Lochaber Gathering and Summer Contest Wrap -Up

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This article by Robert Wallace concentrates mainly on the Lochaber Gathering but also serves as a gather up of some of the summer games.

Matt Pantaleoni, St louis, winner of the 'B' Piob
Matt Pantaleoni, St louis, winner of the ‘B’ Piob

Lochaber Gathering is held each July or August in the Highland town of Fort William. It is a very well run competition with outstanding prizes in all events. Entries from the professional ranks are usually pretty healthy despite the attraction of other Highland Games and pipe band competitions around that time. The entries for the juniors are usually scant; 2014 was no different. It is rather shocking that the town of John MacAskill and Evan MacRae can muster only a meagre clutch of junior practitioners of the bagpipe art. They have a school band locally but not one member is ever seen anywhere near the piping at Lochaber. The band’s tutor has a lot to answer for. How she hopes her children will improve without testing themselves against their peers, or taking the opportunity of listening to good piping on their very doorstep is bewildering. Allan MacColl, the organiser and fundraiser for the Lochaber Gathering, shows commendable forbearance  when each year he is confronted with what amounts to passive opposition to his efforts. Still, Allan has the support of local councillors and funders such as theatre impresario Cameron MacIntosh’s charitable trust and this must give some comforting compensation.

A rare picture of John MacLellan in his Army days
A rare picture of John MacLellan in his Army days

For the past several years I have been asked to give a short lecture on a major piping figure of the past. I have covered many notables including Malcolm Macpherson, Robert Reid, Willie Lawrie, Donald MacLeod and the MacCrimmons. This year it was John MacLellan of Dunoon, one of the greatest pipe composers of all time. The research was fairly straightforward; it is all in the Masters of Piping book. Musical illustrations were by Gordon McCready and we ended with a rendition of the Dream Valley of Glendaruel, words and all. John MacLellan was a true romantic and his wonderful melodies and thoughtful verses made the talk enjoyable for the speaker and, I hope, for the respectable audience. (What a missed opportunity for these Lochaber school kids to learn something of their Highland piping heritage). Shame on those of you who don’t know the words of the Dream Valley. Here they are. I think you’ll agree they fit the tune rather well:Dream Valley words-2

After the singing it was down to business and the ‘B’ Grade Piobaireachd which I judged on my own. First up was US piper Ursa Beckford with the Unjust Incarceration. This was a good performance, though he rushed the starts of lines two and three in the ground. He had good control of tempo, very good technique and a nasty little choke. Another American, Nick Hudson, played MacDougall’s Gathering. His phrasing was well off the mark in the ground, better in the T&C, but as the tune improved the pipe got worse. Colin Campbell‘s Corrienessan suffered from his nipping short the first B to C in the ground and then failing to cut the C between the two Es that follow. Pipe and technique of top order, three wrong notes, cadences inconsistent. Alastair Murray from Northern Ireland was given the Lament for the Children. On a steady, if light, pipe, he made a good fist of the ground and ground doubling (though he was off the tune in line 2 of the latter); variation one was passable (slightly erratic) and the connecting or passing notes in the T&C singlings need to be consistent. Technique was suspect on D taorluath and crunluath. The throw to F from high A was also weak. Might an easier tune benefit Alastair?


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Peter Hunt: continually short with the cadence Es in the ground of the Groat. There was a general lack of expressive feel and I wonder if Peter’s concentration was affected by a light drone tone not locked to the low A of the chanter. Neil Clarke‘s pipe was well set if marginally flat on D and high G. No flatness now in the dry, desert lands of Oman Neil! Overall he lacked phrasing in his Auldearn No2, and Variation

