Daffodils on the table? Ah yes a wee welcome to our Welsh friends due to play at the National Stadium on Saturday. Little did we know then that the dragon was to be slain (in grand fashion) and they were to be sent home to think again.
Some 14 pipers took to the floor for the band session. Not the grand affair that was awaiting Jenny in Belfast, the back in Ireland concert celebrating the great music produced back in 1987 in Ballymena by the 78th Frasers, but an enthusiastic group none the less.
Joining the company for the first time were Martin Wilson Senior and Junior and it didn’t take Martin Snr long before he was into the swing of things and on the pies. To Martin Jnr, pipe out and on parade next time please.
The post pie piper was Iain Dewar who played Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban (the first tune in the new Eagles book that was being handed round the company- although still in draft form) followed by Pipe Major Jimmy Christie of Wick. This is originally a fiddle tune composed by Addie Harper of Wick. The title honours Jim Christie founder and Pipe Major of the Wick Girls’ Pipe Band who toured in Scotland and abroad. Iain concluded his slot with the ground of The Lament for the Old Sword.
Next for shaving was Alan Harper who was in fine form and in practice mode for the Archie Kenneth Quaich that is due to be competed for on Saturday 4th March in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ rooms. Alan gave us the ground and a couple of variations of The Lament for Captain MacDougal.
The final player of the evening was Douglas Gardiner, who settled the pipe with a few tunes and an MSR before giving us an immaculate King’s Taxes, a tune attributed to Ranald Ban MacDougall, circa the early 1700s. Of note this was the first tune to win one of the new Piobaireachd Society competitions at Oban in 1904, gaining for the winner, John MacDonald of Inverness, the princely of sum of £20.00– at a time when the Gold Medals at Oban and Inverness brought their winners a mere £8.00.
Douglas, on an immaculate pipe, did this great tune justice and was rewarded with an extra pie for his efforts.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 7th March where the band will focus on the tunes Those Endearing Young Charms/The Highland Cradle Song and the Scotland the Brave set. The book is now at the printers and may be ready for the next meeting? See you there.