SFU polishes ambitious material for NYC concert

Published: April 30, 2012
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x-time World Champions Simon Fraser University are staring down a two-hours-plus show at the legendary Lincoln Center in Manhattan on Friday, May 4th, that will feature a complex array of new material, including two new suites.

The 2,738-seat Avery Fisher Hall is home normally to the New York Philharmonic and for the first time in its history will host a full concert by a pipe band.

“A lot of work has gone into the most diverse show we’ve put together to date,” said Pipe-Major Terry Lee. “We feel like there is something for all tastes in this version and are very happy with the outcome.”

Lee provided a sneak-peek on the band’s material, which will include “New York Tribute,” a new piece written by Robert Mathieson, with inspiration from the Alicia Keys / Jay-Z hit, “Empire State of Mind,” and a new suite named “400%” by Lincoln Hilton of Australia that Lee described as “very exciting . . . with an elaborate backing track.”

The band will reportedly reprise Mark Saul‘s suite, “The Beaches of Harris” and will debut a rendition of “His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie,” which Lee said will again see members of the band sing, as they did in SFU’s 2009 show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall when they wowed a packed house with a rendition of Donald MacLeod’s piobaireachd, “The Field of Gold.”

The band will deliver a version of “The Sleeping Tune” by Gordon Duncan, a composition that the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band also performed at Celtic Connections in January of this year.

Lee described the upcoming New York City concert as “like the Glasgow concert in scope but, we feel, grander overall. It is a massive undertaking for us,” but that “ticket sales could be better.”

He added that they are hoping that virtuoso piper and former SFU member Stuart Liddell will “finish his Route 66 exploits in time for a surprise New York appearance onstage with us,” as he did is a memorable solo spot at the band’s concert at Carnegie Hall. Lee said the band will also debut a new set of Andante drums at the show.

Tickets range in price from $29 to $69, and the band is conducting a workshop over the weekend for which pipers and drummers can still register.

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If you play in a pipe band, and aren’t the Pipe-Major or Leading-Drummer, follow these four rules (in order): show up, learn the music, shut up, and play.
Colin MacLellan, Edinburgh