After a great piping weekend that saw our own Donald McLeod lead the organisation of a hugely successful Duncan Johnstone memorial competition (the results can be found on Pipes and Drums) and Margaret Dunn making it through to the final of the KO competition at the Scots Guards Club last Sunday it was business as usual at the Eagles where the P/M led the way with a few opening tunes. With retrial from the police just days away he will have plenty of time to broaden the repertoire, get his handicap down and take in a few ‘Games’ over the summer.
Next up was Robbie Ross who competed at the weekend in the C Grade. Robbie was in fine form and having settled the pipe with some competition light music that included Brigadier General Lorne Campbell V.C. of Akarit, The Crags of Stirling, Captain Duncan MacGregor, The Man from Glengarry and Thomson’s Dirk, he rather unexpectedly sailed off into The Gathering of the McNab’s. A very welcome and solid rendition. Robbie has recently become a parent and is the proud father of Willie Ross-no pressure there then !
Craig Martin was the post pie piper and he started off with The Garb of Old Gaul. This tune is said to date from 1759 when the 42nd Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) returned from service in North America, where they lost over 300 officers. Recruiting parties were sent into the north to swell the ranks, the incentive to wear the Highland dress. According to General Stewart of Garth, a Gaelic song ‘In the Garb of Old Gaul’ (in the highland dress) was composed by a soldier of the 42nd to mark the success of the recruiting campaign.
Major John Reid, an accomplished musician, arranged the song as a march for the military band of the regiment.”
Craig also played some competition stuff starting off with The Knightswood Ceilidh and Major David Manson at Clachantrushal.
Next up was Cameron Drummond who due to work commitments was making his first appearance at the Eagles this year. He quickly settled his pipe and played a slow air, Lullaby for Mel, that had an unusual structure that I suspect a band could do a lot with. He then hammered out 4 of the best jigs I have ever heard. Angus John McNeil of Barra, Drew James MacIntosh, Angus Sutherland and The Blue Lagoon. Hardly pausing for breath he launched himself into The Braes of Castle Grant, the very tricky Glengarry Gathering, Mrs Duncan MacFadyen and the Lochaber Gathering. Four competition strathspeys followed and just when we though we were in for a 4x4x4 he played a cocktail of small reels to finish. It was simply marvellous.
It’s a fickle old game, the piping, but surely with a bit of application to the set tunes Cameron will be one of the major threats this year in the medals and the big MSR contests. On that note he is presenting his selected tunes at the Piobaireachd Society Conference this weekend in Burnam. Roddy McLeod and Michael Elder are doing the same. Quite an usual idea to have the current competitors giving their thoughts and playing bits and bobs from the tunes. It should be very interesting.
Nils was the brave man that had to follow Cameron but its clear that we are heading into the competitive season as he too was quickly into the big stuff giving us Mrs john McColl, The Conundrum, Blair Drummond, Lady Louden, McAlister’s Dirk and Duntroon.
Last, but by no means least, was Douglas Gardiner or Mad Posh Dougie, as Tracey Williams recently christened him. TW was supping a dram (or two) and having a touch of ‘home sickness’ when she declared she was missing everyone and reminiscing about good times especially with ‘that Mad Posh Dougie’ So with great affection Douglas Gardiner MPD took to the floor and gave us a superb Viscount of Dundee on an immaculate bagpipe. A wonderful tune, full of music and a great way to close a great night.
See you in two weeks time.
The Piobaireachd Society annual conference and AGM will be held on the weekend of 22/23 March in the Birnam Hotel.
Hopefully competing pipers will want to attend the Saturday sessions especially. All welcome. No need to be a member of the Piobaireachd Society. Booking for the conference is via the College of Piping. Day attendees are welcome and can turn up on the day without prior booking.
Saturday 22nd March
Some aspects of the teaching of Bob Nicol and Bob Brown: an oral history James Beaton
Preparing for Competition Murray Henderson
Set Tunes Demonstration Roddy MacLeod, Cameron Drummond, Michael Elder
Opinions on the development of Piobaireachd Allan Hamilton from Piper’s Persuasion Interviews
Sunday 23rd March
Settings. How do we explain the differences? Barnaby Brown
The conference will be preceded by the College of Piping Lecture at 7.30pm in the same venue on Friday evening 21st March. Jonathan Gillespie will talk on James Campbell.
Pipers Euan MacCrimmon (Lament for the Earl of Antrim, Lament for Mary MacLeod) and Jack Taylor (Salute to James Campbell, Lachlan MacNeill Kintarbert’s Fancy)
Tickets on the night or from the College of Piping.