To close the year we had our traditional members competition, a slow air and jig, organised by President Douglas Gardiner. The judges were two ladies who have tolerated piping for some considerable time, Alexandra Michael and Tina Anderson.
To balance things out Douglas had devised a handicap system based on experience and expertise. The better players had marks deducted from their score but how many and who got what……..well only Douglas really knew what was going on!
Some 14 players entered and the P/M was on duty to steward and ensure that there was no bribery of the bench, as the word was out that Prosecco was the order of the day.
The batting order was,
While there prizes for the top 3 there were also awards for the best break down, the most amusing break down and best dressed.
Kenny started off the competition with Fear A Bhata and the jig Clean Sweeping. Watch at you tube
He set the benchmark very high but you could see the handicap scythe coming his way as the President got his calculator out. The first half was not without incident as Lachie Dick decided to play in denim tartan (no dress and deportment award there) and
Ninnian Christie broke down when tuning up. Hard to believe but true. He also broke down in his jig, The Fittie Boatman, so 2 break downs in one performance.
Michael Upton did the classic ‘ I have made it to the end “ only to break down in the last bar of his jig.
The pre pie piper Iain Dewar played, She Moved through the Fair, which is an old Irish folk song first recorded in words around 1909 by Padraic Colum. Many have since recorded versions of this tune, including Simple Minds, who used the melody for their 1989 hit, Belfast Child. Iain finished off with another Irish favourite, The Rakes of Kildare. ‘Rakes’ are known to be young men disposed to immoral behaviour, to wine, women and song, often squandering their inheritance and running up debt. Sound familiar? Watch Iain at You Tube
The pie break and more alcohol had a distinct effect on the 2nd half of the competition. Martin Wilson kicked things off with the well know slow air, Away in a Manger followed by the classic jig, Jingle Bells. Excellent stuff but how would this be viewed by the judges who were singing along with harmonies! Martin on You tube
Fergus Perks was up next and played The 51st Highland Division’s Farewell to Sicily and The Skyemans Jig. Lovely playing and the slow air (slow version of Farewell to the Creeks) hit the spot. See You Tube
Craig Robertson announced his own tunes Mrs Anderson of Craigmount Hill and Mrs Nils Michaels, that he had written especially for the occasion. One sounded remarkably like Morag of Dunvegan and the other very similar to The Glasgow City Police Pipe Band!! Who knew? Not the judges.
George Campbell and Gordon Hislop had pushed the boat out and were certainly both vying for best dressed. George played one of his own slow air compositions, that has still to be named, followed by the jig Donald MacLean. You tube video
Andrew Yu was last to play and he tuned his pipes in under 30 seconds. Perhaps that had something to do with the President holding up a clock as he started?
And that was that. Only the results to come. A quick decision? Eh no, but somehow the handicaps were applied and the following prizes were awarded.
1st Fergus Perks
2nd Craig Robertson
3rd Iain Dewar
Best Break Down Ninnian Christie
Most amusing breakdown Mike Upton
Best Dressed Gordon Hislop
What a great night and what a fantastic year it has been for the Eagles. In the modern era Piping Societies do well to survive, such is the competing demands on everyones time, but there is something quite unique in coming together for an informal tune and a chin wag.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 8th January and the AGM may be on Tuesday 22nd January but more information will follow in that regard.
Thank you for all your support throughout the year and Merry Christmas to you all.