In her speech Mrs McAllister talked of the long history piping had in Inverness and reminded us of one of its finest sons, John MacDonald, piper to Kings and the first Piping Instructor appointed by the Piobaireachd Society to run the Army Class in the nearby Cameron Barracks. This Class was the forerunner of the Army School of Piping.
In reply Piping Convenor of the Northern Meeting, Alan Forbes, thanked the city for their generous support for the piping competitions which were so much a part of the cultural fabric of the capital of the Highlands.
Musical fare was provided by last year’s double Gold Medallist Ian K MacDonald of Ontario, Canada. Ian began a fine selection with part of his winning tune Mary’s Praise and then concluded with some nicely phrased and executed ceol beag:
Then it was outside to listen to the band of the Queen’s Own Highlanders Association (top) who played a good selection of favourites in their usual musical style – and how pleasant it was to hear a well tuned bass drum providing a simple heart beat to the music:
During the reception I spoke to Iain MacFadyen who is on judging duty in today’s Silver Medal. Iain reminded me that it was 60 years since he won the Gold Medal himself, 1957, and the tune was the End of the Great Bridge. The bench was James Campbell, Dugald Graham-Campbell and Archie MacNab.
Iain told of how after the competition Donald Morrison (Aberdeen Police) approached Iain’s older brother John with the words ‘You must be very proud.’ John, thinking he was about to hear some great news, drew himself up and beamed in expectation, only for Donald to continue ‘at Iain winning the medal!’ It was some years later that John, like Iain himself a master player, was to get the coveted award but at the time, says Iain, he was rather miffed at his brother, ten years younger, getting the big one before him. Such stories are all part of piping folklore and thanks to Iain for passing that gem on.
I also had a chat with Iain MacGillivray son of Gold Medallist Duncan. Iain is recovering well after a terrible farm accident which caused spinal damage. Iain is managing to get about okay whilst wearing a brace and using sticks. A complete recovery is not far away so we can all be thankful for that.
Results from today’s competitions, the Gold Medal, Silver Medal, ‘A’ Grade MSR and Former Winners’ MSR will be available on Piping Press as we get them.