Our last gathering began with a few tunes, as traditional, by the Hon PM Euan Anderson, who was in fine form. His brother Hamish was in attendance for the first time – hopefully not the last as we look forward to hearing some (more) embarrassing stories of years past.
The Hon President Colin MacLellan was up next, playing rather annoyingly well for someone who hasn’t competed in a number of years. He gave us a couple of tunes by his late father – the slow air Christina’s Lullaby and march Major General Frank Richardson. He carried on with 6/8 marches Dr Ross and Tug Argan Gap, then into the 2/4s Inverlochy Castle, the Lochaber Gathering, and Mrs H.L. MacDonald of Dunach. These were followed by strathspeys and reels, including Cabar Feidh, Maggie Cameron, the Piper’s Bonnet, Neil Angus MacDonald, Bessie McIntyre, and Sandy Cameron. Excellent stuff.
Lachie Dick then got out his old faithful bagpipe, after having been trying out another instrument in recent months. All agreed the current pipe was sounding most excellent and there was certainly no evident reason to abandon it. Lachie also started with a slow air (practising for the next meeting’s competition?), then moved onto some classic 4/4 marches, and the 2/4 marches David Ross of Rose Hall and Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal. He finished with strathspeys and reels, namely Susan MacLeod, Struan Robertson, Major David Manson, and the Creagorry Blend. The latter is, in Lachie’s words, “a Uist tune, by somebody somebody of somewhere”.
We were delighted to next welcome Robert Gibb for his inaugural Eagles performance. Robert was also on great form (no one sounding a bit like they really should in February), playing first some little marches including the Scots Guards regimental march, the Garb of Old Gaul. He played the excellent 2/4 marches Conon Bridge and leaving Lunga, then strathspeys and reels, all the names of which I don’t know, but they included Tulloch Castle and the Man from Glengarry and were very well played.
Eddie Gaul was up next (there’s a joke in there about his garb, but he’s not that old), starting with some classic 3/4 marches including the Rowan Tree, the Green Hills, and some quite unexpected slide notes. Next was a slow air complete with trilly notes on D, then into the rather more traditionally presented – and very enjoyable – Hugh Kennedy, the Braes of Castle Grant, Dora MacLeod, the Caledonian Society of London, the Smith of Chilliechassie, and Lieutenant Colonel DJS Murray. We hope to see Eddie become an Eagles regular.
The piobaireachd for the evening was the responsibility of Silver Medallist Peter McCallister. Although the Hon. PM had joked at the start that this would likely mean we’d be hearing an obscure, unknown setting of an ancient tune recovered from a peat bog in Knoydart, as it turned out Peter presented a much more modern piobaireachd: Donald MacLeod’s A Son’s Salute to His Parents. Always well prepared and most considerate of the audience, Peter circulated copies of the tune, plus some other books of modern piobaireachd for us to have a look through (Donald MacLeod, Archie Kenneth, and the Glenfiddich Collection). Peter got the pipes settled with a few very nice 3/4 marches, some strathspeys and reels, and a slow air and jig (another one practising for next time perhaps), culminating in the famous Hammer on the Anvil with his self-composed 5th and 6th parts. He then treated us to the aforementioned piobaireachd, which was expertly played on a lovely bagpipe.
Charlie MacLean rounded off the night – returning for more after the Army School’s visit for the previous meeting. Charlie played a series of classic ¾ and 6/8 marches, readying himself for his upcoming Pipe Major’s Course examination. We certainly wish him well.
That was the evening. Next time it will be March, and a special event: a member’s Slow Air and Jig competition. This is sure to be an excellent night, so we encourage anyone who is interested in a tune, a listen, or just a drink and a chat, to come along and enjoy. The competition itself is open to all members with entries on the night and is an own-choice submission of one two-parted slow air and one jig.