Tonight saw the start of our youth guest program for 2019 and breaking the ice the Society was delighted to welcome John Dew into the fold. John is currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and at the ripe old age of 21 is establishing himself in the solo and pipeband scene.
Originally from Crieff he was initially taught by Anne Spalding. He went to Strathallan school in Perthshire where he came under the wing of Cameron Drummond and latterly Craig Muirhead. He now receives guidance from Finlay MacDonald and Willie McCallum and is member of the Inveraray and District Pipe Band.
John has done a fair bit of damage in the B grade competitions recently and has won some significant prizes, including the overall B grade at last years Captain John Maclellan Memorial contest.
He is no stranger to the Scots Guards Association Club having competed in the Sunday Knock out completion run by P/M Jimmy Banks.
The band had a few tunes while John warmed the pipe up the stairs. John came down around 8.30 and in an informal but knowledgable audience he started off with some 6/8 marches. The pipe was first class the music flowed. Those in the audience who were not that familiar with John realised that they were in for a treat.
Included in the marches were Dominic McGowen by Duncan Johnston and Duncan McGillivrey Chief Steward by Jim McGillivrey, who wrote the tune for his father who was long-time Chief Steward for the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario.
The hornpipe Duncan Johnston by Donald MacLeod was followed by 3 jigs, that included one of John’s own compositions. The Moonlight on the Heather by William MacDonald, Benbecula, The Follow-On by John Dew and Alex MacDonald by Norman MacDonald
John is a student of music and while comfortable with established tunes and settings he is a enthusiast and promoter of modern tunes and ones not in the main stream. His MSR was MacLean of Pennycross, The Doune of Invernochty by William Grant and a tune new to most, if not all the audience, The Merry Men of Mey by Brian Birse, that I think you will find in Seumas MacNeill Book 2 .
What a first half and there was quite a buzz during the pie break.
During the second half John played some lovely 3/4 marches including his own tune The Roses of Upper Inverroy, 42nd Parallel by Ryan Canning and A Nusa Wedding by Rory Campbell.
His performance included wee strathspeys and reels and showed off Johns musical ability and finger dexterity to the full. He threw the old stagers in the audience a bone with 3 great big 2/4/ marches Pipe Major Roddy MacLeod MSB by Chris Armstrong, Dugald MacColl’s Farewell to France by John MacColl and The Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount Forrest. Full of swing and music. First class stuff.
John concluded his recital with one of this years silver medal tunes, The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute. This is an attractive tune that can be played boldly and while one of the shorter tunes it is very musical. John got the very best from it and what great end to a fantastic evenings entertainment.
Note: Archibald the eighth Earl of Argyle, succeeded his father in 1638, and was created Marquis of Argyle in 1641. Between 1640 and 1650, as head of the Coventanting party, he became the most powerful noble in Scotland. Angus MacKay tells us that, after the decapitation of King Charles, he had the honour to place the crown on the head of his son when he retreated to Scotland; but on the restoration he was attainted of high treason, for corresponding with Cromwell, and was executed at Edinburgh on 27th May 1661. The composer is not known.
John certainly made his mark, not just with his immaculate playing, but in the manner he presented himself and the music he was going to play. There is no doubt that this young man will be a force to be reckoned with. He is one of the new breed of composers and his music can be found on YouTube and facebook where you can listen to the tune of the month.
Many thanks John for taking the time and effort. It was greatly appreciated.