March 23, 2024

Beaumont, Liddell, IKMacDonald, Speirs to go for Capt. John Medal Aug. 24th

Iain Speirs performing at the 2023 Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition

The Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition will see Callum Beaumont, Stuart Liddell, Ian K. MacDonald and Iain Speirs perform on Saturday, August 24th at the Waldorf-Atsoria – Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh for the black tie event run by the Eagle Pipers Society.

According to the organizers, tickets for this year’s exclusively unique performance/contest will be £60 and go on sale soon. The event sold out last year, falling between the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting solo piping competitions.

The singularity of the event lies in each piper being assigned a piobaireachd composed by MacLellan to perform before the enthusiastic audience, with one judge determining the winner.

Major Bruce Hitchings will adjudicate. His military career coincidentally reflects that of MacLellan. Both were Pipe-Majors in the Queen’s Own Highlanders and rose to the status of Senior Pipe-Major in the British Army and Chief Instructor at the Army School of Piping at Edinburgh Castle. Both men received an MBE for their services to piping.

Captain John MacLellan was a founding member of the Eagle Pipers Society, which started around 1960 as an Edinburgh-based social group for pipers in the area. The group took its name because the co-founders would meet at the Eagle Bar on the Lawnmarket in Edinburgh. Subsequently, the establishment moved, and the Ensign Ewart pub now occupies the original premises. The organization eventually ran a celebrated solo competition in the 1970s.

The Eagle Pipers Society ceased functioning for 25 years until it was resurrected in 2010. It now boasts an international membership, with regular meetings from October to May. The Eagle Pipers necktie, which members receive on joining, has become a ubiquitous emblem worn by solo pipers worldwide.

The memorial competition-recital has played a major role in bringing MacLellan’s nearly 20 piobaireachd compositions to the forefront of solo piping, with “Farewell to the Queen’s Ferry,” “The Edinburgh Piobaireachd,” and “The Phantom Piper of Corrieyarrick” now heard regularly at and winning major competitions.

Iain Speirs won the 2023 Captain John Medal, his fourth time gaining the prestigious prize.

The William Grant Foundation, a major contributor to the Highland piping arts, is once again sponsoring the event.

pipes | Drums recently launched the Castle Recordings series, which comprises exclusive performances of more than 150 piobaireachds personally recorded by MacLellan during his tenure at Edinburgh Castle. Each installment comprises 10 tunes.






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