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2004 Memorial

 

From L-R: Pipers Andrea Boyd, Adam Gillis, Ian Juurlink, Tiber Falzett, James Goldie, 
Mary Chisholm, and Scott Williams

Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish

Presents

 

The Fifth Annual

Pipersí Memorial

 2:00 PM

Sunday, September 26th, 2004
St. Ninianís Parish Cemetery
Antigonish, NS

Program

Welcome

Brenda Riley, President

Opening Prayer

Father Ray Huntley

Introduction of Pipers

Being Remembered Today:

Jocelyn Gillis, Brenda Riley

  Allan Beaton

John Angus Boyd

Alexander (Sandy Mor) MacDonald

John Hugh (Jack The Piper) MacDonald

William Joseph (Willie Hector) MacDonald

Charles MacDougall

John MacKinnon

Charlie Joe MacGillivray

Introduction of Performers

and their Tunes

Scott Williams

 

 

Playing Ground and 1st Variations:

Mary Chisholm (Lament for Donald of Laggan)

Carolyn Curry (MacLeodís Controversy)

James Goldie (Catherineís Lament)

Adam Gillis (Lament for Donald of Laggan)

Playing Full Piobaireachds:

Tiber Falzett (Melbankís Salute)

Ian Juurlink (Corrienessanís Salute)

Andrea Boyd (Massacre of Glencoe)

Presentations of Music Books to Performers

Closing Remarks

Refreshments at St. Ninian's Place

Followed by

Piobaireachd Societyís Annual General Meeting

 


 

The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish was formed in November 1996 to encourage the learning and performance of piobaireachd (pronounced PEEP-air-och, or in the English equivalent, just PEE-brock), which is the ancient and classical music of the Highland Scots who settled in Eastern Nova Scotia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Piobaireachd is a unique form of music that is best performed on the Great Highland Bagpipes, Scotlandís national instrument. It has often be described as a theme or Ground followed by a series of variations on the theme, each increasing in complexity until the tune reaches its final glory in the Crunluath or Crunluath a mach variations. The ancient Celtic symbol for infinity is a snake with its tail in its mouth. In keeping with this never-ending circle motif, pipers usually end a piobaireachd performance with a restatement of at least part of the Ground.

The first pipers to come to Antigonish County were undoubtedly piobaireachd players, but there was little opportunity to rehearse this music in pioneers days, and even fewer opportunities to perform it, or pass it on to succeeding generations. The performance of piobaireachd became a lost art in Nova Scotia. Attempts to keep it alive met with only modest success, and today piobaireachd must be learned from masters who are brought in from Scotland or other centres where the music has survived.

The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish has become a major force in the preservation and promotion of piobaireachd playing in Atlantic Canada. Since 1996 the Society has hosted weekend workshops, which offer world-class instruction to pipers from across the Maritimes and beyond. Participants in these workshops have gone on to gain recognition as outstanding piobaireachd players, winning major prizes in the region, the country, and internationally. The Society supports instruction at the local level and has provided instructional materials and study and travel grants to learners and performers of piobaireachd from the town and county of Antigonish. It has also been hosting Pipersí Memorials such as the one today (earlier memorials took place at South River, Arisaig, Maryvale and Giantís Lake).

The work of the Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish depends upon the generosity of its many supporters. Donations are always welcome. They are tax deductible and may be mailed to The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish, 43 Hillcrest Street, Antigonish, NS B2G 1Z2.

Pipers Being Remembered

Allan Bernard Beaton

Allan Beaton was born in 1955, the son of Kaye and Morrison Beaton of Brierly Brook. A nephew of pipers Herman and Archie Beaton, he began his own study of the bagpipes with his brother Francis in 1965 under the expert tuition of Sandy Boyd. In a very short time, Allan became an excellent piper, winning many awards in solo competition across the Maritimes, in Ontario and in New England. He was a founding member of the Antigonish Legion Junior Pipe Band and served as its pipe major for several years. Allan composed his first piece of music, which he named in honour of his younger sister just a few short months before his death at the age of 16 as the result of an accident at school in 1971.

John Angus Boyd

Johnny Boyd was born in 1921 to Annabell and John A. Boyd. In the 1940s, he joined the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band as a drummer under the leadership of Pipe Major Herman Beaton. When Major C.I.N. MacLeod moved to Antigonish in 1958, he began to take instruction on the bagpipes and by 1960 was listed as a piper in the band.

In 1953 Johnny married Iona Shaffner of Lynn, Massachusetts and they raised three children. He was, for many years, a shoemaker and later a printer with the Credit Union League and at St. Francis Xavier University. Johnnyís love of Highland music was passed on to his sons Iain, who became a drummer, and Doug who became a piper. His grandchildren have since taken up the musical challenge and one of them, Andrea Boyd, is performing here today.

