Piping Live/Worlds week is just fantastic. A chance to attend so many really great events and meet up with old chums from far and wide for a catch up and beer, however, if you are involved in playing in a band it can certainly take its toll, mentally and physically. The two-day World Pipe Band Championships is a marathon event with the Saturday simply being too long a day with bands still on the field at 7.30pm. Do we need a grade 1 qualifier on the Friday? This snafu lies at the feet of the RSPBA. They are trying but there is much work to do. Oh and let the crowds (customers) closer to
the bands. Why, when we march into a circle, do we have metal railings placed in an oblong shape yards away from the musicians? (That goes for all contests.). Enough said.
Anyway with the ‘worlds’ done and dusted (hats off to FMM and all the other prize winners) the focus moves back towards the solo scene with Oban, The Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner and Inverness on the horizon. Thus, while we had another great turnout at the Eagles, pipes were short supply with competitors perhaps taking the opportunity for some well earned R and R.
The P/M broke the ice and rolled out a few selections. Happy to have handed back the Chesney chanter and reed, that was near 487 on a cold day, he was back to the more sonorous, rich Sinclair. To set the mood he included a couple pieces of Ceol Mor before seeking a small refreshment. This was to be the first of many as it turned out to be one of those nights!
The Sons of Scotland were once again in attendance, squeezing in another night at the Eagles before hitting the road back to Canada. In fact there were quite a few International attendees with Derek Midgley, Michael Grey, Sonny and Susan Lo, some German tourists, and the pre pie piper Christopher Lee from Hong Kong. It was also nice to welcome Paul Hughes and Laura McMillan to the fold who are here with the Scots College kids from Sydney, who are performing at the tattoo. Despite a busy schedule Laura managed to get back in the circle with her home band Inveraray and District.
Chris is on the piping degree course in Glasgow and is having a run with Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band this season, who were a very creditable 3rd in Grade 2 last week. Chris is a charming young man and very self-effacing and perhaps one of the most improved pipers in 2016? In front of quite a daunting audience he fished the pipe out the box and quietly went about his business. On a very steady and well-balanced instrument he opened with some 3/4s, two of Bruce Gandy’s and one that he composed himself with a friend, named Andrew Tennant’s first Tennants. He then went into an MSR, P/M Willie McLean, Duncan Lamont and Broadford Bay. A quick tweak of the drones and he was into a couple of Gandy hornpipes before ending with the classic jig, Alan MacPherson of Mosspark. First class stuff and with that we were into the pie break.
Speaking of Bruce, he and Alex Gandy will be at the Scots Guards Association Club in 2 weeks time, Tuesday 30th August to give a recital. There will therefore be no Eagles meeting as such that night. No pies but a dam fine curry and music to be had. £10 a head-tickets on the night.
With pipes in short supply the P/M offered up his own pipe and Cameron Drummond gave us a quick blast of some of the Inveraray medley tunes and concluded with a very fine ground of The Lament for the Earl of Antrim. He is in fine form having recently won the clasp in Skye and played an excellent tune in the Silver Chanter. Let’s hope he can take this form forward.
The final player of the night was Paul Hughes. Having been cajoled mercilessly by the P/M and the crowd he reluctantly broke his duck at the Eagles and taking the P/M pipe gave us a couple of 6/8s. While he clearly found the pipe a bit strong for him (we can get you a seniors reed from CRM) it was great to see him up on the floor.
While Mike and Derek sensibly caught the 10.34 train back to Glasgow others ended up in Platform 5. Not a train in sight but plenty of refreshments in the new pub in Haymarket Terrace. A catch up with old friends that went into the small hours.
There are still a few tickets left for the Captain John MacLellan Dinner on Saturday 27th at the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh.
The next Eagles Meeting will be on Tuesday 13th September.