Maclean pipes up for yearly Gathering
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
A COOL river breeze carried the sound of bagpipes across Maclean yesterday, signalling the start of the Maclean Highland Gathering.
Solo pipers and drummers were spaced 30 metres apart and performed in front of judges, in the shade, on the bank of the South Arm of the Clarence River at the Maclean Showground.
Lower Clarence Scottish Association chief Peter Smith said the bagpipes stirred his emotions.
"You could hear the pipes a good way away, perhaps a kilometre, depending on the wind," Mr Smith said.
He said the Highland Gathering allowed people to experience 'real music'.
"Particularly the airs, which are slower, stir the emotions," Mr Smith said. "Some of them are really beautiful."
Mr Smith said 60 competitors came from areas including Sydney, Brisbane and Dalby.
He said the main event in the piping was the open piping, the Gold Medal Champion Piper.
Alistair Wallace, of Maclean, will compete in the open piping. He said he shared the same last name as one of Scotland's most famous sons, William Wallace.
Mr Wallace said he did not mind the comparison ? like William he wears a kilt and has a proud Scottish heritage.
"The same name, yeah it comes up from time to time," he said.
Mr Wallace and wife Justine love being involved in the Highland Gathering.
His daughters Amy, 12 and Emily, 9, who are taught by Janet North, will compete in highland dances tomorrow including the highland fling and the sword dance.
Mr Wallace said his youngest, Bethany, 6, recently picked up the bagpipes, starting on a chanter.
He said he would compete in the Donald MacSwan Memorial and the Piping Open Air, but he was most nervous about the Gold Medal Cham- Alena McLeish, from Brisbane, plays the drums yes- terday. LEFT: Isobel Seaman drums in the elementary tenor.pion Piper.
Mr Wallace will perform on bagpipes he inherited from his great grandfather John Wallace.
The McLeish family has been coming to the Maclean Highland Gathering for more than six years.
Alena McLeish, 9, of Brisbane, performed in the elementary tenor drum yesterday.
"I wasn't as good as I was expecting," she said.
Alena performs in the Queensland Police Juvenile Pipes and Drums and has played the alto tenor drum for three years.
"The flourishing is pretty cool, the way it looks," she said.
Her family, parents Victoria and Alan, and brothers Tony, 15, and Christopher, 13 all play in different pipe bands.
Scottish market stalls at the showground sold 'all things tartan' including bumper stickers with: Scotland forever, Haggis Smasher and Bagpipes Spoken Here.