The Piobaireachd Society is to promote its second concert of ceol mor as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The concert ‘Classical Pipe Music – Scotland’s Hidden Treasure’ is on Sunday, August 11, at 7pm. As last year the venue is the 200-seat St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh. The concert is expected to finish around 9.30pm and there will be a small reception afterwards.
The pipers invited to perform this year are Stuart Easton, NZ, the 2018 Oban Gold Medallist, Dr Peter McCalister the 2018 Inverness Gold Medallist, Darach Urquhart the 2018 Oban Silver Medallist and double Gold Medallist Niall Stewart, Kyle. They will each play two tunes in continuous fashion with no gaps for tuning, four tunes before the interval and four after.
The tunes to be played are: the Massacre of Glencoe, the Wee Spree, the Old Men of the Shells, Queen Elizabeth II’s Salute, Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay, the Daughter’s Lament, the Blind Piper’s Obstinacy and Chisholm’s Salute.
Tickets are priced £10 and are available via the Fringe Box Office and at the door. The entrance fee includes a comprehensive concert programme detailing the history of the music and the tunes played.
Piobaireachd Society President Robert Wallace said: ‘Last year’s recital was a great success and introduced many visitors to ceol mor. St Cecilia’s Hall is a beautiful venue with an excellent acoustic for the bagpipe.
‘The absence of tuning and the quality of the musicianship of this year’s recitalists will guarantee another very enjoyable evening of piobaireachd music.’
Niall Stewart is originally from Alness in Easter Ross and now resides in Kyle of Lochalsh with his wife Cara and children Maria and Fraser. He is the Schools Piping Instructor for South Skye and Lochalsh. Niall has won several of the top awards in piping including the Gold Medal for piobaireachd at both the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting. He formed Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band in 2014 and in 2017 they won the World Championship in their grade.
Darach Urquhart began piping aged eight taught by his next door neighbour, the solo piping champion, Iain MacFadyen in Kyle of Lochalsh. Darach won all the major prizes as a junior, and since moving to Glasgow for university has been successful at senior level winning the ‘B’ Marches and Silver Medal (2018) at the Argyllshire Gathering, and the Snuff Mull and Strachan MSR at London. Darach is a civil engineer specialising in railway bridges and last year married his fiancée Helen.
Stuart Easton has been a prolific prize winner throughout New Zealand, Australia, France and Scotland. Last year he won the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering to add to his 2017 Northern Meeting Silver Medal. Other prizes include the Commun Na Piobaireachd NZ Gold Medal and Clasp and the Australian RU Brown Gold Medal. Stuart and his wife Shelley live in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and run a piping and dancing business. They have two children, Kate (6) and Rory (3).
Peter McCalister started learning pipes aged nine, taught by P/M Andy Wilson in Belfast. After Edinburgh Medical School he became a GP in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. He competed as an amateur for some years, and it was not until 2009 that he turned professional, going on to win the Silver Medal at Oban (2012) and then the Gold Medal at Inverness (2018). For some years he has been an active member of the Piobaireachd Society working on its committees.