Michael Grey in town………
After the festive excesses and our seasonal break it was back into action for the Eagles. We were delighted to host a few pupils from George Heriot’s School who, despite it being a ‘school night’, were delighted at the opportunity to have a tune.
Willie McIntyre is the senior piping instructor and he is ably assisted by Ally Henderson, the current Pipe Sergeant with Inveraray and District Pipe Band. In recent years the band have stepped outside the closed schools competitions and have taken part in several of the ‘Major’ events, not least The World Pipe Band Championships, where they have had notable success.
The Eagles have quite a connection with Heriots as Colin Maclellan, the Hon P/M, Euan Anderson, Iain Speirs and his brother Gregor all played in the band. All be it in slightly different eras. Back in the day it was Jack Crichton who was the main piping instructor and he handed the baton to P/M John Allan who in turn handed it to Willie. The school has produced many great pipers and drummers and it is pleasing to see that continuing.
The quartet for the night was Andrew Henriksen, Paul Christie, Cameron McGill and Finlay Wallis.
The quartet came down and Willie introduced the boys and gave us a wee bit of background on some of the tunes they were going to play. They kicked off with a small medley of tunes starting off with a 4/4 arrangement of Captain Carswell, before going into The Soup Dragon and Fraser Allison’s Jig. A great start and on fine sounding pipes.
The boys continued with some hornpipes, Mr Jack and Bob Strachan. The band regularly play at the school’s Christmas concert at the Usher Hall and their next set was from last years show. The Rainbow Country, The Golden Ring and Blue Cloud. The hands were warmed up and the crisp fingering was to be admired. Willie gave the drones a quick tune and the band signed off with some of their standard repertoire.
What a great session of music but we were not done there. Holly Fredlander, also a pupil at the school, then gave us a solo spot. As the pre pie piper she didn’t waste any time before getting into the big stuff with a great MSR, Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, The Caledonian Society of London and Sandy Cameron. Holly is a great talent and she regularly plays in solo competitions. Tom Speirs is currently guiding her with piobaireachd and to conclude the first half of the evening she gave us a very musical Corrienessan’s Salute. (What a crunluath). Excellent stuff.
We were all ready for the pies and for the last time Stacy – our regular barmaid-brought them to the table. Stacy has a new job and unfortunately can no longer do a Tuesday night, so it is with a heavy heart we bid her farewell. During her tenure she has listened to some 100 piobaireachds and learned that piping is far more important than world politics.
After the pies Andrew Allison gave us a few tunes. He was sporting his new Christmas present, some kind of beetle tattoo. (not one of the fab four you understand). Andrew had given the pipe a bit of a makeover and was in fine form.
And with that we called it a night. The flu bug had captured a couple of victims in Cameron Drummond and The Hon Pres. himself so we wish them a speedy recovery. We also wish Tom Speirs the best of luck, as he is going into hospital for an operation that will hopefully see him fully fit and back on the judges bench soon.
Many thanks to the troops from George Heriots for taking the time to give us such a great start to the year. Our next meeting is Tuesday 3rd February. Remember if anyone wants one of the piobaireachd slots just let me know and I will put it in the diary.
We are pleased to announce that we will be joined by a quartet and soloist from George Heriot’s School on 20th January under the guidance of Willie McIntyre.
Heriot’s has many famous piping alumni and a prizewinning band that rivals the best juvenile bands in Scotland.
It promises to be a fine start to 2015.
Compliments of the Season to all..
The Society will resume on Tuesday 20th January and not the 6th as previously announced. An email will be circulated to the membership confirming this. The meetings will be fortnightly thereafter.
Well that was the year, that was. And what a great year it was.
To celebrate the final evening of the year we had a ‘big band’ night and around 20 pipers and piperettes took to the floor. Not bad considering Scotland was in the midst of a minor gale. We even had a couple of pipers who had not played before, perhaps feeling more at ease in the group environment?
So how did it go? Magnificent of course. Chanters all well balanced, drones rock solid and not a note error to be heard. Ok, not quite, but it was a bit of fun and as you see Lachie Dick was in the festive mood with fairy lights on the cords. The the P/M tried to bring order but some were having private drinking bets on the mistake count. They lost count…………
As an attack was perhaps a bit of a challenge the band started with rolling into the traditional band 3/4s-to settle the pipes and nerves you understand. Faye Henderson had brought along ‘sister power’ support and Fiona was keeping her right with the traditional settings, (especially the 6/8s :)
After a few more tunes, pies and a pint or two the band were ready to tackle the MSR. Hugh Kennedy, Maggie Cameron and Bessie MacIntyre. Fortunately Hugh, Maggie nor Bessie were present to hear the tribute but for a first attempt it wasn’t that bad. 4b or not 4b that is the question? Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the drones and blooters of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of practice………………….
As the band rested and settled down to a well earned beer Harry McLaughlin kept us going with an excellent solo spot. Harry has grown about 6 inches since he was last at the Eagles and he has had a busy piping year in both the solo and band arenas. Harry is star of the future and it was great to see him and his dad down in Edinburgh despite the aforementioned weather.
And that was that. 2014 done and dusted. Thanks to all who played during the year, not least those who stepped up to the plate to play the 20ish piobaireachds that we were treated to throughout the year.
Who knows what 2015 holds? Plenty of ideas were floating about. Hopefully more of the same so have a great Christmas and New Year and please come along next year for a tune.
For our last meeting of 2014, we are having a big band night on Tuesday 9th December.
Bring your pipes and we will all play a few tunes together. Standard repertoire.
Bring a guest/friend/lover. The bigger the better (for the band at least).