Match report Tuesday 26th April 2016

imagesIt’s the end of April/beginning of May. It’s snowing! The band season is just about upon us and the first major is on the 19th . 3 weeks! Dig out the capes, mitts and hip flasks.

The down turn in the weather saw a quieter evening at the Eagles and the P/M got the evening under way. After trotting out some old favourites he ended with the ground and first variation of the Salute to The Prince. The heavens opened and down came the purple rain.

IMG_3424Next up was Fergus Perks, who is coming back into form after a bit of an absence from the pipe. A quick tune of the drones and he was off into some lovely light music. The drones stayed where they were and the pipe was very easy on the ear. Fergus concluded his spot with the Urlar of Colin MacRae of Inverinate’s Lament which is also known as Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament. While published in the Kilberry and Piobaireachd society books there is a setting of Colin MacRae in the William Ross’ collection from 1885. This setting has toarluath and crunluath variations (singlings only) that rounds off this very melodic tune  very nicely.

Pies were very welcome on this cold night.

To finish off the night Jenny Hazzard, who was breaking in a new sheepskin bag, (T.T.O.BB), played a few tunes that included the 2/4 March Murdo MacLeod, composed by Peter R. MacLeod Snr.IMG_3427

Peter Roderick MacLeod Senior was born in Aird, Uig, on the Isle of Lewis, on the 13th December 1879. During the First World War he saw action in Egypt and Gallipoli. From 1902-1927 he was employed as a shipwright in a number of Clyde shipyards including Fairfield’s in Govan and Charles Connell in Whiteinch.


Peter MacLeod Snr

For many years he stayed at 7 Exeter Drive in Partick, Glasgow. It was during the latter part of this time that he met with an industrial accident involving a ship’s deck hatch that led to his right leg having to be amputated. The resultant ill-fitting artificial leg caused him much pain throughout the remainder of his life. He died in Erskine Old Soldiers Hospital near Renfrew on 16th June, 1965.

Jenny finished with the ground of McNeill of Barra’s March and that was the evenings evening.

Dates for the Diary

10376863_975883852467142_1714944752036193475_nThis Friday, 6th May, the Eagles are at the Royal Scottish Pipers Society rooms in Rose Street Lane, Edinburgh, KO around 19.30. Come along and bring your pipes.

This Saturday, 7th May, at the Scots Guards Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, the annual Scots Guards Association dinner, featuring Angus MacColl Snr. Tickets £25 are still available86315935_glenfiddichpipingchampionship2015winnerangusmaccoll

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Recital Dinner -Angus MacColl – Sat 7th May


The Scots Guards Association is hosting an informal dinner on Saturday 7th May at the club in Haymarket.  Angus MacColl (Snr) will provide the piping.

The EPS has purchased 10 tickets (£25 per head).

Please let Euan or me know if you would like one.  First come first served.

Last year’s dinner with Chris Armstrong was superb!



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Match Report Tuesday 12th April 2016

12366250_10156305578215082_5833737885280578307_nThere is good news and bad news. Lets have the good news first. There are golf courses in heaven. Fantastic. The bad news is that you are on the first tee tomorrow morning. Nae sae good.

No one knows when their time is up and there is never a good time to go, or is there? When I read of the passing of Willie McCallum Snr. aged 87, I thought, now that’s not a bad way to sign off. Up in Stornoway having just listened to your son achieve yet another major piping success and in the company of friends at the evening ceilidh. If you can think of a more fitting way you are a better man than me-Gunga Din.

The loss to Willie Jnr and the rest of the McCallum family will be immeasurable, but perhaps there is some solace to be found in that he had a good kick of the ball (as my mother used to say) and passed away in an environment he truly loved amongst friends and family.

William McCallum Snr, was the head of the Kintyre Pipers Society and a primary organizer of many competitions and events, including the annual Springbank Invitational.

I smiled when I read the article in the pipes/drums that included a quote from Willie about his dad.550990_10151987579545082_131279400_n

“He’s the only person I’ve met, who can listen to piping 24 hours a day. He’s got an amazing appetite for listening to bagpipes. It’s huge. I’ve never met anyone who loved it so much.”

