Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Name that Piper


Strange the thoughts that go through your mind after an emotional event like the tribute to Scott MacAulay on Sunday last. So many friends gathered for a singular purpose - Mike Grey, Bob Worrall, Jim McGillivray, Ruth Sutherland, Rob Crabtree, Lynda Mackay, Jessica Dent, Rick Tersteeg were the performers - each adding a special musical tribute to the many remembrances of Scott. I read with interest the parallels drawn my Michael Grey in his blog (When Pipers Die) and this immediately caused me to recollect the one thing mentioned so often on Sunday - "I wish someone could do Name that Piper"...but that was a MacAulay/Dickie phenomenon that kept all of us in stitches some 20 years ago.... clever to say the least... their antics on stage or in a pub would bring tears of laughter to any of those caught in their satirical episodes. Well I remember them bringing the house down in Vancouver as their road show roared into the annual BC Pipers Indoors in the mid 80's. They immortalized the likes of Terry and Jack Lee, Hal Senyk, Jamie Troy and countless others. One could say that you had made your mark on the Canadian piping scene if MacAulay and Dickie "Named you!"... I remember, too, another form of the same that came from the pen of the late Joe Young, a cartoonist who published for the old North American Scotsman magazine. His pen was as mighty as any satirical sketch, for he too caught the ideosyncracies of those portrayed... Name that piper! Name that judge... no one escaped his wit.... fortunate we are, to have such lasting personalities around the piping scene...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Support for Indoor Events


Today might be the last real day of Indian summer in this part of the country. The chains and plow are on my tractor, so bring on the snow! But also, lets bring on the cold weather indoor piping and drumming events. In some cases, workshops - other cases, contests. And like other years, we have a full slate starting with the George Sherriff Memorial Invitational, November 15, organized by Bob Worrall and heavily endorsed by the Hamilton Branch of the PPBSO. Bob is also the headliner in an evening of piping and discussion at the British Shop on November 21. Billed as a Pipe Nite by owners Iain and Moira Donaldson, this is the first of a series of guest speakers and recitalists, one a month, during our indoor season. The AGM of the PPBSO is scheduled for the next day in Milton, ON. President Bob Allen has just completed his first year of a 2 year term and looks for support from the membership to successfully administer our P&D affairs for 2009. So by the looks of it, November is full. But we mustn't forget the other months as well. President Gary Moore of the PPBSO Toronto Branch has scheduled the Annual Indoor Games for April, the Livingstone Memorial is slated for May and the Agnew Harrison Drumming event around the same time - all under the auspices of the Hamilton Branch


Now in the past, attendance at these events has come under some criticism. We as a group want such events, but do we support them? When admonished for poor attendance at last year's Stratford Sessions, one observer claimed lack of promotion for the event - a similar response was put forth concerning the Toronto Indoors. I would give credence to that if it were 100% true, but I hesitate. In part, it is lack of awareness of our membership. Do you read the on-line journals like the PD Online - the Captain's Corner here - BobDunsire.com - The Pipe Band Forum - the PPBSO Quarterly? I dare to say that promotion starts with the pipe band public regularly accessing these websites for news and events. The days of the paper trail are over - no longer do we have rags like the Piper and Drummer Magazine. So support comes in many forms, but heading the list is attendance and close behind would be making the effort to be informed. So spread the word....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sham or Shame


I have heard it all now.... announced on the PD Online tonite was a vote-in poll for the best bass section at the 2008 World's.... now give me a break and give the pipe band community some space. Just at the time pundits are criticizing the contest format, the judging format and the concept of the qualifier, the PipesDrums Online posts this charade? Holy smokin', I just can't get my head around the concept of judging by international opinion. Come on guys...get your thoughts in gear. Lead drummers like Reid Maxwell, Jim Kilpatrick and Drew Duthart have won the World's by adjudication. What creditibilty would they have if they were issued their prize by an online poll? I can see it now - winners of the World Pipe Band Championship and the Julilee trophy - by the vote of no one who was there - SFU...... where's the thinking here? And who are the smart ones? ... anybody who does not participate and only recognizes the real thing - a World's adjudicated on Glasgow Green, plain and simple!