Piping Live! Day 2

Published: August 31, 2008
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Each day of the Festival features whisky and barrel-making displays in George Square with sponsors Glenfiddich, and no doubt all needed a dram today to sustain themselves in the cold and wet. Drams weren’t on the menu for all, however, as Tuesday was Family Day at the Festival, and featured a number of activities and attractions for children and families, such as pirate goodie bags, balloons, face-painting and a roving magician.

The morning session featured Allan MacDonald giving a demonstration/talk entitled “Piobaireachd and Gaelic Song,” and following his guided tour of the Piping Centre Museum, Hugh Cheape had a book launch in the Street Café for his much-discussed book, Bagpipes:A National Collection of a National Instrument.

Jack Lee was the featured recitalist today, and at the same time Chris Gibb and Matt MacIssac were performing in the Café. Chris Gibb is a very entertaining border piper, and the addition of Cape Breton’s MacIssaac on guitar makes for some great music. Matt is in Glasgow as a piper with the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, and he is well-known as the winner of the Silver Medal at Inverness, and also as the piper for the Natalie McMaster band.

 Allan MacDonald demonstrates at his session discussion the connection between pibroch and Gaelic song.

Throughout the day, and number of well-kent faces made their appearance at the Piping Centre, having come from rehearsals with the Spirit of Scotland. The questions and speculation abound on the likely outcome of the qualifier, and on how various bands are making out in their preparation for the big day. One thing is certain: whatever the competitive outcome for the Spirit band on Saturday, it has successfully raised the interest level for all, and provided intensified interest in the day.

Pipe Idol featured five extremely talented young pipers today, and only one would go through to the final. Cameron Drummond was selected to go through to the final, with very strong competition by the other four players. All the players demonstrated admirable poise and control, great technique, and solid music and pipes. One very nice touch, which should be a requirement, was Emma Buchan taking the time to introduce each of her sets.

Events at the Piping Centre finished with a set from Simon McKerrell and friends in a new band called Rough Tides. Simon plays the uilleann pipes in this ensemble, and the band delivered about an hour of first-rate music to an appreciative audience.

Other events featured today included a drumming recital at the Lord Todd, “A Tribute to Alex Duthart,” the International Quartet Competition featuring St. Laurence O’Toole, ScottishPower, the Australia Highlanders, the LA Scots, St. Mary’s Band Club and FMM, and later on the Festival Club comes alive with the Lowland and Borders Piping Society session.

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TIP OF THE DAY
When composing, bounce your finished product off a knowledgable and honest player whose opinion you trust. Often, you’re re-inventing the wheel without knowing it. That’s good to know before it becomes public domain!
Sean Somers, Calgary