The last meeting of the year and time for a band bash. A few were absent, due to late holidays and other seasonal commitments, but all in all an excellent turn out.
Life is a funny old game. Remember the old adages that were trotted out when you were young? ‘Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye’, ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ ‘As long as you have your health, nothing else matters’, and the like. Quoted many times and on most occasions cause to roll the eyeballs, but from time to time they come winging home. Tuesday the 8th December was one of these times.
As the last evening of 2015 began the Hon P/M passed on the sad news that Lucy Speirs and Christina Dick has passed away. Lucy, wife of Gregor Speirs, succumbed to a long battle against cancer that she fought with the utmost dignity. Christina, Lachie’s mum, passed away unexpectedly and another highland sole was taken. Both ladies deserved to live much longer and their loss will be immeasurable to family and friends. To Gregor,
and the Speirs Clan: to Lachie and the Dick Clan, our deepest condolences.
It was with a certain amount of esprit de corps and pride that the band took to the floor, as it gave us all a chance to play a tune for the girls and their families.
The traditional Green Hills set of 3/4s were followed by the 4/4s Flett from Flotta, The Rowan Tree and Scotland the Brave. After the slow airs, The Dark Island and My Home and a couple of 6/8s the band were ready to be a bit more adventurous. The MSR of The Highland Wedding/Susan McLeod and The High Road to Linton (twice through) was played with aplomb. Extra points were awarded for combining several settings of the march and hitting the break into the strathspey together!
The pies and a festive cherry or two were very welcome and fuelled the band to new heights, as they returned, post pies, with the hornpipes and jigs, The Train Journey North/Crossing the Minch (in a speedboat), The Banjo Breakdown and The Glasgow City Police Pipers. And that was that for the band. Beer was required.
The P/M then gave us a few tunes on a miniature set of Glens and passed them around for people to try. We then had a few tunes from Andrew Gray who paid a lovely tribute to his good friend Lachie.
Colin McNeill gave us a few tunes kicking off with Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban. Colin doesn’t make it along all that often so it was a real treat to hear him play and have him in the band.
Craig Martin was the final player of the night. As he fished the pipe out the box the P/M bade farewell Katherine Belcher (the wee spoon) who is returning home to Melbourne after a years sabbatical in Gods country.
Craig warmed up the pipe with some excellent light music and once it was locked in he gave us the lovely Lament for Donald of Laggan. Quite a poignant moment as we cast our minds to Gregor and Lachie.
Here’s to you boys. Our thoughts and hearts are with you. We are as one,
The Eagle Pipers’ Society.
Donald of Laggan was Domhnull MacAonghais 8th laird of Glengarry, who lived in the later 16th and first half of the 17th century. His turbulent father, Angus Og, bequeathed him a series of long-running feuds with the Grants and the MacKenzies. The Glengarry lands in the north marched with MacKenzie territory in Lochalsh and Loch Carron, producing almost constant friction. Hostilities took place by land and sea, culminating in the burning of the church of Cillechriosd and the capture and destruction of Glengarry’s stronghold, Strome castle, at the mouth of Lochcarron. This latter provided the subject of another lovely, “Castle Strome”
Donald of Laggan died aged more than a hundred, on Sunday 2ebruary 1645, the day of the second battle of Inverlochy.
NEXT MEETING Tuesday 19th January 2016