After the previous reports were copied into single posts. If we get time, we may do the same to this page, but in the interest of time moving to a new webserver, simply copying this archive for now.
|Piobaireachd Club Meeting Report – May 7, 2004(As always, thanks to Ron for this:)We met at the home of Mary and Bob McIlwaine, always the good hosts. A gentle rain fell as George Taylor, Mary MacKinnon and I left south Surrey but the sky cleared as we neared our destination in Vancouver. An omen of a great evening of ceol mor?
As it happened, that is just what it was – a great evening of the great music. A veritable parade of champions! The winners of grades 3, 2, 1 and the Open came to play the tunes that won them prizes at the 72nd B.C. Pipers’ Annual Gathering, 2004.
Calum Mathers, winner of the grade 3 piobaireachd, played Lament for the Departure of King James II, often referred to as Suibhal Sheumais (the departed James). James II of Britain and VII of Scotland was forced into exile in 1688.
Tyrone Heade, winner of grade 2, followed with Mackenzie of Applecross’s Salute, a tune composed in the mid-1700’s.
Up stepped the winner of grade I, Micah Babinski with The Groat, sometimes called The Drunken Groat (An Grota Misgeach). Although shrouded by uncertainties, the tune may have been composed by Iain Odhar MacCrimmon in the 1560’s to celebrate the christening of William, older brother of the great Rory Mor MacLeod. William died young.
Alan Bevan, winner of the Open, played Mary’s Praise, another tune attributed to two different composers. One school suggesting it was composed by the family piper to McLachlan and Colin Cameron saying it was composed by Padruig Og MacCrimmon. Whatever, a splendid tune! Alan warmed up with the ground of Beloved Scotland.
Incidentally, it was on February 1, 1991, that Alan Bevan was the Junior Piper-of-the-Month. On that occasion, he played the very first tune played at the Club – Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar.
Alex Galloway played the ground of Field of Gold and then launched into that noble tune, Lord Lovat’s Lament.
Edward McIlwaine closed with the majestic MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament, a favorite of the late P/M James Watt.
Tog orm mo phiob ‘is theid mi dhaichaidh,
My pipe hand me, and home I’ll go,
‘S duilich leam fhein, mo leir mar thacair;
This sad event fills me with woe;
Tog orm mo phiob ‘s mi air mo chradh,
My pipe hand me, my heart is sore,
Mu Ruaridh Mor, mu Ruaridh Mor.
My Rory Mor, my Rory Mor.
The next meeting of the Piobaireachd Club will feature a PARADE OF CHAMPIONS. Winners at the Grade 3, 2, 1, and Open levels will be playing tunes that won top prizes at the recent BC Pipers’ Annual Gathering.
The gentle winter seemed to be particularly kindly the evening of Friday, February 27, 2004. A large turnout of members came to the home of Eileen and Ron Sutherland to meet an honoured guest. Malcolm MacRae came from Scotland to Vancouver to preside at an Adjudicator’s Seminar. The Club was fortunate indeed to have him as guest speaker and as Piper-of-the-Month.
Malcom spoke briefly and answered a number of questions. On style, that point of much disputation, he said some things that resonate in my mind and which I will paraphrase as best I can. Style is a factor of the passion that a player brings to the music; in other words, a very personal response to the music being played. Great teachers of piobaireachd did and do teach different styles over their lifetimes and this should not surprise anyone. Teachers are not static instruments – they grow and mature and meld their life experience into the playing of the music. Also, a teacher will take into account the propensity of a pupil, given demonstrated strengths and capabilities. John MacDonald of Inverness taught different styles to prize pupils, the Balmoral Bobs, Brown and Nicol. The great Cameron teachers were known to do likewise and, in doing so, stimulated much argument as to which player had the “correct” style. The late Donald MacLeod would start his pupils on the chanter and keep them there until they had the tune locked in their heads; from that point on, style was ultimately the pupil’s to shape if the talent was there.
Style as an issue matters little except as an issue for debate. What does matter is whether a tune is played well and played with a passion that honours the soul of the music.
At the masters level, there is room for personal style. Think Heifitz and Menuhin on the violin, brilliant virtuosos who had different styles, each of which honoured the music they played and carried it to uncommon heights.
As to the music of the evening, Malcolm MacRae played Colin MacRae of Inverinate’s Lament, a variation on the theme of Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament. Jori Chisholm followed with Earl of Seaforth’s Salute. Alan Bevan then gave us Mary’s Praise. Jack Lee closed off the evening with Lament for Robert Reid. Indeed, a classical evening of masterly playing!
