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2002 Memorial


The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish 

presents the

Third Annual Pipers’ Memorial 


In Memory of

Father Colin Ross
John MacGillivray
Alex (Big Alex) MacDonald
Hector Hugh MacDonald
Johnny Lauchie MacDonald
Dougald Gillis
Red Angus MacGillivray
Johnny MacKenzie
Billy MacLellan

1:30 PM, June 1st, 2002
St. Mary’s Parish Cemetery
Maryvale, Antigonish County, NS


and the Annual General Meeting of
The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish
will follow at
The Maryvale Hall.

All are welcome to attend!




 Janis MacLellan-Peters
ThePiobaireachd Society of Antigonish

Rev. Daniel MacDonald
Parish Priest,
St. Mary’s Parish, Maryvale


Recognition of Pipers


Hugh Martin MacDonald
Alma MacLean
Marcy Macquarrie


Performers and their tunes:

Mary Ellen Baldner, Antigonish
“Salute To Donald”

Nicholas Peters, Clydesdale
“MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart”

James Goldie, Greenwold
“The Glen Is Mine”

Laura MacLellan, Antigonish
“The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute”

Ian Juurlink, St. Andrews
“The Bicker”

Hector MacQuarrie, Halifax
“The Battle of Auldearn”



Copies of  The Kilberry Book of Ceòl Mór

Presented to Nicholas Peters and James Goldie
by Janis MacLellan-Peters, President

Copies of  The Art of Piobaireachd

Presented to Laura MacLellan, Mary Ellen Baldner,
Ian Juurlink, and Hector MacQuarrie

by Ron MacKay, Vice President

 Closing Remarks

Reception and Annual General Meeting to follow at The Maryvale Hall.

All are welcome.


 Stories about the tunes being played today:


The Glen Is Mine
(‘s leam féin an Gleann)

            This well-known tune is said to have been composed by either Iain or Donald MacCrimmon, the last hereditary pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan. Iain succeeded his father, Malcolm, the sixth hereditary piper to MacLeod, but did not enjoy the position and relinquished it to his brother Donald.

            Donald was born about 1743, and became hereditary piper in 1769. He is mentioned by John MacCodrum, the famous Gaelic poet, as being one of the three top pipers in Scotland at that time.  He was considered to be a dominent force in piping in the late 18th century.

            A dispute between Donald and the chief of the Clan resulted in his leaving Skye and emigrating to North Carolina in 1772. He joined the British army to help put down the American Revolution in 1776 but, having chosen the losing side, was forced to leave North Carolina when the war ended in 1783. He was one of the Loyalist settlers at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and operated a ferry for a while, but was unable to make his living there. He returned to Skye when the Highland Society of London offered to pay his passage. An attempt at reviving the MacCrimmon’s famous College of Piping failed and Donald was, by 1811, living in Glenelg. He died about 1825.

            There is a tradition which states that Donald (or Iain) was inspired to compose “The Glen Is Mine” when he was passing through Glenshiel, in Ross-shire, with the Earl of Seaforth. The words associated with the tune are: “’S leam féin an Gleann, ‘s leam féin na th’ann” which can be translated to mean “The Glen is mine and all therein.” 

MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart
(Maol Donn, no leannan Mhic Cruimein)

             “History is silent as to who Maol Donn was,” yet tradition says that the tune was composed on the death of a favourite cow bearing this name, which is a common term for a Highland cow.  D.S. MacDonald, a Sergeant Piper in the 1st Battalion Royal Scots wrote a letter to the Northern Chronicle of 13th May, 1888 in which he dates the tune to the fourteenth, and even possibly the thirteenth century. Angus MacKay says that Maol Donn was the son of Conal, King of Kintyre. According to historical accounts, however, he was actually the son of Conal II, a Scoto-Irish King, and he reigned, after his brother’s death, for a period of some sixteen years.