Nick Hudson, winner of the 'B' MSR
Nick Hudson, winner of the ‘B’ MSR

2 was not to my liking at all. If playing through to the final Bs and Cs of the phrases a la Robert Reid, you cannot hold the initial note as you would when giving this variation the ‘straight’ pendulum treatment. After this variation Neil finished his task well and his dress and deportment were a joy to behold. From Hong Kong we had Andrew Chun-kit Yu.  He made the mistake of trying to tune his drones to D; the finger was good and he showed a lot of pluck for someone new to the ceol mor game. Tom Glover from New Zealand had an off day. He had neither the pipe nor the finger that could do Lament for Patrick Og any justice. Rebecca Tierney had really nice instrument; good balance, solid, chanter true. The timing was not to my taste, but consistent. I consider the opening Es melody notes, not cadence introductions. Variation 1 had none of the driving, rhythmical roundness required. Still, a good performance overall. Matt Pantaleoni was given Macleod of Raasay’s Salute. In the past Matt has been guilty of failing to close out a good tune. He starts well and then memory or fingering lapses do for him. Not this time. The pipe was beautifully set, the music controlled and expressive and the finger crisp and clear. The Red Speckled Bull is a favourite of young Sandy Cameron and he set about his task with sure-footedness. Perhaps a bit too footsure, and the tune struggled to get going at first, though never poorly timed or phrased. Later there was too much of a gap before some of the cadences and the pipe drifted a little towards the end, but this was a performance that had to be in contention for a prize. The MacGregor’s Salute was played by Bruce MacDonald, a piper I had not heard before. He had a very good idea of the tune but the top hand work was suspect. Good a mach; promising piper. The MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart delivered by Finlay Clarke was the best tune I had heard from him. The pipe was true and only a little flat on high A. The third ground could have done with a more legato feel and he did not push to the ends of thecadences in the T&C singlings as I would have liked, but, all in all an enjoyable rendering.

JA Smith 'P&A' H&J winner
JA Smith ‘P&A’ H&J winner

Andrew Donlan‘s chanter was keen sounding, and the drones did not last until the end of My King Has Landed in Moidart. Excellent finger but erratic timing in places, especially the dithis. With more controlled expression this piper could do well. Result: 1 M Pantaleoni 2 S Cameron 3 U Beckford 4 F Clark

Other results:
‘P&A’ Piob: 1 W McCallum 2 E MacCrimmon 3 JA Smith 4 E McIlwaine.
‘P&A’ March: 1 W McCallum 2 C Campbell 3 JA Smith 4 P Hunt
‘P&A’ MSR: 1 W McCallum 2 G McCready 3 C Campbell 4 E MacCrimmon
‘B’ MSR: 1 N Hudson 2 A Donlan 3 M Pantaleoni 4 U Beckford
Open H&J: 1 JA Smith 2 D Forrest 3 G McCready 4 C Campbell
Judges for senior events: I MacFadyen, A Forbes

W McCallum, overall senior winner
W McCallum, overall senior winner

I was joined by Archie MacLean for the ‘B’ MSR and once more it was a mixed bag, though the prizewinners all played well. Noteworthy was the fact that each of them was from the US of A.

Junior Competitions

18 and Under Piobaireachd – An Tuagh Umha
1st            Brighde Chaimbeul, Kyle
2nd          Connor Jardine, Airdrie
3rd           Ally Weir, Fort William

18 and Under March, Strathspey and Reel – Lochaber Gathering Salver
1st            Brighde Chaimbeul, Kyle
2nd          Connor Jardine, Airdrie
3rd           Ally Weir, Fort William

18 and Under Hornpipe and Jig – Clansman Garage Shield
1st            Brighde Chaimbeul, Kyle
2nd          Connor Jardine, Airdrie
3rd           Ally Weir, Fort William

15 and Under Piobaireachd – Dugald MacColl Memorial Trophy
1st            Donald Stewart, Stewarton
2nd          Wallace Dempster, Arisaig
3rd           Finlay Cameron, Roy Bridge

15 and Under March, Strathspey and Reel
1st            Donald Stewart, Stewarton
2nd          Wallace Dempster, Arisaig
3rd           Finlay Cameron, Roy Bridge

15 and Under Hornpipe and Jig
1st            Donald Stewart, Stewarton
2nd          Finlay Cameron, Roy Bridge
3rd           Angus MacPhee, Inverness

Youngest Competitor – The Neil Johnstone Memorial Trophy: Joseph Caimbeul, Kyle
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RSPBA Dundee, Perth & Angus Solos