From a Feb 10th email:
The next meeting of the Piobaireachd Club will take advantage of a visit to the area by Malcolm MacRae of Inverness, Scotland. He has agreed to play at the upcoming meeting but just what tune is unknown at this time. It’s a long time between blows. Malcolm last played before the Club on April 7, 1993.
WHEN: Friday, February 27, 2004
Come and enjoy. Bring your pipe and ‘gie us a blaw’.
Greetings, here is my report on the meeting of last Friday. regards to all, the other Ron
It seems that lately the weather gods conspire to arrange for clearing the skies just before a piobaireachd meeting. And what a meeting it was on Friday, December 12th! Once again Randy and Lynn Bullis opened their Tsawwassen home to a parade of young pipers and guests in what is becoming a traditional pre-Christmas party. Between the playing of tunes one could hear the groaning of the dining-room table, so heavily laden it was with goodies for every taste. Again I repeat myself as I do every year, but I just have to acknowledge the splendid oatcakes and scones.
The list of young players was long. Many have played at the December meeting over several years. What one notices is growth and achievement. Physically, some of them have grown several inches since last year and it is interesting to see that they matched physical growth with progress in the playing of the great music. Only one, the youngest, played the ground only. For some, it was a struggle to complete a tune but that they did so is admirable.
John Lee followed with Munro’s Salute, Alistair Lee with The Little Spree, Scott Needham with Lady D’Oyly’s Salute, Kyle Banta with The Little Spree, Colin Lee with The Desperate Battle, Will Nichols with The Battle of Auldearn #1, Shane Smith with MacGregor’s Salute, Micah Babinski with Tulloch Ard, Andrew Lee with In Praise of Morag, Liz Dunsire with MacLeod’s Controversy. Iain Bullis played Too Long in this Condition to complete the youth presentations.
Jori Chisholm closed the meeting with an exceedingly fine rendition of Mary’s Praise. There are at least two school’s of thought about the composer. One view has it as a MacLachlan piobaireachd composed by Colin Cameron. Another opinion has it as a Padruig Og MacCrimmon tune composed in appreciation of Lady Mary Macdonald’s gift of a sporran moloch [a hairy sporran].
As to the tune In Praise of Morag, there is a heather myth that it is Jacobite tune. Bonnie Prince Charlie used Morag as a code name while hiding out in the Highland and Western Islands after losing at Culloden. Apparently, that notable piper and teacher of the early 1900’s, MacDougall Gillies, phrased and accented the first and later variations to represent the galloping of a horse as the Prince escaped the field of Culloden.
Lady D’Oyly, whose maiden name was Eliza Ross, was a niece of James MacLeod, Laird of Raasay. She was an accomplished musician. Eliza took young Angus MacKay under her wing and taught him music theory. It is, I believe, fair to suggest that, indirectly, Eliza had a tremenduous impact on the survival of ceol mor as we know it today.
From a November 18th email:
Greetings, the next meeting of the Piobaireachd Club is the annual Young Pipers Night. Come and listen to the youngsters. The experience will bring a glow to your heart.
The adult Piper-of-the-Month will be Jori Chisholm.
WHERE: The home of Randy & Lynn Bullis
How to get there – take Highway 17 that goes towards the BC Ferries. Turn right onto 56th street [the main street into Tsawwassen] and proceed to the light at 6th avenue and turn left onto 6th avenue, proceed a short block [dead-end street], turn left and left again onto Goldenrod Crescent. If you forget which is your left when you get to Goldenrod Crescent, just keep going around and you will arrive at 5670.
regards, the other Ron
Subject: Friday October 24th Meetng Report
A soft autumn evening and the glorious sound of well-played ceol mhor! No
The first Club meeting of the season was more than just another gathering at
Andrew Lee set the evening of music in motion with a fine rendition of The
Alex Galloway’s playing of Lord Lovat’s Lament was a particularly good
Ed McIlwaine played Lady Anapool’s Lament, a tune that Bridget MacKenzie
Jack Lee played The Pride of Barra in the MacArthur/MacGregor style. Ed
The next meeting will be in December at the home of Randy and Lynn Bullis.
From an October 15th, 2003 email:
JACK LEE will play The Pride of Barra in the MacArthur setting.
Date: Friday, October 24th
Greetings…I missed a great evening, never to be retrieved! Thanks to Colin MacRae for program notes….regards to all, the other Ron
The Club meeting was held at the home of Bob and Mary McIlwaine. A good turnout was on hand to enjoy the great music in an atmosphere of relaxed hospitality.