I had a father like that. He could kill a party stone dead by putting on the latest piping LP that had been recently added to the collection. We all know someone like that and when they pass the world is a sadder place.

With a nod to the McCallum clan the P/M warmed the pipe and when settled played a few variations from The Lament for the Earl of Antrim. Rest in peace Willie.


Fergus Perks

Fergus Perks was up next and on a lovely set of Sinclair drones kicked off with a couple of 6/8s that included the little heard Highland Brigade Depot, composed by P/M Ronald McCallum MBE, that can be found in volume 2 of The Gordon Highlanders collection. After a fine MSR Fergus rounded of with a hornpipe and jig starting with The Clydeside hornpipe, Donald MacLeod Book 3. Then he bought a pipe chanter, a McC2, that Nils happened to have in his pipe box, fresh out the wrapper/tube.

The post pie piper was Nils himself who played a variety of light music tunes before trotting out a couple of first class 2/4 marches, Mrs. John McColl and Murdo MacLeod. He then gave us the ground of IMG_3401Corrienessan’s Salute before finishing with a digital flourish playing some hornpipes and jigs.

Jenny Hazzard followed and on the usual resonant pipe was quickly into her stride playing a lovely MSR before ending with a lovely slow Irish Waltz, Inisheer and the IMG_3404Gordon Duncan hornpipe, The Starloch Turkeys. Inisheer is the smallest and most Eastern of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Ireland.

The surprise guest and final player of the evening was Scott Hannah. I say surprise, as he himself was very surprised to be at the Eagles as he was supposed to be at a Shotts practice. A Rip Van Winkle moment saw Scott miss his train stop and end up in Glasgow. A return to Edinburgh and a practice at the Eagles was our gain. On a robust booming instrument, that will stand the band in good stead, Scott was in fine form playing a lively MSR before finishing off with some jigs, that included the great Donella Beaton, composed by George Johnstone.IMG_3407

And that was the evenings evening.

Callum Beaumont is in Edinburgh giving a recital this Sunday 17th April, at the Scots Guards Club, 16.00hrs.

The funeral of Willie McCallum will be held on Saturday, 16 April, at 1pm at Highland Parish Church, New Quay St., Campbeltown PA28 6BN.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 29th March 2016

IMG_3386The P/M broke the ice with a few tunes before handing the baton onto Iain Kirkwood who, it is nice to see, is becoming a regular attender with the pipe. Iain played a few tunes and finished with the little heard but lovely 6/8, Lord MacPherson of Drumochter.


Iain Kirkwood

High Tower made a welcome return with the pipe and gave us a few pre pie tunes on a solid robust pipe. It’s that time of year so new reeds were being blown in. Andrew finished his spot with the classic jig Kenny Gillies of Portnalong.


Andew Gray

The post pie piper was Cameron Drummond. Cameron started off with a couple of small tunes before banging out 2 classic 2/4 marches that were full of music.

A batch of reels followed next under the banner of ‘experimental’. Cameron is heading out to the USA in a few days in advance of the band (Inveraray and District), who are playing at an event in Virginia. He is giving a couple of recitals with Ally Henderson and is evolving his repertoire for said events.

The standard of playing and finger dexterity displayed in this set of tunes is only possessed by the very few ‘naturals’ we have in our midst. Stuart Liddell is the obvious example of the current art form of transforming standard time signatures into masterful alternative settings. Gordon Walker is another. To mention Cameron in that company is not a step too far.


Cameron Drummond

There is a distinct difference in class between the standard kitchen piping we hear all too often and the stuff these guys produce. It is mind boggling and scarily good.

(Interestingly Andrew Gray is also heading out to Virginia with the Fife Police Pipe Band. It sounds like a great trip. What could possibly go wrong?)

As good as the experimental reels were they were not the highlight of the evening. That came in the form of the Carlsberg setting of The Stewarts White Banner. Ok it was the Donald MacDonald setting but if Carlsberg did piobaireachd then they would all sound like this…..

