The first post-Northern-Meetings Eagle Pipers night is always expected to be a little scarce on both attendance and bagpiping motivation. Although this was the case, we had an enjoyable evening with a respectable turnout of enthusiastic souls.
Due to the Hon PM being off in Cyprus on his jollies, the honour of opening the evening’s piping fell to me. Having had a short rest after Inverness, I was glad for the incentive to get back at it, and took the opportunity to play a variety of light music still on the must-practise list ahead of the late-season competitions at the Army School and in London.
Upon finishing my stint, my bagpipe was still the only one in the room (it was deemed the “Eagle Pipe” for the evening), so the Hon President Colin MacLellan decided to give us a few tunes (since they really are his pipes). Colin gave us a lovely slow air and some 6/8 marches, a big MSR, and a good helping of the Lament for Mary MacLeod – all played annoyingly well and with wonderful ease, given that he hadn’t played at all for some months.
Next up was Lachie Dick, only slightly late in arriving due to public transport woes from his temporary home at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy (as a final-year medical student, not a patient). Lachie surprised us with a quiz for the evening – he announced that he was to play a series of tunes, all of which were linked by a common theme, to be deciphered by the audience. He began with some 3/4 marches including Far over Struie; moved on to the Atholl Highlanders jig and Coppermill Studio; then to the Clan MacColl, Inveraray Castle and the Little Cascade; and finishing with an excellent rendition of the piobaireachd, the King’s Taxes.
Anyone got it? No, didn’t think so.
After (quite) a bit of cajoling and hinting from Lachie, I’m proud to say I cracked the code, and guessed that each of the tunes had some association with one of the pipers who will be playing at the Glenfiddich championship at Blair Castle this October. Some of these were good, strong links (Bruce Gandy composed Coppermill Studio, the Clan MacColl is for Angus, Stuart Liddell is from Inveraray). Others were considerably more tenuous (the Little Cascade was composed by GS MacLennan, who was in the Gordon Highlanders, hence Gordon McCready), for which Lachie quite rightly took a degree of abuse.
Anyway, thanks go to Lachie for making the effort to come up with this little quiz and keep us entertained, and for actually learning a number of the tunes just for the purpose.
And thanks to everyone else who came out for a very pleasant evening, despite the inevitable September piping fatigue. We look forward to many more over the winter, as the competition season winds down and we can all spend some time learning new music and taking the chance to give it a public airing in a friendly and non-competitive atmosphere.