Edward McIlwaine got the program off with a rendition of “Sir Ewin Cameron of Lochiel’s Salute”. Other than the title of this piobaireachd, he is generally referred to in the English as Ewen rather than Ewin, in the Gaelic as Eoghan Dubh. It seems that the tune was inspired by a memorable event in Sir Ewen’s life. At the close of the 17th century civil war, he was engaged in a skirmish with troops from what is now Fort William. Three hundred English soldiers had been sent to ravage Lochiel’s lands. With a much smaller party of kinsmen, Lochiel and his warriors cut the invaders to pieces. In the route that followed, a big strong English officer hid behind a bush and jumped Lochiel when the opportunity arose. Although Lochiel was smaller, he was nimbler than his stronger opponent and managed to trip the sword out of the man’s hand. The two of them wrestled on the ground with his bigger foe seeming to gain an advantage. Lochiel was able to grab his foe by the collar and pull him into a position where Lochiel took the man’s throat in his teeth, bit hard and quite through, killing his opponent. In doing so, he brought away a mouthful of flesh and blood. He was later to remark that “this was the sweetest bite he ever had in his lifetime.”
Jack Lee followed with “The Pride of Barra” in the MacArthur setting. The Gaelic name of the tune is translated as MacNeil of Barra’s March. There is a confusion as another tune also carries that name. To distinguish between the two, Campbell of Kilberry ascribed the name “Pride of Barra” to one. Both tunes celebrate Black Roderick MacNeil who fought with the Viscount of Dundee at the Battle of Killiecrankie, 1689. There is a thought that the second tune, the so-called March, may have been intended as a Lament for the noted warrior,18th Chief of Clan MacNeil.
Alex Galloway played “The Field of Gold” by Donald MacLeod. Colin Lee followed with “Lament for Donald of Laggan”, a man who was over one hundred years of age when he died. Andrew Lee played that lyrical masterpiece “Lament for Mary MacLeod.”
John Sutherland, late of San Francisco, stepped up with “Too Long in This Condition”. Ed McIlwaine closed the meeting playing the ground and 1st variation of “The Massacre of Glencoe”.
The date of the next meeting will be revealed in the fullness of time. Call Ron Sutherland at 988-0479 or Ron MacLeod at 538-5709 for information.
From a Ron Macleod email (March 5):
Greetings…the next meeting of the Piobairachd Club is soon upon us. Hope to see a good turn-out..regards, the other Ron
WHEN: Friday, March 28th.
TIME: 7:30 P.M.
WHERE: Bob and Mary McIlwaine’s, 3587 West 32nd Avenue [1/2 block east of Dunbar]
Edward McIlwaine will play: Sir Ewin Cameron of Lochiel’s Salute
Jack Lee will play: The Pride of Barra [from the MacArthur/MacGregor Ms]
The meeting of the Club at the home of Lynn and Randy Bullis in Tsawwassen
Lynn and Randy are wonderful hosts for this very special Club meeting. Not
On this occasion there were eleven young players, some of whom played the
John Lee in his first performance at the Club, led off with the ground of
Ben Parsonson then gave a fine rendition of The Glen is Mine. Will Nichols,
Colin Lee played that wonderful tune that John MacDonald of Inverness
Micah Babinski stepped up with MacGregor’s Salute. Micah, a pupil of Jori
Jori Chisholm closed the evening with The Finger Lock, a tune attributed by
The date of the next meeting will announced in the fullness of time. Call
The next meeting of the Piobaireachd Club will be at the home of Lynn and Randy Bullis. The evening will feature young pipers as has become a December tradition at the Bullis home.
In addition, JACK LEE will play Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute playing the newly re-released setting from the MacArthur-MacGregor Manuscripts. JORRI CHISHOLM will play the Finger Lock.
Date: Friday, December 6th
The eleventh year of the Club got off to a fine musical start at the home of
Has the Club lived up to its purpose? A resounding YES. One of the great
Over the intervening years 107 different ceol m�r have been played in 264
The evening got off to an excellent start with performances by two young
Andrew Lee followed with The Piper�s Warning to his Master. The origin of
Alan Bevan played a John Ban Mackenzie tune, Mrs. Smith�s Salute. The lady
Jack Lee played the Earl of Seaforth�s Salute. His rendition was poetic and
Ed McIllwaine closed the evening with Glengarry�s March, a tune thought to
The date of the next meeting will be December 6th at the home of Randy &
Next Meeting: Date: Friday, October 25th
The first meeting of this the 11th season of the Club, will beat the home of Ron & Eileen Sutherland, 4169 Lions Avenue, North Vancouver
Piper-of-the-Month: Alan Bevan who will play Mrs. Smith’s Salute, a tune
Also featured will be pipers Andrew Lee and Elizabeth Dunsire.