Alexander (Sandy Mor) MacDonald

Sandy ĎMorí MacDonald was born about 1829, one of fourteen children of Donald ĎThe Ridgeí MacDonald of Mabou. Sandy moved to Antigonish at the age of eighteen and later married Sarah MacDonald of South Side Harbour. Together they raised a family of nine children. He was a composer of bagpipe music in an age when tunes were not written down. Sadly, his pipe music did not survive to the present generation. He was also an excellent singer, however, and Helen Creighton recorded some of his songs.

Sandy worked as a blacksmith for several years and then as a stonemason for twelve years. He spent two of those latter years in Halifax and it was there that he had the opportunity to play his pipes for the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. The Prince was quite taken with the tall, powerfully built Nova Scotia Highlander, and offered to hire him as his personal piper. This would have resulted in a move to London England and Sara was loath to leave her native Antigonish County so he had to turn down the offer. Sandy Mor died in 1910. Of his many descendants, several are pipers in the present generation.

John Hugh (Jack The Piper) MacDonald

Jack the Piper was born in Springfield, Antigonish County in 1885.He and at least one of his brothers learned to play the pipes from a neighbour in Springfield. He went to Montreal where he joined the Black Watch (HRH) of Canada and studied piping there. Returning to Nova Scotia, he began to work as a carpenter in Sydney. His boss loved the pipes and used to take him on day trips, stopping along the way to hear a tune or two. Jack enjoyed telling the story of one such experience, as follows: As they were driving along, the boss found that he was out of cigars and stopped at a roadside shop to make a purchase. While they were inside the shop, another man came in to buy some groceries, Once his items had been tallied up, the man went out to his truck and returned with three big, beautiful salmon which he flopped down on the counter. As the clerk weighed the salmon, the man gathered up his groceries and was heading for the door when the clerk stopped him. "Wait," the clerk called. "You forgot your change," and promptly slapped three herrings and two smelts down where the salmon had been just moments before.

In 1935 Jack became the Official Piper of the Antigonish Highland Society, a position he retained until the second world war was well under way. As instruments were in very short supply, he had been asked to loan his pipes to a young Nova Scotian piper who was being sent overseas. Jack agreed, stating that if the pipes returned, he would pick them up again. The pipes did not return, and Jack never played again. He died on November 29th, 1971.

William Joseph (Willie Hector) MacDonald

"Willie Hector" was born to Hector and Flora (MacEachern) MacDonald of Maryvale. His father was a piper before him and two of his sons became pipers after him. Willie Hector used to play for dances and was a popular entertainer. He married Elizabeth (Bessie) Siddle and raised a large family. In 1950, he piped his eight children onto the stage to perform in the Concert Under The Stars at the Antigonish Highland Games.

Charles MacDougall

Charlie MacDougall was a native of Broad Cove, Inverness County. He learned to play the bagpipes after moving to Antigonish and became a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band by 1960. He married Bernadette Gillis and they raised a family of eight sons., one of whom became an accomplished piper in his time. Charlie was instrumental in the founding of the Antigonish Legion Junior Pipe Band and served as its band manager for a period of some ten years.

Charlie Joe MacGillivray

Charlie Joe was born in 1936 to John D. and Margaret (Wilmot) MacGillivray. His first piping teacher was Angus Braid. He won prizes in solo competitions in the 1950s and by 1954 was a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band. He played with the band at the Official Opening of the Canso Causeway in 1955. His brother Angus and his sister Anna became pipers as well.

John MacKinnon

John MacKinnon of Williams? Point was born about 1808. His father had emigrated from the Isle of Eigg. John became a prominent provincial politician, the standing member for Antigonish County from 1851-1867 and a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1867 until his death in 1892. Johnís younger brother Colin became Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish.

Even at an advanced age, John was able to play reels for the dances in the neighbourhood. These dances were primarily the Scotch Four with traditional step dance setting steps that were commonly used in Antigonish County until well into the 1940s.

 

 

The Players

Mary Chisholm, Antigonish. Mary started learning to play the bagpipes at the age of 9. She is a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band and has had a very successful year as a competitor at the Grade 4 level, taking numerous prizes across the Maritimes and at Maxville, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Among her many accomplishments, she was named Grade 4 Piper of the Day at the Highland Games in Summerside and Antigonish, and placed 2nd in Piobaireachd at Maxville. Mary will play the Ground and the First Variation of "Lament for Donald of Laggan".

Carolyn Curry, Antigonish. Carolyn started learning to play the bagpipes at the age of 9. She is a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band, and has a number of competitive piping awards to her credit. She was the winner of the Pewter Medal Piobaireachd Challenge for Novice Pipers in 2003. Carolyn will play the Ground and First Variation of "MacLeodís Controversy".

James Goldie, Antigonish. James started taking piping lessons at St. Andrews Consolidated Elementary School at the age of 9 years. He was a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band for five years. He was named the winner of the Pewter Medal Piobaireachd Challenge in 2002 and advanced to the higher levels in succeeding years. James will play the Ground and First Variation of "Catherineís Lament".