Held on 15th November 2014 at Craigie High School, Dundee
Chanter
1st Owen Cooney
2nd Archie McNab
3rd John Sturrock
4th Cailen Townsley
5th Cameron Geddes
Novice Piping (13 years and under)
1st Glen Kelly
2nd Christopher Crerar
3rd Robbie Coupar
4th Rory Grant
5th Max Crawford
March (18 years & under)
1st Liam Donaldson
2nd Jamie Falconer
3rd Marshall Allan
4th Callum Douglas
5th Connor Bell
6th Aaron Bryce
MSR (18 years & under)
1st Keith Christie
2nd Kyle Howie
3rd Andrew Christie
Jig (18 years & under)
1st Jordan Ednie
2nd Marshall Allan
3rd Jamie Falconer
4th Callum Douglas
5th Liam Brown
6th Owen Sweeney
Jig (18 years +)
1st Keith Christie


John Milne Fine Arts Grampian Games Association
Piping League 2014

Piobaireachd

Aberdeen

  1. Robert Gibb                                                     4
  2. Alan Clark                                                         3
  3. Allan Russell                                                    2
  4. Jamie Forrester                                             1

Tomintoul

  1. Fraser Maitland                                             4
  2. Edward Gaul                                                    3
  3. Greig Canning                                                 2
  4. Greig Wilson                                                    1

Aboyne

  1. Allan Russell                                                    4
  2. Gavin Ferguson                                             3
  3. Anna Kummerlow                                        2
  4. Craig Sutherland                                           1

Ballater

  1. Faye Henderson                                            4
  2. Allan Russell                                                     3
  3. Anna Kummerlow                                         2
  4. Fraser Maitland                                              1

Lonach

  1.  Gordon McCready                                           4
  2.   Graham Mulholland                                       3
  3.  Nick Hudson                                                        2
  4.  Anna Kummerlow                                            1

Braemar

  1. Callum Beaumont
  2. Graham Mulholland
  3. Robert Gibb
  4. Matt Pantaleoni

PLACINGS                                                                POINTS

1 )    Allan Russell                                                            9
2=)   Robert Gibb                                                            6
2=)   Graham Mulholland                                           6
3=)   Fraser Maitland                                                    5
3=)   Ann Kummerlow                                                  5
4=)   Faye Henderson                                                   4
4=)   Gordon McCready                                              4
4=)   Callum Beaumont                                               4
5=)   Alan Clark                                                                3
5=)   Edward Gaul                                                           3
5=)   Gavin Ferguson                                                     3
6=)   Greig Canning                                                        2
6=)   Nick Hudson                                                           2
7=)   Jamie Forrester                                                    1
7=)   Greig Wilson                                                           1
7=)   Craig Sutherland                                                  1
7=)   Matt Pantaleoni                                                    1

Light Music

Aberdeen

March

  1. Allan Russell                                                        4
  2. Alan Clark                                                             3
  3. Andrew Wilson                                                  2
  4. Michael Elder                                                      1

Strathspey and Reel

  1. Andrew Wilson                                                  4
  2. Allan Russell                                                        3
  3. Alan Clark                                                             2
  4. Robert Gibb                                                         1

Jig

  1. Jamie Forrester                                                  4
  2. Alan Clark                                                              3
  3. Peter McCalister                                              2
  4. James McPetrie                                                  1

Drumtochty

March

  1. Thomas Roberts                                                  4
  2. Michael Laing                                                       3

Strathspey and Reel

  1. Thomas Roberts                                                   4
  2. Michael Laing                                                         3

Tomintoul

March

  1.  Greig Wilson                                                            4
  2.  Greig Canning                                                       3
  3.  Dan Lyden                                                                2
  4.  Alan Clark                                                                1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Greig Wilson                                                            4
  2.  Greig Canning                                                         3
  3.  Dan Lyden                                                                2
  4.  Pamela Whyte                                                       1

Jig and Hornpipe

  1.  Greig Wilson                                                          4
  2.  Alan Clark                                                               3
  3.  Greig Canning                                                       2
  4.  Pamela Whyte                                                      1