Donald MacDonald, born around 1750, became a pupil of the MacArthurs, hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of Skye. He later moved to Edinburgh, establishing himself as a maker of Highland and other bagpipes. At that time, the premier award for playing of the piobaireachd was a Prize Pipe, awarded annually by the Highland Society of London, which Donald won in 1817.

In 1822, he published a book of piobaireachd, written in a staff notation of his devising, which has remained the basis on which subsequent editors of piobaireachd have worked.Although well received, the book’s financial return prevented publication of Donald’s projected second volume.

Donald therefore presented the manuscript to the grandfather of General C.S. Thomson. Thomson used the MS as a reference in compiling ‘Ceol Mor’, a comprehensive collection of piobaireachd published in 1900.

Stewarts White Banner

‘Donald MacDonald‘s rich and ornate setting contains many points of interest including a variable throw on D, the high A/G introductory movement before E echo beats, and the interesting possibilities presented by the similar movement approaching D echo beats, whether to play these long or short, as a demi-semi quaver run as written, or to give time value to the F as seems often to happen with these compound appoggiaturas; likewise with the cascading runs down from high A which prefix the eallachs at the end of the part.’ 

While this is still a work in progress for Cameron, as this is one of the set tunes this year, it was breathtakingly musical. Cameron is playing in the Donald MacDonald Quaich competition this year, an event he won in 2013. As a set tune this year it will be interesting to see what the competitors do with this tune but this setting is a stick out and it is a must listen for any piobaireachd aficionados. Hopefully Cameron will play the complete piece prior to the Quaich competition.

Dates for the diary.

Sunday 17th April 2016 16.00hrs Callum Beaumont recital Scots Guards Association Club.

Friday 6th May 2016. Eagles visit to the Royal Scottish Pipers Society

Saturday 7th May 2016 Annual dinner Scots Guards Association Club. Piper Angus McColl Snr.

15th May 2016 16.00hrs. KO final. Callum Moffat v Ross Miller. Scots Guards Association Club.

Friday 27th August 2016 Captain John MacLellan memorial dinner

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 15th March 2016


Bryan Lowrie

The P/M took to the floor and played a small tribute to ex Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band President, Bryan Lowrie, whose funeral he had played at early in the day at Prestonkirk in East Linton. Bryan was the band President in the mid 90’s and although he had no previous piping connections was a tremendous ambassador for the band during his tenure. He accompanied the band on many international trips where friendship and bonhomie were the order of the day.

Nest up was Nils Michael who was in fine form on a well-balanced pipe. Included in his spot was a hornpipe, The Arran Ferry (if I heard him correctly) followed by a set of well-executed jigs.IMG_3341

IMG_3346Colin MacLellan was next for shaving, fresh from all his overseas travels. Well maybe not so fresh but still in the mood for a tune or two. He stepped his way through a variety of light music before finishing with a block of jigs (5 or 6) that included some standard names but, as is Colin’s want, were delightful in their different styles and settings.

The post pie piperette was Jenny Hazzard who made no apologies for quickly warming up the pipe and going into some Ceol Mor in preparation for the book launch at this weekends Piobaireachd Society Conference. She wetted our appetite with the ground of the Edinburgh Piobaireachd followed by the Urlar and first variation of Farewell to the Queens Ferry. The conference is at the Birnam Hotel Dunkeld this weekend with Colin speaking about his father’s music on the Saturday. The book and accompanying CDs can be ordered IMG_3352directly from Colin at,

IMG_3355Douglas Gardiner was the final player of the night and he was keen to get in a tune or two before this weekends Duncan Johnstone memorial competition, run by CPA and being held at the Piping Centre this weekend. The pipe came quickly into line and once he had trotted out his MSR Douglas gave us a very musical, The Lament for the Viscount of Dundee. With a good draw in the piob. we are expecting big things Douglas. Good luck.

