It was a very timely Eagles as it offered a chance to pay respects to Christine (Bunty) MacLellan whose passing had been marked with a beautiful service at Warriston the day before. A chance for a tune, dram and story telling about the good old days when men were men and Colin and I were still at school.
I got the ball rolling and with a nod to Bunty played the 2/4 marches Achany Glen composed by Angus McPherson, Young Willie Murray, composed by Capt. John MacLellan and John McColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage.Once I was done and dusted the baton was handed to Brian Mulhearn, the man behind the Ayrshire Bagpipe Company. (www.ayrshirebagpipes.co.uk).
On a lovely looking and sounding pipe Brian treated us to an array of light music before finishing off with MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart. What a great start to the night. Brian had brought a young charge with him, Alexander Jeanrenard from Kensington in South Africa. Brian is one of the people behind the John Farmer memorial prize and gave us a bit of background on it.
The John Farmer Memorial prize was set up a few years ago in recognition of all the good work done by John Farmer for pipers in South Africa. John Farmer made a significant contribution to the piping in South Africa and some of his friends would like him to have some recognition posthumously. The prize goes to a young piper under the age of 21 in South Africa who has the best results over a series of competitions. The prize for this competition is an all expenses paid 2 week trip to Scotland to have one week’s tuition at the College of Piping and one week’s tuition at the National Piping Centre.
It is hoped that when this piper returns to South Africa he or she will continue the good work of John Farmer by educating others. This year the winner was Alex Jeanrenaud. The previous winner was Joshua Hogg.
The Post Pie Piper was Andrew Allison who was again ‘without mother’ but in fine form. And not just his playing mind you as he found a comb on the floor and handed it to Iain Speirs.
‘I think you dropped this?’ got a loud laugh from the gang. Speirsy handed it to Douglas Gardiner ‘I don’t know what you’re laughing at’
The next player was young Alex from South Africa and he very deftly stepped through several tunes before tackling the competition arena with tunes that included Dora MacLeod and Bessie McIntyre. He has certainly put the prize to good use and we wish him all the very best when he returns home.
Craig Martin was the final player of the evening and he was quickly into his stride with the light music that included some big 2/4 marches, including the great Abercairney Highlanders. Craig finished off the evening with the lovely The Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay.
The Sweet Highland Girl would have been pleased.