Report of Piobaireachd Club Meeting, April 26:
This was an evening dedicated to winners of ceol mor competitions at the 70th Annual Gathering of the B.C. Pipers’ Association in March. As is usually the case, others brought along their pipe and played a tune.
Andrew Lee won the Grade I competition at the Annual Gathering with Mackay’s Banner [Bratach Bhan Chloin Aoidh]. This is a tune that celebrates a banner that is thought to have been flown by Ian Aberach and his MacKay clansmen at the Battle of Drum na Coup just south of the Kyle of Tongue in 1433. In this battle the invading Sutherland force was decimated and the fleeing survivors were harried for miles across moor and mountain. The banner is now in the care and custody of the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh. The inscription on the banner is Biodh treun-Biodh treun, that is, Be Valiant, Be Valiant. One might imagine that Piper Kenneth Mackay of Tongue would have been motivated by his ancient clan motto when he stepped outside the square at the Battle of Waterloo to inspire his comrades with the piobaireachd Cogadh no Sidh.
Marco Caturegli of Seattle stepped up next to play Clan Campbell’s Gathering, the tune that won him the Grade II competition at the Gathering.
Jori Chisholm was next on tap, playing the MacDougall’s Gathering, his winning tune in the Open Piobaireachd competition.
Onto the floor stepped Seth Walker who gave a fine rendition of Hiharin Dro o Dro, one of the musical nameless tunes.
Bob McIlwaine played Lament for Mary MacLeod, a tune thought to have been composed by Padruig Og MacCrimmon. The peerless Skye poetess, known among her country folk as M�iri Nighean Alastair Ruaidh, was one of the first to break with Ossianic tradition and write in the modern Gaelic bardic style.
Jack Lee closed the meeting with Munro’s Salute, a tune composed by the blind piper, Iain dall Mackay of Gairloch. Iain Dall was related by marriage to Munro of Foulis Castle, Ferrondonald. Iain’s patron in the years 1697-1720 was Sir Robert Munro, 23rd Chief who, like Iain Dall, was blind. It is thought that many of Iain Dall’s 24 piobaireachd were composed under Munro’s patronage. Unfortunately, only a dozen of Iain Dall’s piobaireachd have been preserved. The tune is a classic salute that pays a compliment to one who is both a Chief and patron.
This meeting concludes the current season of the piobaireachd Club. The date of the next meeting will be announced in the fullness of time. Call Ron Sutherland at 988-0479 or Ron MacLeod at 538-5709 for information.
Greetings…the maestro has spoken. The next meeting of the Club will be:
Where: Ron Sutherland’s home, 4169 Lions Avenue, North Vancouver
Who: three of the winners at the recent Annual Gathering of the BC Pipers’
Come out to the final meeting of this season.
Regards to all…the other Ron
Club members in attendance were the beneficiaries of the desire of young
Ed McIlwaine followed with MacCrimmon�s Sweetheart. The inspiration for this
Drew Dodge, a pupil of Tyrone Heade, stepped up to play The Battle of
Alex Galloway took the opportunity to warm up with a goodly part of the
Emerson Dodge, younger brother to Drew, first took up the pipe three years
Ed closed the evening with majestic MacLeod of MacLeod�s Lament. The motto
“Tog orm mo phiob Œis theid mi dhaichaidh,
The date of the next meeting will be announced in the fullness of time. Call
Greetings…here is my report on last night’s meeting..regards, the other Ron
Lynn and Randy Bullis, for the fifth year, opened their home to what has come to be ”Young Piper’s Night”. And what an evening it was! Nine young lads, one young lass and three professionals piped the roof off the house. Lynn, in her own inimitable style of hospitality, put a veritable treasure of delectables on the table. She always remembers the oatcakes. What a great evening to be a part of!
Colin Lee started the evening off with Munro’s Salute. Then came Ben Parsonsonwith The Glen is Mine followed by Alexander Gail playing Glengarry’s Lament. Blair Stewart played Munro’s Salute and brother Evan came next with Too Long in this Condition. Andrew Lee then stepped up with I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand. Marco Caturegli, our Mexican friend via Seattle where he is attending University, played Tulloch Ard. Elizabeth Dunsire played MacGregor’s Salute. Seth Walker gave us MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart. Iain Bullis ended the youth parade with The Company’s Lament.
To repeat what said of last year’s youth evening, what a joy and delight to see young lads and lasses carrying the torch of ce�l mor into the future.