 The Bicker
(Port a’ Mheadair)
(or “The Extirpation of the Tinkers”)

             The Gaelic name for the tune shows that it is concerned with a drinking vessel, or meadear (literally, a container for mead). A “Bicker” is the same thing, and may be thought of as a “beaker”. The bicker was bucket-shaped, and came in two forms, the “luggie” with an upright handle, and the “cog” or “coggie” which had downturned curved handles which might be two or three in number.

            The second name for the tune is found in MacKay’s MS, namely “The Extirpation of the tinkers, by the King’s order”. (To ‘extirpate’ means to rout out or destroy.)

            Still a third name for the tune is “The Two Faced Englishman”.

The Marquis of Argyle’s Salute

            Archibald, Earl of Argyle, was created Marquis by letters patent, on the 15th of November, 1641. He zealously espoused the side of the Presbyterians and, after the decapitation of King Charles, had the honour to place the crown on the head of his son when he retreated to Scotland. On the restoration, however, he was attainted of high treason for corresponding with Cromwell and was executed at Edinburgh on the 27th of May, 1661.

            The illustrious family of Argyle were distinguished in the Highlands from remote antiquity as the Siol o’ Duibhne, or the Race of Duine. Latterly, the patronymic designation of MacCallain Mor was given to those powerful nobles, and is still the familiar appellation used by the natives. It is derived from “Great Colin” who flourished in the time of the Bruce.

The Battle of Auldearn 

            The martial music of the Grahams seems to be chiefly associated with the great Montrose and Claverhouse. The Gathering of the Grahams is commemorative of the battle fought at Auldearn, near Nairn, between Montrose and the Covenanters under Sir John Hurry, when the latter was defeated, in 1645.

Salute to Donald

            This tune is reputed to be very old and, unfortunately, neither the composer nor the circumstances of the tune’s composition are known.


            The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish


            The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish was formed in November, 1996 to promote the learning and performance of Piobaireachd, the ancient music of the Highland Scots who settled in Eastern Nova Scotia in the 19th century. The Society meets approximately eight times a year and members and guests enjoy performances by pipers from Antigonish Town and County who are studying Piobaireachd.

            Since 1997, the Society has hosted a series of Piobaireachd workshops open to all who wish to learn to play the great music, with participants coming from across the Maritime Provinces. Tunes taught include those selected by the Piobaireachd Society (Scotland) for the Silver and Gold Medal competitions held annually at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban and The Northern Meeting in Inverness. These tunes have been set for performance at the annual ACPBA Piobaireachd Challenge competitions held each May in Antigonish, Nova Scotia since 1990. During the 2001-2002 instructional season, the Society hosted workshops conducted by Ed Neigh of Wellesley, ON, Alasdair Gillies of Pittsburgh, PA, Double Gold Medalist Andrew Wright of Dunblane, Scotland, President of The Piobaireachd Society (Scotland), and yet another Double Gold Medalist, John Cairns of London, Ontario.

            In June, 2000 the Society hosted the First Annual Pipers’ Memorial at the South River Cemetery to honour the memories of two former Official Pipers of the Antigonish Highland Society. Each of the eight participating pipers were presented with hard bound copies of “The Killberry Book of Ceòl Mór”. In June, 2001 the Second Annual Pipers’ Memorial was held at St. Margaret’s Parish Cemetery, Arisaig, where nine pioneer pipers were remembered. On that occasion, one more student piper was presented with a Killberry book and five other participating musicians were presented with copies of  “The Book of the Bagpipe” by Hugh Cheape of the National Museum of Scotland. The Third Annual Pipers Memorial is taking place today, here in Maryvale, with presentations as listed in this program.

            In October,  2000, the Society awarded its first travel bursary to a local Antigonish piper who represented Atlantic Canada at the prestigious George Sheriff Memorial Amateur Solo Piping Competition in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2001, the Society gave bursaries for the study of Piobaireachd at St. Ann’s Gaelic College and for travel to Piobaireachd competitions in Scotland.

            The Society welcomes new members and the general public is always invited to attend student recitals and Society meetings. Notices of meetings, workshops, and recitals appear in the local media.




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