Some 15 pipers sat round the table with practice chanters in hand to have a run through the Societies tune, The Eagle Pipers’ Society, a 6/8 march composed by the late Ronnie Ackroyd of Edinburgh City Police pipe band fame.
‘Ackers’ was a stalwart of the band helping the new Pipe Major, Duncan Cameron, re establish the band in the post war years. He was an excellent piper and of course is also famous for his drum majoring skills.
The picture right is Ronnie at Edinburgh castle in the Army class of 1936 with instructor John MacDonald front and centre.
John MacDonald (centre) with his pupils They are left to right, Ronnie Ackroyd, RU Brown, JB Robertson, RB Nicol and John Johnston.
The next picture is Ronnie (far left) next to Chris Anderson. Taken in Moscow in 1966 the young man in the centre is Gavin Stoddart who was guesting with the band on that trip. It was Gavin’s birthday and he was being presented with a gift.
The final picture is Ronnie, again far left, on the Eagle Pipers’ annual trip to Blair Atholl. Ronnie held the position of Fear an Tighe/Pipe Major of the Society for a few years before handing the reigns to George Stoddart.
I remember Ackers as a very stylish gentle man with a great sense of humour. In his latter years his eyesight was not the best and while dining in Inverness at the Northern meetings he asked his eating companions what was on the television only to be informed in was a chicken cooking in a spit roast oven.
Ronnie composed a few tunes with probably the most well known being The Festival march. It is right and proper that the Eagle Pipers, adopt and play his tune named after the Society.
After the chanter session the pipes came out for a pre pie warm up. A few band tunes followed the pies before the floor was handed over to Gordon Hislop who was taking the opportunity of having a run through his Archie Kenneth Quaich tune.
Gordon settled the pipe playing some unusual 4/4 marches, The Old Boy and Hector MacDonald. An MSR followed and with that the pipe was ready for the Coel Mor. The tune of the evening was the very tricky MacDougall’s Gathering. A very old tune that has stood the test of time. The pipe and hands have to be in top form to do this justice. Gordon’s high G turned out to be spot on and once he settled down into the tune he gave a well structured and musical performance that, should he repeat it, will stand him in good stead for the Archie Kenneth Quaich that will be held on Saturday 3rd March in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society rooms in Edinburgh. There are no heats this year.
And with that we were done.
Practice the Societies march and the MSR in the book as they will be the focus in 2 weeks time.
Hope to see you there.