After the festive excesses and our seasonal break it was back into action for the Eagles. We were delighted to host a few pupils from George Heriot’s School who, despite it being a ‘school night’, were delighted at the opportunity to have a tune.
Willie McIntyre is the senior piping instructor and he is ably assisted by Ally Henderson, the current Pipe Sergeant with Inveraray and District Pipe Band. In recent years the band have stepped outside the closed schools competitions and have taken part in several of the ‘Major’ events, not least The World Pipe Band Championships, where they have had notable success.
The Eagles have quite a connection with Heriots as Colin Maclellan, the Hon P/M, Euan Anderson, Iain Speirs and his brother Gregor all played in the band. All be it in slightly different eras. Back in the day it was Jack Crichton who was the main piping instructor and he handed the baton to P/M John Allan who in turn handed it to Willie. The school has produced many great pipers and drummers and it is pleasing to see that continuing.
The quartet for the night was Andrew Henriksen, Paul Christie, Cameron McGill and Finlay Wallis.
The quartet came down and Willie introduced the boys and gave us a wee bit of background on some of the tunes they were going to play. They kicked off with a small medley of tunes starting off with a 4/4 arrangement of Captain Carswell, before going into The Soup Dragon and Fraser Allison’s Jig. A great start and on fine sounding pipes.
The boys continued with some hornpipes, Mr Jack and Bob Strachan. The band regularly play at the school’s Christmas concert at the Usher Hall and their next set was from last years show. The Rainbow Country, The Golden Ring and Blue Cloud. The hands were warmed up and the crisp fingering was to be admired. Willie gave the drones a quick tune and the band signed off with some of their standard repertoire.
What a great session of music but we were not done there. Holly Fredlander, also a pupil at the school, then gave us a solo spot. As the pre pie piper she didn’t waste any time before getting into the big stuff with a great MSR, Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, The Caledonian Society of London and Sandy Cameron. Holly is a great talent and she regularly plays in solo competitions. Tom Speirs is currently guiding her with piobaireachd and to conclude the first half of the evening she gave us a very musical Corrienessan’s Salute. (What a crunluath). Excellent stuff.
We were all ready for the pies and for the last time Stacy – our regular barmaid-brought them to the table. Stacy has a new job and unfortunately can no longer do a Tuesday night, so it is with a heavy heart we bid her farewell. During her tenure she has listened to some 100 piobaireachds and learned that piping is far more important than world politics.
After the pies Andrew Allison gave us a few tunes. He was sporting his new Christmas present, some kind of beetle tattoo. (not one of the fab four you understand). Andrew had given the pipe a bit of a makeover and was in fine form.
And with that we called it a night. The flu bug had captured a couple of victims in Cameron Drummond and The Hon Pres. himself so we wish them a speedy recovery. We also wish Tom Speirs the best of luck, as he is going into hospital for an operation that will hopefully see him fully fit and back on the judges bench soon.
Many thanks to the troops from George Heriots for taking the time to give us such a great start to the year. Our next meeting is Tuesday 3rd February. Remember if anyone wants one of the piobaireachd slots just let me know and I will put it in the diary.