Aboyne

March

  1. Gavin Ferguson                                                 4
  2. Greig Canning                                                    3
  3. Allan Russell                                                        2
  4. Craig Sutherland                                               1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Greig Canning                                                      4
  2.  Gavin Ferguson                                                   3
  3. Craig Sutherland                                                 2
  4.  Allan Russell                                                          1

Hornpipe and Jig

  1.  Craig Sutherland                                                 4
  2.  Robert Gibb                                                           3
  3.  Ursa Beckford                                                       2
  4.  Allan Russell                                                         1

Ballater

March

  1.  Faye Henderson                                                  4
  2.  Allan Russell                                                          3
  3.  Fraser Maitland                                                   2
  4.  James McPetrie                                                   1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Allan Russell                                                          4
  2.  Fraser Maitland                                                   3
  3.  Anna Kummerlow                                              2
  4.  James McPetrie                                                  1

results - Carloway Show
Ranald Fraser writes: The 2014 Carloway Show piping took place on Weds 6th August, 2014. Here Finlay MacLeod is presented with the Finlay MacNeil Cup by Mrs Mairi MacLennan, wife of Gordon MacLennan the Games opener. A showery day to begin with followed by glorious sunshine till the end with the piping main stage looking over Loch Carloway. A very large and appreciative audience stayed and listened to some superb playing. Judge: Domhnall ‘Ban’ MacDonald, Kyles Flodda; Fear aneTighr- Donald ‘Twechar’ Smith, Bragar MSR: 1st. (£60) Finlay MacLeod (Point) 2nd.(£40) Peter MacKay (Upper Coll) 3rd. (£30) Allan MacDonald (Steinish) Hornpipe and Jig: 1st. (£40) Finlay MacLeod 2nd (£30) Peter MacKay 3rd (£20) Allan MacDonald Pipers’ Choice Medley (three tunes of which one is to be a 6/8 march): 1st (£60) Peter MacKay 2nd (£40) Finlay MacLeod 3rd (£30) Allan MacDonald Finlay MacNeil trophy for the Highest Points overall: Finlay MacLeod, Point; Runner-up: Peter MacKay, Upper Coll

 

Lonach

March

  1.  Nick Hudson                                                           4
  2.  William Rowe                                                         3
  3.  Eric Ouillette                                                             2
  4.  Anna Kummerlow                                                1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Eric Oulette                                                             4
  2.  Gordon McCready                                              3
  3.  Nick Hudson                                                           2
  4.  William Rowe                                                         1

Tune by Willie Grant

  1.  Eric Oulette                                                           4
  2.  Nick Hudson                                                         3
  3.  Anna Kummerlow                                              2
  4.  Gordon McCready                                             1

Braemar

March

  1.  Craig Sutherland                                                4
  2.  John Angus Smith                                              3
  3.  Callum Beaumont                                              2
  4.  Jori Chisholm                                                       1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Craig Sutherland                                                4
  2.  Callum Beaumont                                              3
  3.  Graham Mulholland                                          2
  4.  Greig Canning                                                       1

PLACINGS                                                                   POINTS

  1.       Allan Russell                                                        18
  2.       Greig Canning                                                     16
  3.       Craig Sutherland                                               15
    4=)     Alan Clark                                                            12
    4=)     Greig Wilson                                                        12
    5)       Eric Oulette                                                           10
    6)       Nick Hudson                                                           9
    7)       Thomas Roberts                                                    8
    8)       Gavin Ferguson                                                      7
    9=)     Andrew Wilson                                                       6
    9=)     Michael Laing                                                         6
    10=)   Fraser Maitland                                                       5
    10=)   Anna Kummerlow                                                   5
    10=)   Callum Beaumont                                                   5
    11=)   Faye Henderson                                                      4
    11=)   Jamie Forrester                                                       4
    11=)   Dan Lyden                                                             4
    11=)   Robert Gibb                                                           4
    11=)   William Rowe                                                        4
    11=)   Gordon McCready                                                 4
    12=)   James McPetrie                                                      3
    12=)   John Angus Smith                                                  3
    13=)   Peter McCallister                                                   2
    13=)   Pamela Whyte                                                       2
    13=)   Ursa Beckford                                                       2
    13 =)   Graham Mulholland                                              2
    14=)    Michael Elder                                                        1
    14=)   Jori Chisholm                                                         1

