Alex (Big Alex) MacDonald
Hector Hugh MacDonald
Johnny Lauchie MacDonald
Red Angus MacGillivray
PM, June 1st, 2002
St. Mary’s Parish Cemetery
Antigonish County, NS
and the Annual General Meeting of
The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish
will follow at
The Maryvale Hall.
are welcome to attend!
ThePiobaireachd Society of Antigonish
Rev. Daniel MacDonald
Parish Priest, St.
Mary’s Parish, Maryvale
and their tunes:
Ellen Baldner, Antigonish
“Salute To Donald”
“The Glen Is Mine”
“The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute”
Juurlink, St. Andrews
Battle of Auldearn”
Kilberry Book of Ceòl Mór
to Nicholas Peters and James Goldie
by Janis MacLellan-Peters, President
Art of Piobaireachd
to Laura MacLellan, Mary Ellen Baldner,
Ian Juurlink, and Hector MacQuarrie
by Ron MacKay, Vice President
and Annual General Meeting to follow at The Maryvale Hall.
about the tunes being played today:
The Glen Is
(‘s leam féin an Gleann)
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.”
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
“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 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
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
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.
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.