Published: September 30, 2020

Eagle Pipers get back at it with online meetings and virtual steak pies

The Eagle Pipers’ Society has resumed regular meetings online after the Edinburgh-based social piping organization suspended operations when Scotland shut down in-person activities last March.

The Society, whose members are mostly from the Edinburgh area, but which counts dues-paying pipers from all parts of the world, is holding monthly online meetings via Zoom, with an attempt to recreate sessions that are normally held at the Scots Guards Club in Edinburgh’s West End.

According to Honourary President Douglas Gardiner, there will be a group session on practice chanters and probably at least one solo performance.

The Eagles will also hold an online solo competition using a handicapping system similar to golf, designed to enable competitors of all levels to equitably compete against each other.

The Society has always had a high degree of humour, and is working to accentuate the lighter side of the art by having a prominent, as yet unidentified pipe band drummer as the judge of the Slow Air & Jig event via YouTube, which will include a prize for “Worst Video.” The special award replaces the customary presentation for “Best Breakdown.”

In light of the altered format for events, dues for UK residents are being reduced from £30 to £20, and £10 for non-UK members, down from £20.

“We will of course appreciate any member who chooses to pay at the standard rate,” Gardiner said. He added that those attending the meetings “will have to purchase their own steak pies and have the liberty to wear whatever they wish from the waist down.

“I fully appreciate the world of online piping is not complementary to a social society such as ours. However, we need to grasp the nettle and make the best of the hand we have been dealt. One plus side is that we may see more of our distinguished overseas members.”

Those interested in joining, can do so via the Eagle Pipers’ Society website.

The original organization was founded in 1960, taking its name from the organization’s first meeting place, the Eagle Bar (now the Ensign Ewart) near Edinburgh Castle. The society fizzled in the early-1980s, as piping declined in the Edinburgh area, with its last meeting place the West End Hotel at Palmerston Place.

Through the 1970s, the Eagle Pipers held an annual indoor solo competition that proved popular with top players. The society welcomed invited guest recitalists, who were presented with an Eagle Pipers tie and became honourary members. Several of the ties still exist and are seen today as piping status symbols.

The organization was resurrected in 2010, and has met every month throughout the competition off-season until the COVID-19 crisis.

 


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