Easter Baggs

April 7, 2009 on 6:28 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Stories | 3 Comments

In December I wrote about the dearth of Christmas tunes composed specifically for the bagpipe. I came upon this (slightly wierd) antique Easter postcard – see below – and was struck by a similar thought. Easter is the highest of Christian holidays and [Great Highland] pipers have traditionally been overwhelmingly Christian. Where are our joyous Easter tunes? Is there an Easter tune made for the Great Highland Bagpipe?

For example, some of my most memorable piping times have happened at Easter – at the Vancouver Indoor Meet, mainly – and yet, even considering a great piping meeting like the Vancouver Indoor, now in place over 75 years, I don’t know of even one tune that commemorates that venerable Easter gathering.

Only the cool chicks play bagpipes - at Easter in 1913

We pipers and our tunes compositions: it’s all about people, places, battles. Religion? Not so much.



  1. I was thinking about the BC Pipers’ Annual Gathering the other day, and I was wondering whether it caused any grief when they first started holding the gathering on Easter weekend. While growing up, I would never be allowed to devote the weekend to pursuits other than the [seemingly] endless church and [less painful] family obligations. But eventually, I did, and I started going to that event in about 1983. Following the 1986 AG, members of SFUPB, adjudicators, and BCPA friends took a boat cruise around Vancouver, and into False Creek, and the site of EXPO 86. It was a riotous boat trip, which featured many entertaining tales told by Maj. Gavin Stoddart, and a near-fight on the dock at the Vancouver Yacht Club between Scott MacAulay and his buddy Mike McInnis. It all ended up in Vancouver’s Chinatown for a huge meal, many laughs, and obviously, a few memories. The result for me was a jig Called “B.C. Pipers’ Annual Gathering 1986,” and you can find it in Ann Gray’s Book 1.

    Comment by iainmacd — April 7, 2009 #

  2. Re Christian music, there are a lot of good psalm tunes that have not been arranged for the pipes, or could do with seconds being written for them.

    Have you come accross the psalm tune,”Prince Edward Island”? If not I can send you a copy.

    The 78th’s “Amazing Grace” – I haven’t heard other bands play it with harmony – is the best rendition of that tune I’ve heard.

    Comment by Richard — April 8, 2009 #

  3. Iain: Thanks for your story – and note on your tune. I should’ve known. Lots of good times at the Vancouver Indoors.

    Richard: Yes, you’re right about psalm tunes, without doubt. When I was PM, I took a stab at arranging Martyrs for the Peel Police Pipe Band, and recorded it (“Waulking the Beat” – Lismor) complete with recording sample of precentor and congregation. Moving music. Soul music, really. I haven’t come across “PEI”. I’d be interested to see. Thanks.


    Comment by mike — April 8, 2009 #

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