This year’s annual gathering was held on November 5th in Edinburgh. Here Jim Buchanan gives his personal impressions
of the day. Details of the presentations are elsewhere in this issue.

Pete Stewart welcomed us and his tribute to our late Chairman, Martin Lowe was heartfelt and moving. He said that Martin was so involved in every aspect of piping, particularly in education and bringing on the young.. His loss creates a void that I can’t imagine being filled although that having been said Hamish Moore has agreed to take the helm and will steer the Society with an expert hand. The committee will be considering a suitable
means of remembering Martin in the future and in the interim a floral tribute has been sent to Janet. When Martin took over from me in 2009 I discovered a good friend and that he was always fun to be with. I shall miss him sorely.
It was not till after the Collogue that Pete sprung on me the task of reviewing the day so I don’t have any notes to go on. I asked Harry Gray for some of his impressions of the day and he kindly responded saying how pleasing it was to see a range of ages in the audience which clearly supports the thesis that Scottish smallpipes have come of age one again (probably even more than once, he suspects) and though not challenging the hegemony of the GHB, the LBPS is playing an increasing role in Scottish music. Harry thought Gary’s personal reflections on the bellows pipes revival entertaining and convincing. Gary’s thoughts on revivalism in general struck a chord. I’ll never forget Gary marching to the fore at the main concert of the Edinburgh Harp Festival and playing a full blown pibroch (The Company’s Lament) to a startled audience. But I digress.

Hamish’s talk on internal rhythms in piping for dancing was authoritative and
educational. The musical illustrations played on a Lowland/Border pipe by Fin to accompany Hamish playing a side-drum to emphasis the beats and off-beats were excellent I do recom- mend that everyone should buy, or at least sample, the Greentrax recording of ‘Seudan’ (Gaelic for jewels or treasures, pronounced ‘Shaytan’) Their music is alive and vital, closely related to its old natural step dance rhythms, while the pibroch follows the song versions from which they originated (‘fresh as a gust of wind on a Uist croft’, said one review- er). The GHBs in A played on the CD were faithfully copied by Hamish and Fin from the 1785 Black Set of Kintail. To quote Hamish, Seudan are "an en- semble of Highland pipes established with one thing in mind - to play in a rhythmic, communicative and exciting way” and this was the message from Hamish. I also got the message that strathspeys can be played as reels and vice versa. Harry’s comment was that it explained to him why he could never see people dancing to the music written on the usual scores. Hamish showed us piping removed from glass case of com- petition and the straightjacket of the military score. Pete’s talk on “Digging the Dird” (Dird, old Scots for a knock, blow, a bounce (in walking) a romp) explored some aspects of Lowland dance and those lowland tunes that look like reels. I recall that Pete’s conclusion that a speed of around crotchet=120 was a good tempo for these tunes [for high- land pipers counting 2 to the bar, that’s 60 b.p.m]. Faster than that and the semi- quavers become blurred (Try saying taffytiffy to yourself at 120 b.p.m and you will get the drift). Fred Morrison regular- ly clocks 125 with occasional bursts to 140    b.p.m., but that’s Fred. The AGM was most ably chaired by Iain MacInnes, helped by our noble Sec- retary Judy Barker. George Greig gave us the Chairman’s report in the sad ab- sence of our late Chairman. It was comprehensive and an eloquent remind- er of the role of Martin played as chair- man. It was most gratifying that Ian Kinnear and John Bushby have volun- teered to serve on the committee to take over from Helen Ross and Tom Robert- son who were retiring after having done such sterling work in recent years. It is praiseworthy and very much against the trend in Societies such as ours that our membership is up 11% and that we have such a healthy bank balance owing largely to sales of our publications. It was great to see Jock Agnew present and to have on record that sales of the manuals he produced are growing. The new website that Pete has worked on so hard is in my opinion the reason for the rise in membership. We can all be thankful for the time given to steering the LBPS by our colleagues on the Committee. It was a windless and sunny day and the room did get very stuffy after lunch, which some found trying. But our acting Chairman for the day observed the room was a good space to be in as it had been the scene of so many highs in the Society’s 30 year history. He recalled some of those epic moments and perfor- mances. After lunch we were treated to an illustrated talk by Paul Roberts on ‘the first images of The Border bagpipes in 17th Century art’. I was amazed to see so many quality images of the Border pipe from which it might be concluded that the instrument was commonly played in the 17th C. I had to leave with regret before playing commenced after tea so missed out on an important part of the day. Hearty congratulations to all participants on a great day.Footnote: the AGM discussed the use of the word 'collogue' and so I looked it up in the Dictionary of Scots. My researches revealed the following - Collogue, a word first used in 1646 as an intransitive verb, dialectically = to in- trigue or conspire, to talk privately, to chat, confer secretly, to plot mischief, to conspire'. Literally it surely means ‘speaking together' and that is what we do. Long live the Collogue I say. If you have strong feelings may I suggest you write to the Ed.