William Geddes, winner at Perth
William Geddes, winner at Perth

JUNIOR PIPING  Under 18

LIGHT MUSIC

Aberdeen

March

  1. 1) Calum Brown                                                       4
  2. 2) Liam Duncan                                                        3

Strathspey and Reel

  1. 1) Calum Brown                                                       4
  2. 2) Liam Duncan                                                        3

Jig

  1. 1) Calum Brown                                                      4
  2. 2) Liam Duncan                                                       3

Drumtochty

March

  1.    Peter McEwen                                                     4

Tomintoul

March

  1.  Scott Hay                                                                   4
  2.  Harris MacLennan                                                3
  3.  Sean McHugh                                                          2
  4.  Danny Hutcheson                                                 1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.   Harris MacLennan                                               4
  2.   Scott Hay                                                                   3
  3.   Danny Hutcheson                                                 2
  4.  Sean McHugh                                                           1

Aboyne

March Strathspey and Reel

1,  John Dew                                                                 4
2.  Calum Brown                                                         3
3.  Liam Donaldson                                                    2
4.  Murray Watt                                                           1


Darach Urquhart, winner at Lochearnhead
Darach Urquhart, winner at Lochearnhead

 

Ballater

March

  1.  Lee Taylor                                                             4
  2.  Ian Leahy                                                               3
  3.  Robert Howie                                                     2

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Lee Taylor                                                            4
  2.  Ian Leahy                                                              3
  3.  Liam Brown                                                         2

Lonach

March

  1. Harry MacLauchlan                                          4
  2.  Calum Brown                                                       3
  3.  Scott Hay                                                                2
  4.  Sean McHugh                                                       1

Strathspey and Reel

  1.  Calum Brown                                                         4
  2.  Harry MacLauchlan                                            3
  3.  Sean McHugh                                                         2
  4.  Scott Hay                                                                  1

 

Braemar

March

  1.  Donald Stewart                                                    4
  2.  Lewis Russell                                                         3
  3.  Marshall Allan                                                       2
  4.  Finlay Frame                                                           1

Strathspey and Reel
1.  Marshall Allan                                                       4
2.  Sean McHugh                                                        3
3.  Donald Stewart                                                    2
4.  Lewis Russell                                                         1

PLACINGS                                                                 POINTS
1) Calum Brown 22
2) Scott Hay                                                                  10
3=)   Liam Duncan                                                        9
3=)   Sean McHugh                                                       9
4)      Lee Taylor                                                               8
5=)   Harry MacLauchlan                                          7
5=)   Harris MacLennan                                             7
6=)   Ian Leahy                                                                 6
6=)   Donald Stewart                                                   6
7=)   Marshall Allan                                                      6
8=)   Lewis Russell                                                        4
8=)   Peter McEwen                                                     4
8=)   John Dew                                                                4
9)     Danny Hutcheson                                               3
10=) Robert Howie                                                      2
10=) Liam Brown                                                           2
10=) Liam Donaldson                                                  2
11=) Murray Watt                                                        1
11=) Finlay Frame                                                         1

 

One thought on “Lochaber Gathering and Summer Contest Wrap -Up”

  1. Nice to see you print the words of On the Road to Glendaruel (My Dream Valley). Anyone reading and enjoying those words cannot fail to see that the first ‘In the’ is an upbeat, with the main first emphasis coming on the syllable GLOAM (ing). And yet people insist on having the weak ‘in the’ on a great thundering first beat of the bar . I hope readers will take a minute to read through the verse, noting where they naturally place their louder and stronger syllables. And then just try reading it the way pipers tend to write it and readers will see how far out it is and what a great disservice it does to the composer and author of the beautiful words. Ditto The Green Hills and countless others. It has implications not only for the pipers and where they place their emphasis but for the drumming scores. As tends to happen, they have their strong ‘first beats’ actually happening on weak third beats and so on. Musical nonsense. Again, I hope your piece on the composer and tune, make people stop and think.

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