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Match Report Tuesday 11th June 2019

As usual the evening started with a solid session from members playing as a group. The Conundrum is coming along nicely. Reports from the committee meeting state that a drone tuner has been secured so in two weeks some time will be spent on sound.

D2EF6AA9-AB6F-459C-8520-8653C5A9281ECongratulations to Glenn Brown for his win in the Donald MacDonald quaich. By all accounts it was a first class contest and hats off to Society members Iain Speirs and Peter McCalister for being part of the elite group of players that took part in the event.

Our post pie piper was Brodie Watson Massey who we had not heard from in a while. Brodie has put his toe, very successfully, in the professional ranks recently taking part in CPA C grade competitions. Making the step from junior to the professional ranks is not easy as it is generally combined with tough educational demands, university/employment decisions and of course most of the young top players are member of top grade 1 pipe bands. A busy schedule indeed.


Under the watchful eye of a very proud gran

Brodie started off with some 6/8 marches that included the classic The MacNeils of Ugadale, composed by John Mackenzie.

He continued on an excellent pipe with a competition MSR that was first class. Some jigs followed, Kenny Gillies of Portnalong, The Biddy from Sligo and The Cameronian Rant. These showed what young hands can do and the audience were tapping along while admiring the finger dexterity.

IMG_0958A small selections of strathspeys and reels followed before Brodie gave us the classic Lord Lovat’s Lament.

He settled into this big tune quickly and it clear he knew what he wanted to do with the phrasing. This tune will stand him in good stead this year and a tune everyone should have in their repertoire for life.

A great wee session from Brodie and those who were there were lucky to hear him in such fine form. Many thanks Brodie for taking the time to pop in a give is a tune.IMG_0959

Lord Lovat’s Lament

On the death of his cousin in 1698 Simon Fraser assumed the title of Lord Lovat, though it was many years before, with the help of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, he was able to secure the legal settlement of the estate. Following the Battle of Culloden Lord Lovat took refuge in various hiding places on his own estates and eventually with MacDonald of Morar. By now lame he was captured on an island in Loch Morar in June 1746 and taken in stages to London. He was executed on Tower Hill on 9th April 1747.


Simon Fraser The 11th Lord Lovat

Lovat is said to have looked forward to his internment in the family vault at Kirkhill with all the pipers from John o’ Groats to Edinburgh playing at his funeral. But the government refused to release his body for burial in Scotland.

And with that we were done. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 25th June where we will be working on the sound and going through quite a bit of the repertoire from the Society book, including The Conundrum, Caber Feidh and Andrew Warnock etc.

Hope to see you then

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M


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Match Report – 28th May 2019

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.

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Visit of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – 9th July 2019


We are very pleased to announce that a quartet of pipers from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be our special guests on Tuesday 9th July.

They will be led by the accomplished Pipe Major Ben Duncan.

Our historic association with the Scots DGs is of course very close and so this will be a very special evening.

Please make a diary note and cancel any holidays.


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Match Report Tuesday 14th May 2019


Field Marshall Montgomery

It is certainly golf weather and I wonder if it will last for the first major this Saturday in Paisley? On a beautiful Tuesday evening the band (minus the Pipe Major who was on call elsewhere) ran through a few of the standard sets under the guidance of Douglas Gardiner. All was going well until the pre pie stab at The Conundrum. A new tune to most and it can be quite tricky to get the head round the timing, but it is work in progress. In the meantime keep the tempo back.

This Sunday sees the final of the Scots Guards knock out competition between Cameron MacDougal and Callum Brown. 16.00hrs at the Scots Guards Association Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh.


Graham Farr

The post pie piper on piobaireachd duties was Graham Farr, who tuned his band new Naill drones with a couple of old 6/8 marches, Bengullion and The MacNeils of Ugadale, composed by P/M John MacKenzie of Campbeltown, who joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1938. 

John became Pipe Major of the 2nd Battalion and the 8th Battalion of the regiment, before leaving the service in the late 1940’s. MacKenzie returned to Campbeltown and was involved in the local piping scene, where he helped organise the Kintyre Piping Society.

With a quick tweak of the drones he went into a big MSR, Jimmy Young composed by Donald Shaw Ramsay, Dora MacLeod and The Sound of Sleet.

Jimmy Young played under Ramsay when he was a member of the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band in the 1950s. Jimmy Young was a successful competitor and among other prizes he won the Dunvegan Medal at Skye  and the Senior March at the Argyllshire Gathering, both in 1961.


John MacLellan and Jimmy Young

Graham then gave us the very melodic Donald Macleod tune, Cabar Feidh Gu Brath. This tune was one of Donald’s early compositions and the title translates as the Deer’s Horn Forever.  It was composed when the Seaforth Highlanders were merged with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. Donald joined the Seaforth Highlanders in 1937 and they merged with the Queens Own in 1961.

Graham did this tune justice and I would expect him to have this in his repertoire in the clasp competitions this season. The new pipe was steady and well balanced. Many thanks Graham for coming along and giving us a tune.

IMG_0832In two weeks time we will have the usual band session then hand over to Canadian guest piper Brad Davidson, who will be on piobaireachd duties.

Good luck to all those involved in Paisley and perhaps I’ll see you on Sunday at the SGKO.

Euan Anderson

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Match Report Tuesday 30th April 2019

IMG_0748On a night that saw a small turnout of 10 or so pipers there was chance to do a bit more work on the sound and have a run through a few tunes that had not been played for a while. With the piping calendar hotting up and the pipe band season nearly upon us time is marching on.  