And with that we were done for the night. There is the second semi final of the SGC KO competition on Sunday 27th March at the usual time of 16.00hrs

The Eagles have been invited to the Royal Scottish pipers Society rooms on Friday 6th May. Please make every effort to come along and support this evening.

The next Eagles meeting is on Tuesday 29th March. The piob slot is available if anyone fancies a tune?

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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rspsThe Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society has kindly invited us to join them on Friday 6th May.

The evening will include a combined band for everyone plus a few solos spots later in the bar.  RSPS evenings are always exceptionally sociable, typically assisted by their well-stocked and keenly priced bar.

It will be a great evening.  Dress will be day kilts with EPS tie.

Please let me know if you wish to attend.


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Match Report Tuesday 1st March 2016

MacLellan_Book_CoverSmatterings of piobaireachd were to be the order of the evening and all fuelled by some home made short bread.

The P/M took out his pipe, well not his actually but his uncles, dusted down after some years in the attic. The almond oil and silvo had been thrown at them and with a new cover and cords they looked better than they deserved to be. Chris Anderson insists they were made by a couple of gents under the name of ‘Mathieson’ who were based in Glasgow. They were taken over by Lawries or IMG_3286Henderson? Anyway no one in the company could shed any light on the maker so if you have any information on Mathieson bagpipe makers it would be most welcome.

IMG_3287With an old Sinclair chanter thrown in the P/M played a few tunes before giving a couple of variations of The Vaunting. (Prompted by listening to John MacDougall on pipeline last Saturday.) Peter McAlister-he of the home made shortbread- then had a few tunes on the mystery set and it has to be said the drones were resonant and rock solid.

LoganPeter then took out his own pipe and gave us a few tunes that included the 2/4 marches, IMG_3302My Native Highland Home, that can be found in the Logan collection and Father John MacMillan of Barra. On a lovely pipe and new chanter reed Peter concluded his spot with a few lines of MacIntosh’s Lament.

Father John MacMillan of Barra

Father John MacMillan of Barra

Despite the shortbread there was still room for the pies when they arrived! Next up was Alan Harper who is now making his own chanter reeds as well as the cane done reeds. He has also treated himself to a new Roddy MacLeod chanter. Alan played a few tunes before he gave us the ground and first variation of The Massacre of Glencoe.


Alan Harper

Jenny Hazzard was on next. Gone were the 78th tunes as she was onto her next piping project. (I think she mentioned something about getting round to learning the Spirit of Scotland tunes?). With the immanent launch of the new Captain John MacLellan book and CD at the Piobaireachd Society  conference on 19th March, where Colin is speaking and Jenny illustrating a few bit and bobs from some of the tunes, she got in a bit of practice with a few lines of one of the tunes in the book, For My Lass, Fair, Pretty and Highland. IMG_3321While Jenny did her stuff a draft copy of the book went round the company for a sneak preview.

The book has all eleven of John MacLellan’s compositions, and a double CD of each of the tunes performed either at the annual Captain John A. MacLellan Invitational Recital-Competition or by the Captain himself or by Colin, so we have a wide range of styles and interpretations to look forward to. With notes, anecdotes and a few pictures this is sure to become part of every piobaireachd enthusiast’s collection.12802884_10156589196350594_2741358799629593122_n

The final player of the night was Gordon Hislop who was smartly turned out to give us the evenings Ceol Mor. Gordon is playing in the Archie Kenneth Quaich competition this Saturday (5th March at the Royal Scottish Pipers Halls in Rose Street, Edinburgh) so this was a bit of practice. He made a first class job of Corrienessan’s Salute


Gordon Hislop

and a repeat performance will see him do well at the weekend. Best of luck Gordon.

Here is a wee anecdote about the tune. 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.’


As mentioned the Archie Kenneth Quaich is on this Saturday 5th March, the Piobaireachd Society Conference is on the weekend of the 18th to 20th March (more details on their website) and the Duncan Johnstone competition is on Saturday 19th March in the National Piping Centre, Glasgow.

The next Eagles will be on Tuesday 15th March. Hope to see you then.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M


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