Piobaireachd Club – December 9, 2005

Greetings, a report on Friday’s meeting. Regards, Ron

The Club met at the home of Jack and Christine Lee for the annual Christmas meeting. The atmosphere was festive. As one true believer put the matter, “What could be better? The music, the sociability, the warm venue, and the wonderful spread of goodies that Christine put on the table – there is nothing in this world like it!”

Twelve young pipers lined up to do the honours, from the youngest to the eldest, with a senior piper closing the evening. The influence of the list of tunes recommended for the 2006 Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting was evident in the selection of tunes played as the evening progressed.
Anthony Low got the meeting off to a great start with the ground and first variation of The Desperate Battle. Then, following in timely order came: Scott Wood who played Lament for the Old Sword; Chris Low with The Massacre of Glencoe; Kyle Banta with Catherine’s Lament; Erin Warkman with The Battle of Auldearn #1; John Lee with Too Long in This Condition; and, Griffith Gustafson with Sir James Douglas of the Isles Lament.
At this point there was a break to enjoy the delicious spread that Christine laid out.
Tim Byron got the second session off with The Massacre of Glencoe and Alastair Lee followed with MacFarlane’s Gathering. Then came four of the recommended tunes: Colin Lee with The Battle of Strome; Will Nichols with Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks; Andrew Lee with The Duke of Atholl’s Salute. Jori Chisholm put finish to the evening with Fair Honey.
The last two tunes are new to the Club, bringing the total number of piobaireachds played to 120 since the formative meeting 15 years ago. Mary MacLeod and Auldearn are the favorites, each having been played 11 times. Viscount Dundee and the King’s Taxes are next (7 times). followed by Glencoe (6 times) and Patrick Og (5 times).
As to the Battle of Strome, circa 1602, the tune arose from an extended feud between the MacKenzies and the Macdonalds of Glengarry in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. The Castle of Strome was captured and destroyed by MacKenzies. Glengarry himself was killed in a battle fought from boats on Loch Carron. A sorry outcome of this feud was the burning of Cille Chriosd Church by Macdonalds, with the congregation inside, although there is some uncertainty about the latter point. The Battle of Strome was one in a long series of battles that followed on the demise of the Lord of the Isles, circa 1476, as Campbells and Mackenzies fought for dominance and Macdonalds and other clans struggled for survival.
The next meeting will probably be in February, 2006. Watch for a notice in due course.