With P/M Jimmy Banks MBE celebrating his award, post Queens Garden Party, in the downstairs lounge of the Guards Club, the Eagles were in full flow up the stairs. Attendances can be small at this time of year, with people away on summer holidays and the Highland Games kicking in, but it is pleasing that the Facebook page has hit 1028 members and we are still getting new young members to come and give us a tune.
There was only one way to start the evening and the Hon. Pipe Major got us under way with late great Willie Lawrie composition, The Battle of the Somme.
This lovely 9/8 March was written by Willie Lawrie of Ballachulish in 1916, the same year as the battle. Born in 1881 he won both gold medals in 1910 and became Pipe Major of 8th Battalion of the Argyll and Southern Highlanders in 1914. He died in 1916 having spent months in the trenches and was survived by his wife and three children. His pipes are on display in the Argyll and Southern Highlanders museum in Stirling Castle. He composed several great tunes, including the famous 2/4 marches, John MacDonald of Glencoe, The Pap of Glencoe, The Braes of Brecklet and Mrs. H. L. MacDonald of Dunach.
When the P/M was done he handed over to Michael Upton who,while a regular attended at the Eagles, had never played solo at the Eagles. On an old set of Robertsons, that used to be on the shoulder of the late Andrew ‘Lefty’ Craig, Mike started off with some 4/4 matches. The drones were resonant and steady. Once into his stride Mike gave us some slow airs followed by a couple of 3/4 matches. Great stuff and now that he has broken his duck we hope to hear more from him.
Next for shaving was one of the new breed referred to earlier, Chris Happs. Chris is on school holidays and is hoping to hit one or two games over the summer. When he had settled the pipe he gave us a very musical Caber Feidh Gu Brath,composed by
Next up was his school chum from Heriot’s, Brodie Watson Massey, or Gaz to his mates. On a first class pipe he started off with a 6/8 march, Mavisbank House, composed by Calum Watson of National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland fame. He went onto play a hornpipe and jig and finished with a very nice performance of The Groat.
The post pie piper was Nils Michael who was quickly into his stride knocking out some big 2/4 marches. Nils is clearly enjoying his break from competitive piping and was in fine form.
The final player of the night was Lachie Dick, who was on a few days R and R from hospital duties. He was cheered on by Andrew Gray, who is enjoying his first school summer holidays. Lachie borrowed the P/M’s pipe and it was a real treat to hear him again. Once the drones were locked he gave us a first class MSR followed by a slow air and 3 jigs. The first was The tricky Braes of Mellanish followed by two of Lachie’s own compositions, Trip to Uist and Christina Dicks Jig. Fantastic stuff.
And with that we were done. We headed downstairs to join in the celebrations but there was too much catching up to do as the assemble had clearly had a well deserved ‘kick at the ball’.
THERE IS NO EAGLES MEETING ON TUESDAY 19th JULY.
This is due to a clash with Inveraray games where members will be playing or judging. Several people are on holiday so we thought a night off was the order of the day. Normal service will resume on Tuesday 2nd August.