There is good news and bad news. Lets have the good news first. There are golf courses in heaven. Fantastic. The bad news is that you are on the first tee tomorrow morning. Nae sae good.
No one knows when their time is up and there is never a good time to go, or is there? When I read of the passing of Willie McCallum Snr. aged 87, I thought, now that’s not a bad way to sign off. Up in Stornoway having just listened to your son achieve yet another major piping success and in the company of friends at the evening ceilidh. Can think of a more fitting way to conclude lives journey?
The loss to Willie Jnr and the rest of the McCallum family will be immeasurable, but perhaps there is some solace to be found in that he had a good kick of the ball (as my mother used to say) and passed away in an environment he truly loved amongst friends and family.
William McCallum Snr, was the head of the Kintyre Pipers Society and a primary organizer of many competitions and events, including the annual Springbank Invitational.
I smiled when I read the article in the pipes/drums that included a quote from Willie about his dad.
“He’s the only person I’ve met, who can listen to piping 24 hours a day. He’s got an amazing appetite for listening to bagpipes. It’s huge. I’ve never met anyone who loved it so much.”
I had a father like that. He could kill a party stone dead by putting on the latest piping LP that had been recently added to the collection. We all know someone like that and when they pass the world is a sadder place.
With a nod to the McCallum clan the P/M warmed the pipe and when settled played a few variations from The Lament for the Earl of Antrim. Rest in peace Willie.
Fergus Perks was up next and on a lovely set of Sinclair drones kicked off with a couple of 6/8s that included the little heard Highland Brigade Depot, composed by P/M Ronald McCallum MBE, that can be found in volume 2 of The Gordon Highlanders collection. After a fine MSR Fergus rounded of with a hornpipe and jig starting with The Clydeside hornpipe, Donald MacLeod Book 3. Then he bought a pipe chanter, a McC2, that Nils happened to have in his pipe box, fresh out the wrapper/tube.
The post pie piper was Nils himself who played a variety of light music tunes before trotting out a couple of first class 2/4 marches, Mrs. John McColl and Murdo MacLeod. He then gave us the ground of Corrienessan’s Salute before finishing with a digital flourish playing some hornpipes and jigs.
Jenny Hazzard followed and on the usual resonant pipe was quickly into her stride playing a lovely MSR before ending with a lovely slow Irish Waltz, Inisheer and the Gordon Duncan hornpipe, The Starloch Turkeys. Inisheer is the smallest and most Eastern of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Ireland.
The surprise guest and final player of the evening was Scott Hannah. I say surprise, as he himself was very surprised to be at the Eagles as he was supposed to be at a Shotts practice. A Rip Van Winkle moment saw Scott miss his train stop and end up in Glasgow. A return to Edinburgh and a practice at the Eagles was our gain. On a robust booming instrument, that will stand the band in good stead, Scott was in fine form playing a lively MSR before finishing off with some jigs, that included the great Donella Beaton, composed by George Johnstone.
And that was the evenings evening.
Callum Beaumont is in Edinburgh giving a recital this Sunday 17th April, at the Scots Guards Club, 16.00hrs.
The funeral of Willie McCallum will be held on Saturday, 16 April, at 1pm at Highland Parish Church, New Quay St., Campbeltown PA28 6BN.