Bill, I would personally like to thank you for your efforts for organising such a monumental event. It had a major impact on my young life, but in our youth we don't realize that those were the days my friend and we were having the time of our lives. Nothing has superceded it since!
I played in a little band called Toronto & District and think we went on to win it in 84. That was a real thrill to win and play in the big party. And yes, I was the one playing up and down the elevators that year too! ;-)
Thank you for the memories!
Thanks to Iain MacDonald for his well put remembrances of the 1982 competitions in Chicago.Those games, which were free in Grant Park, were financed with grants from the city and donations from major corporations. The money dried up after six years, when lakefront festivals became a money-maker for the city and competition for corporate event money, such as 10K-races, expanded. The Illinois St. Andrew Society took them over as the Chicago Highland Games, -- now an annual event in oak Brook, IL -- but the costs of bringing in the Grade 1 bands has been prohibitive. The whole idea that Terry McHugh and I had in 1982 was to bring the best bands in the world to Chicago to stimulate piping in the Midwest, which it did -- in spades. The Midwest Pipe Band Association flourished and we are still reaping the effects on pipers who weren't even born at the time. I was surprised and pleased to read in Iain's article that the competitions in Chicago made a lasting impression on pipers all over. And I thank him for that as it came at a time when I was forced to quit the board of Celtic Fest Chicago after the powers-that-be chose to feature the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band on the main stage in May over my objections. What an insult, with some of the best pipe bands in the Midwest, if not North America, relegated to a side show. Thanks, Iain for reminding us of what was and could be. Wasn't that a great ceillidh? The Hilton never let me forget it!
Ahh yes, the ol' Shuckin' n Jivin' wars! I'm surprised that one of 'em didn't throw out a shoulder! See if you can get a Snare Drummer in Ontario to stand still and play with a professional look today thanks to that....
Thanks Stu, I thought about that too and seem to recall a power struggle over who would lead a 3 man drum corps!
Enjoyed listening and I know I have an old recording of the performance at night somewhere, have to dig that one out sometime.
Growing up in Winnipeg, and especially coming through the Transcona Pipe Band, I've heard many great stories about this legendary weekend.
This was a really great read, thanks so much for putting it all into words Iain!
Just finished listening. Was there an air show going on that day? Love the comments from the audience members (Bruce?)! Also, gotta love those crash rolls.. a while since I heard those, along with the MG42 singlings...and them boys weren't afraid to play up tempo a bit! Seriously, though, quite enjoyed it.
It is interesting how certain performance experiences really stand out as memorable. OH YES...this was one for sure. This was the first of several years I played with Reid along with my long time corps members Tim Murphy and Doug Kirkwood. Tim, Doug and I had recently left the defuncted Niagara and District Band. What a wonderful collaborative that 78th corps was. Everyone had input into the final musical product...a great blend of many styles of drumming...Duthart, Kirkwood, North American Drum Corps...egos were left at the door when we came together. Of that snare line, only three continue to play or teach. Reid, myself and Maggie Brown. Concerning the crowd appeal factor. I have gone full circle. I have felt that again with my current Toronto Police band. Now if we could get a "cheer" from a MSR moment, that would be amazing!
Listening to the crowd's reaction after "My Laggan Love" at the very end of the 78th recording gave me chills. What an important era of innovation that cannot receive enough credit. What an amazing thing it is that both Bill and Terry have remained full stream ahead for the next nearly 30 years and have not slowed down.
Published: February 06, 2010 Author: BillLivingstone
Great to re-live that weekend. Apart from the complete lunacy that prevaded the after party, one memory in particular stands out for me. I was readying the band for the contest, and the harder we worked the worse things became. I walked over the Clan MacFarlane's warm up circle and told Ken Eller that I was simply making things worse, and didn't know what to do. Not a whole lot of experience as a P/M at that time. Ken suggested that I put them down in the shade for 10 minutes. I did. It worked. We won. Now imagine if you will, that kind of spirit in today's Gr. 1 Pipe Band world. I doubt we'd see anything like it.
How nice it is to listen to the Guelph band playing a set of tunes that have melody and it didn't take 10 bars to decipher if it was a jig/hornpipe/reel like many sets of today. And those march on tunes were nice listening--ones that are nice to play. One day a band will march on with Scotland the Brave or Maple Leaf Forever and the crowd will go wild.
This whole article is very entertaining--especially the recordings (even if "scratchy"). Well done.
Peter K. MacLeod
Pipers: The golden rule when working with a reed is, "You can always take material off the cane, but you cannot put it back." So, remember, when removing the slightest amount of material, blow the reed again.