Adam Gillis, Antigonish. Adam began to learn to play the bagpipes at the age of 8. He has been a member of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band for four years, and has had excellent success as a solo competitor in piping competitions locally, regionally and nationally. During the past season, he was named the Grade 3 Piper of the Day in both Summerside and Antigonish, and was the winner of the ACPBA Bronze Medal Piobaireachd Challenge and the Junior Amateur Piobaireachd at the Antigonish Highland Games. Adam will play the Ground and First Variation of "Lament for Donald of Laggan".

Tiber Falzett recently moved with his family from the United States to Prince Edward Island. He is now attending St. Francis Xavier University. Tiber was a member of Nova Scotiaís only Grade 1 band, the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band and travelled with them to Scotland for the 2004 World Pipe Band Championships in August. Tiber will play "Melbankís Salute".

Ian Juurlink, St. Andrews began learning to play the bagpipes at St. Andrews Consolidated School when he was nine years old. He has served as the Pipe Sergeant of the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band for the past four years. He has been a very successful solo competitor, winning Champion Supreme awards in Grade 5, Grade 4, Grade 3 and Grade 2. He is currently competing at the Grade 1 amateur level and was a previous winner of the Allan Beaton Memorial Trophy at the Antigonish Highland Games. Ian will play "Corrienessanís Salute".

Andrea Boyd, Antigonish began learning to play the bagpipes at the age of eight. She progressed rapidly through the amateur grades winning many awards. She has represented Atlantic Canada at such prestigious invitational competitions as the Nicol-Brown competition in New York and the George Sheriff competition in Hamilton, ON. She won the Targe competition in London England and placed in the MacGregor Cup in Oban, Scotland before advancing to the Open Professional class. Andrea has spent the last three summers in Scotland where she played with the Grade 1 Boghall and Bathgate Pipe Band and competing with success on the professional solo piping circuit. Andrea will play "Massacre of Glencoe".

The Music

Lament for Donald of Laggan

Donald of Laggan was born in 1543. He succeeded as chief of the MacDonells of Glengarry in 1574 and died at the age of 102 in 1645. He was called Donald of Laggan because, during his fatherís lifetime, he lived at Laggan, not far from Glengarry Castle. He was never known as MacDonell, that spelling appearing after his time. The composer of the lament was Patrick Og MacCrimmon, piper to Sir Rory Mor MacLeod of Dunvegan. Donaldís daughter Isabella was married to Rory Mor and each night for several years before her death Isabella was lulled to sleep by MacCrimmon, playing this lament in an adjoining room.

Catherineís Lament

Little is known about this tune save that it is otherwise known as "Fraserís Gathering" or "The Fraserís Salute" and that it was composed by Calum MacRobert Ceard.

MacLeodís Controversy

Donald Gorm MacDonald of Sleat, on the Isle of Skye, married the sister of Sir Rory MacLeod of Harris but soon thereafter he divorced her and married another. This angered the MacLeod chief who led an invasion of MacDonald lands on Skye. The MacDonalds countered by raiding Harris. Over the years, the battles raged back and forth with much hardship on the people and much despoliation of the lands to the point that the local people were starving and destitute. With the help of mediaries, a reconciliation was arranged and to seal the deal, a banquet was held at Dunvegan Castle. Donald Mor MacCrimmon composed three great piobaireachds to commemorate the occasion, and this is one of them.

Melbankís Salute

Little is known about MacKenzie of Millbank, for whom this salute was composed by John MacKay in 1821. He has been referred to as ďan influential Highland gentleman" from Ross-shire. MacKenzie appears to have taken an interest in piping and pipers. One of these was young Donald Cameron who, with his intervention and support, was able to receive tuition for Big Donald MacLennan. The talented young manís next tutor was Angus MacKay. This may explain the dedication of the tune to the patron by its composer, John MacKay, father of Angus.

Corrienessanís Salute

This long-lost salute was composed by Blind Roderick MacKay, father of the celebrated Piobaire Dall, John MacKay, both of whom were pipers to the Mackenzies of Gairloch in the mid 1600s. The Gaelic poem, "Corr an-eassain" is a conversation between a piper and the corry, or deep valley in the side of the range of mountains, in which the piper asks the corry to tell of the stirring events it has witnessed. The poem was sung to the tune of the salute.

Massacre of Glencoe

The valley of Glencoe is one of the wildest in the Highlands. It extends from Tigh Ďn druim northwest to Balachulish on Loch Linnhe, a distance of some fifteen kilometres. Mountains rise steeply up on either side. It was in this valley that an unparalleled atrocity took place, a violation of the honoured code of Highland hospitality, which has lived in Scotlandís collective memory to the present day.

The policy in Scotland of King William (II of Scotland and III of England) was to force clan chieftains to subscribe to an oath of loyalty to the crown. MacIain of Glencoe (a sept of the MacDonald's) was reluctantly persuaded to do so but eventually missed the deadline by a matter of days. Government forces consisting, in part, of the MacDonald's bitterest enemies, the Campbells, billeted themselves upon the Glencoe population, in February 1692, and then turned against the inhabitants, massacring thirty-eight of their number and forcing countless others into the snow-topped Scottish mountains where many died.


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