Another wet and stormy night in beautiful B.C. Is there something about a pending Club meeting that brings on the wind and rain? Perhaps the small Celtic gods were upset. If so, there was no evidence of that once inside the warm receptive home of Jack and Christine Lee.
The pre-Christmas meeting is always special for it is at this meeting that many young pipers are first exposed to a caring, supportive audience in the comfort and security of a house filled with friends. Where better to launch a career in piping?
Alan Bevan was first up with Clan MacNabb’s Salute, the tune he played to win the Gold Medal at Inverness this year. It is a long, long road to the Gold Medal – when Alan was a young pupil of Jack Lee he was chosen to be the junior piper-of-the month and the first piper to play at the inaugural meeting of the Piobaireachd Club on February 1st, 1991. A long road indeed. Well done Alan!
The young pipers followed: Aidan Caves with Munro’s Salute; Brian Haddon with The Field of Gold; Anny He with Catherine’s Lament; David Stittwith The Massacre of Glencoe; John Lee with Tulloch Ard; and, Kyle Banta with MacKintosh’s Banner.
Jack Lee then took up son John’s pipe to play Lament for the Bobs of Balmoral. This tune was composed by Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. (1917-1982) to honour the memory of two excellent pipers and equally fine gentlemen, Pipe Major Robert Brown, M.B.E and Pipe Major Robert Nicol, M.B.E. The two Bobs were employed as pipers and ghillies on the Balmoral Royal Estate when, in 1928, King George V sent them to study under John MacDonald, Inverness. They remained under his tutelage until 1939. Donald MacLeod also studied under John MacDonald.
Jack introduced the tune by saying that he will be playing this Lament at the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, scheduled for early April, 2009. And, for the first time he will have a fellow British Columbian travelling with him – Alan Bevan is one of eight world-class competitors invited to this competition. This memorial to Donald MacLeod has been organized by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society since its inception in 1994. The venue is the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. The 2009 competition will feature Donald MacLeod’s piobaireachd compositions.
A great disappointment was the unexpected absence of founding member Peter Aumonier. One can only surmise that somewhere in the murky denseness of deepest, darkest Ontario there is a lost B.C lad struggling to find the trail to the land of sunshine and ever-blooming lotus flowers (except when occasionally it rains).