A large turnout tonight despite the dreich gloom outside. The group session climaxed with The Conundrum. This was less of the pipers’ dilemma it proved last meeting and showed plenty of promise.
The Post Pie Piper and Overseas Guest for the night was Brad Davidson from Waterloo, Ontario, home of the Blackberry smartphone (remember them?).
He runs a wealth management practice and has recently made a return to piping after a 24 year break.
He received some instruction as a teenager at summer piping schools from Donald MacLeod, and later from Garth Neel, Colin MacLellan, Ed Neigh, Willie Connell (a pupil of Robert Reid for 14 years) and Bob Worrall. He works with John Cairns, the double-gold medallist. Brad won The Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) in 1992 and has taken prizes in light music and piobaireachd in Ontario, around the U.S. and in Scotland many years ago and is hoping to return to his former form before too much longer.
Brad kicked off with a delightful selection of light music including the 6/8 March Glen Affric. This is a Donald MacLeod composition which Brad learnt from a manuscript belonging to Garth Neel, a student of Donald’s in the 1970’s. It remains, apparently, unpublished.
He also gave us the slow air, Koreen MacNeill; strathspeys, Isle of Hoy and Jane Campbell and reels, The Scottsville Reel, Razini Reel and a two-parted Nameless reel thought to be of Cape Breton origin.
Brad plays a set of Gibson drones modelled on a set of MacDougals (Captain John A MacLellan’s ?). The mellow warmth of the drones was the perfect complement to Brad’s sweet chanter sound.
With the light stuff out the way Brad gave us a wonderfully musical rendition of MacGregor’s Gathering. He was taught the tune by Willie Connell including birls in the ground rather than the double taps. It’s a very melodic tune surprisingly rarely played despite being a Silver Medal set tune in 2012.
Brad was presented with a Society tie and tune book by President Douglas Gardiner (once the Secretary had taken his annual subs).
We wish Brad all the very best on his return to competitive piping. On this showing, he will show many a young buck a thing or two.