Editor’s Notebook: Oban and Inverness/ Irish in Spain/ MacDonald Search / Lorient Poster/ Eagle Pipers 1969

Innes Smith on the stage at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on his way to winning the 2024 Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting

I hope that the new, early registration rule for senior pipers works in cutting down the numbers at Oban and Inverness. (Entries in the Former Winners’ MSR, Clasp and Senior Piobaireachd need to be in by January 31 next year.)

However I suspect most of those pipers who qualify will enter anyway and ‘see how they feel about competing’ nearer the time. Most will, of course, play; but a few will opt not to – time, family, travel, work etc.

In this case the promoters will be back where they started, relying on call offs to make the numbers manageable. They will have, though, a reason for excluding individuals in following years – for failure to front up.

Given custom and practice and long-embedded rules, it is difficult to tell someone who has a Gold Medal that he can’t play in the Clasp. If he was a no-show the previous year it makes this easier – assuming a pardonable reason has not been intimated beforehand..

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Irish in Spain

Northern Ireland correspondent Gilbert Cromie has sent the names of the members of Dublin’s St Mary’s ‘Anti-Communist’ Pipe Band who travelled to Spain to play for the Irish Brigade in 1937:

The initial query came from Patricia Bravo, director of the Cáceres Irish Fleadh International Festival in Spain: ‘We are making a historical Irish compilation related to music in our city. We know that in 1937 from February to June a band of Irish pipers came to our city with the name of St. Mary’s Pipers Band. 

‘We are having a hard time finding any great-grandchildren or relatives of any of its members or any information or photographs to know more about the stories of its members and the band.’

Relatives or anyone with knowledge of those named above can contact Patricia via www.irishfleadh.com.

MacDonald Search

Reader Maureen Jenkins Pender in Calgary: The father of Martin MacDonald of Prince Edward Island was Piper Archibald MacDonald of the MacDonalds of Glencoe. Archibald came to Prince Edward Island in 1785 and fought in the war of 1812 (US v Canada) where he was known as Gilespah MacDonald and apparently awarded distinction for valour. Does anyone have any information on this MacDonald line in PEI? Regards, MJP Calgary. Contact Maureen here

Lorient Poster

The 2024 Interceltique Festival in Lorient, Brittany, has the ‘Young of the Celtic Nations’ as its theme. Here is the poster:

It is from August 12 -18 as you can see and therefore clashes, on the second weekend, with the Worlds (Aug 16/17).

Eagle Piper’s 1969

I know how much everyone likes reading up on old competition results and most of what I have comes a wide selection of programmes collected over the years. The Eagle Pipers in Edinburgh was a very active society from the late ’60s onwards. The 1969 programme notes an annual dinner in the Carlton Hotel on the 26th March where 115 members and guests enjoyed an evening with General Frank Richardson as the main speaker.

That May the Society ‘advanced upon Blair Atholl’ as guests of the Atholl Highlanders with 27 attending and playing at Blair Castle. A recital during the Edinburgh Festival was sustained by quartets from the Edinburgh Police and solos from P/M Iain McLeod, Duncan Johnstone, Iain MacFadyen and Kenny MacDonald, with piobaireachd from John MacDougall and John Wilson. November saw the Eagles’ annual competition and here are the results:

Piobaireachd Class 1:
1 Hector MacFadyen, MacDougall’s Gathering
2 Hugh MacCallum, End of the High Bridge
3 John MacDougall, Lament for the Children
4 Duncan MacFadyen, Black Donald’s March
Judges: Captain John MacLellan, Dr MacLaren, Major GB Murray

Hector MacFadyen, Pennyghael, Mull

Piobaireachd Class 2:
1 P/M Jimmy McGregor
2 John Garroway
3 Andrew Wright
4 Angus J MacLellan
Judges: DR MacLennan, Dr MacKay, P/M Donald MacLeod

March: 1 Hector MacFadyen 2 Ian McLellan 3 John MacDougall 4 Angus J MacLellan
S&R: 1 Hector MacFadyen 2 John MacDougall 3 Iain MacFadyen 4 Hugh MacCallum
H&J: 1 John MacDougall 2 Hector MacFadyen 3 Lawrie Gillespie 4 Hugh MacCallum
Light music judges: P/M Duncan Cameron, Dr Caird, Capt. John MacLellan, P/M Evan MacRae, Dr MacLaren, GB Murray

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