond Kiss’
A fond kiss, and then we sever;
A farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
While there were no groans per say, there was no doubt that, for some reason, Nils was more relaxed than usual as he moved into Farewell to the Creeks. He then played the great Desert March followed by Mrs H L MacDonald of Dunach before closing with a couple of hornpipes.
The post pie piper was Andrew ‘High Tower’ Gray who wanted to have a run before the Highlands and Islands competition in Oban at the weekend. Once the pipe was settled he played Major Manson at Clashantrushal, Highland Harry and the reel Major Manson.
The final player of the night was Kiwi Matt Fraser from Dunedin. Matt was up for the challenged and played some unusual but musical small music to settle the pipe. He started with a slow air The Jutland before playing the MSR, Mrs John MacColl, Lady MacKenzie of Gairloch and The Sheepwife.
He then played an immaculate Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament. The pipe and high G were spot on and Matt did one of the great tunes the utmost justice
‘Ronald MacDonald of Morar, who was known as Raghnall Mac Ailein Oig, was a famous character in Highland lore, celebrated as a hero and composer of pipe music. ‘Fionn’ recordsin his ‘Historic, Biographic and Legendary Notes’ attached to David Glen’s Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd (p.20) that ‘Ronald MacDonell of Morar was famous as the composer of many pipe tunes that have stood the test of time…[he was] composer of “The Finger Lock”…and it is well known that he was the composer of the tune called “A’ Bhòilich”—The Vaunting. In addition to being a first-class piper, he was also a player of the harp and violin. He was known as Ronald of the Cross, and was the third son of Allan Og of Morar, fourth in descent from Allan, eldest son of Dougal, Chief of Clan Ranald, who was killed in1520. In a MS. history of the Clan Ranalds, dated 1700, he is referred to as “The best player upone the pype now living.’
And that was that. We bid our guests farewell including David Mclean from Alberta and his P/M who both disappeared into the night before we could chat. Drop us a line guys and let us know how your trip went.
James Gore is on the piob next time Tuesday 14th May. See you then.
Hon Pipe Major