Of the tunes played I will only comment on two. First, The Glen is Mine. See yourself as young Iain MacPhadruig MacCrimmon, piper to the Earl of Seaforth, tramping through Glen Shiel on a fine day. The world is your oyster. What could be more exhilarating? The tune reflects a ‘joy of living’ that young Alex was able to portray so musically.
Second, The Company’s Lament. This tune that may have been composed by Joseph MacDonald who wrote the Treatise, ‘A Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe’ circa 1770/73. This was at a time prior to the dissolution of the great MacCrimmon school of piping at Boreraig. The tune [untitled] is one of two ‘marches’ [spaisdearach in the Gaelic] included in his Treatise. The tune is meant to be played ‘while walking about’ and not as a ‘march’ as we know it today. It was probably written before he went to India to join the East India Company. His inspiration for the tune is unknown.
Then came Jori Chisholm, Piper-of-the-Month, who gave a fine rendition of that wild MacGregor tune, The Rout of Glen Fruin. The tune was said to have been written by Donald Mor MacGregor after a battle fought in 1602. A band of MacGregors with some Camerons and MacIans of Glencoe ambushed and routed a larger force of Colquhouns, Buchanans and burgesses of Dumbarton searching for MacGregors under a Royal warrant. The MacGregors pursued the losers with great slaughter, sacking Luss and the Lennox and threatening Dumbarton. King James VI issued an order that the very name of MacGregor should be proscribed and the clan hunted down. This order was not officially lifted until 1795. There is a suggestion that the names Black, White, Green and Brown, common throughout the Highlands, derive from this period when MacGregors were hounded, murdered, their lands despoiled and their children nameless under the King’s harsh edict.
Alex Galloway gave us the ground and variations of the Pass of Crieff. Ed McIlwaine closed the meeting with the majestic MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament.
The date of the next meeting will be announced in the fullness of time. Call Ron Sutherland at 988-0479 or Ron MacLeod at 538-5709 for information.
Greetings…here is a report on a grand evening of piobaireachd last Friday.
Did you know that on November 23, 2001 the Piobaireachd Club will be celebrating its 10th anniversary? I will try to get a commemorative article in the next issue of the B.C. Pipers’ Newsletter.
To all the senior pipers out there who intend to contribute a tune in the next year, please play at least one piobaireachd that has never been heard at a Club meeting. Think of this as your personal contribution to the Club.
Regards to all, Ron
Jack took up his pipe and gave a remarkable performance. First, he played Craigellachie, the tune he played to win the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban. He followed immediately with Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon, truly a musical creation that ranks among the world’s great compositions. Donald Ban was the only man killed in a minor night skirmish that came to be known as The Rout of Moy . To paraphrase Jack’s comment, Donald Ban gave his life and his brother created a memorial that any piper would die for. Donald Ban’s sweetheart is said to have composed a poem, MacCrimmon’s Lament, shortly after his death. The first verse, translated from the Gaelic, goes like this:
“Round Cuillin’s peak the mist is sailing,
Another piobaireachd linked to Donald Ban’s death is the Pretty Dirk. This dirk was owned by his father but because Donald was the family member accompanying his Chief to war against the Jacobites, he was given the dirk to carry while in service. It was probably dropped when he was killed or when his body was removed from the field in the dark of night. It was recovered by the leader of the Jacobites, Fraser of Gorthleck.
Alan Bevan was welcomed back to the Club after his too long sojourn in the far-distant, cold, dark east. Alan played The End of the Great Bridge. One heather myth suggests that his tune commemorates what was probably the first skirmish between Jacobites and Royalists in 1745. The site was in the area of the High Bridge over the River Spean near Fort William. It was a skirmish won through ruse and bold strategy by Macdonald of Keppoch. He and his clansmen were joined during the fray by Camerons. Among the trophies taken was a white gelding horse that was presented by Lochiel to Prince Charles Edward Stuart when the Prince raised his Standard at Glenfinnan.
Kelly [Watts] Fuller followed with a fine rendition of The Massacre of Glencoe. Tyrone Heade closed the evening with The King’s Taxes. The music of this tune reflects the painful squeals of the poor Highlander as he is forced for the first time ever to pay his taxes in coin of the realm rather than by donating traditional services.
The next meeting will be at the Tsawwassen home of Randy and Lynn Bullis on Friday December 7th. The evening is dedicated to young pipers, ranging in experience from beginners to Grade 1 level. Jori Chisholm, who did so well in competitions overseas this year, will be the senior piper of the evening.
Call Ron Sutherland at 988-0479 or Ron MacLeod at 538-5709 for information.