A few stalwarts were missing and some were in exotic climes, George Campbell in China with the pipers trail, Craig Robertson in Barbados, some in Canada and our President working in London!  None the less the show goes on and thankfully we had Kenny MacBride in the wing to give us the evenings piobaireachd.IMG_0750

Kenny started the second half post pie piper slot with some small light music tunes but it was not long before he was into the big stuff with the MSR Donald Cameron/Inveraray Castle/McAlister’s Dirk. A quick tweak of the drones and Kenny played a very musical Lament for the Old Sword. Not much is known about this tune but there are some very fine recordings of it available in the internet.

IMG_0752And with that we were done.

Callum Brown from Aberdeenshire won the second semi final in the SGKO competition and faces Cameron MacDougall in the final on May 19th.

The line up for the Captain John MacLellan Memorial Competition has been announced and tickets will be on sale from the beginning of June.Be with nature





See you on the 14th May.

Euan Anderson 

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 16th April 2019

IMG_0680Tonight 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.IMG_0685

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.

IMG_0684During 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. IMG_0681

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.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 2nd April 2019

IMG_0655A smaller turnout saw around 10 pipers take to the floor and this gave little bit time to work on the sound. The chanters, set to a lower pitch of 478, allows a nice balance to be achieved when playing different makes.

The band had a solid run through a number of tunes before the pies. The post pie piper was Andrew Yu who, due to band commitments, has not been with us for some time. Andrew settled the pipe with a few light music tunes before giving us a lovely Lament for Captain MacDougall. Andrew is in practice for the SPA contest that is coming up this weekend and he has a very good grasp of this tune which should stand him in good stead.

‘This Lament was composed for one of the Chiefs of the MacDougall’s of Dunolly by the hereditary piper of the Clan, Ronald MacDougall, who also composed a Salute known as ‘Captain MacDougall’s Salute.’IMG_0658

“The MacDougall’s had hereditary pipers up to the time of Admiral Sir John MacDougall, K.C.B., who died in 1864, when his piper Ronald—Raonull Mór—left for some reason or other, and was afterwards appointed Pipe-Major to the local Militia. These Clan pipers lived at Moleigh, near Oban, where they had a portion of land called ‘Croit nam pìobairean,’ or the Pipers’ Croft. They were all MacDougalls; the last who kept a school of pipers there being Ronald Bàn. Ronald Mór, who was grandson of Ronald Bàn, was the last hereditary piper of the Clan.” 

The folklorist and translator, Katherine Whyte Grant of Oban, author of Myth, Tradition and Story from Western Argyll (Oban, 1925), responding in the Oban Times, 30/01/1926,  to a query from Sheriff J. P. Grant, thought the dedicatee of this piobaireachd was probably Captain Duncan MacDougall (b. 1744), although she did not know the circumstances of his death.’

IMG_0663The final player of the evening was George Campbell who was quickly into his stride with some unusual 3/4 marches. It transpired that George had composed the first one himself, (that has yet to be named), followed by the The Merse Piper composed by Stephen Small. 

The ‘Merse piper’ is the late Timothy Ainslie. He served with the Black Watch during the 2nd world war and subsequently settled in the Borders focusing his piping with the Duns Pipe band and teaching in local schools. Stephen Small was one of his pupils.

The final tune was The Dunkirk Boatman, composed by John Balloch. Balloch spent his retirement years living in Port Bannatyne, Isle of Bute where he died in 1949. He was known by the locals simply as ‘the Pipe Major’.

The tune ‘The Boatman’ was composed for Alistair MacMillan of Port Bannatyne who was a sailor with the Caledonian Steam Packet Company and who took part in the Dunkirk evacuation rescuing British and French forces in 1940 under constant attack from the Luftwaffe. When informed of the tune Alistair told the Pipe Major that he had not been alone and therefore the title should refer to ‘Boatmen’, not ‘Boatman’. Great stuff George and many thanks for the tune info.IMG_0660

George then played competition MSR that finished with the great GS tune The Little Cascade. With the pipe well and truly settled he gave us Corrienessan’s Salute. George got all the music from this and it was great end to the night.

Interestingly Corrienessan’s Salute was the tune with which pipe maker R. G. Hardie won the Gold Medal at Oban in 1947. Archibald Campbell described the occasion in a letter to Seton Gordon.

‘The piping at Oban was not very satisfactory, and there was not a single decent performance in either piob. competition. All the players of any repute had entered, but Archie MacNab, Donald MacLeod, PM. Donald Maclean, Malcolm MacPherson and Roderick MacDonald did not appear and Brown and Nicol could not get leave. 

A joiner in Glasgow called Hardie was given [the medal] for a not inspiring rendering of Corrienessan. [Robert] Reid was placed first in the open with Craigellachie, a tune which is completely beyond him. D. Maclean was second with an indifferent performance of Antrim. I thought Robertson should have been first with the Children, not that he played it well, but he was about the most local.’ 


‘Archibald Campbell was born and brought up at Kilberry, Argyll. He entered the Indian Civil Service in 1900 and served in India until 1927, latterly as a judge of the High Court in Lahore.

He retired in 1927, and thereafter until his death in 1963, he was secretary of the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society. As such he was responsible for the Society’s publications and he was active in the production of the first ten books of the present series.

In 1948 he published his own collection, the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor. He made numerous contributions to the Oban Times and to other piping journals, and he was widely recognised as a leading authority on all aspects of Highland bagpipe music.’

And with that we were done.The next meeting will be on Tuesday 16th April where the band will start work on the great Peter R.MacLeod 2/4 march, The Conundrum.

JD piccieIt will be short band session as we have guest piper John Dew as out guest piper. Please make the effort to come along and hear one of Scotlands top young musicians.


Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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