Trailing Drones
April 30, 2007


by Harry Tung

Ah, spring has sprung. The daffies are out and a warm breeze wafts
from the west across my mint julep on the veranda, which replaced
the rusty nail by the fireside about a month ago. Change is in the
air, dear readers, change is in the air.

I heard about a top Grade 1 band based in Glasgow that was having
trouble finding a practice location due to a last-minute mix-up
with the people who controlled their usual hall. So they made a
quick call the venerable RSPBA to see if the big room at 45
Wash might be available in a pinch. The response? “Oh, no, we don’t
make that available to pipe bands”! Just when I thought I had heard
it all, now I have indeed heard everything. Have mercy, Miss

I hear that the Grade 1 Windsor Police are going to miss the
North American Championships this August in favour of a
$10,000 gig in Ohio. Maxville’s a relatively big pay-day, but it’s
not that big, and a band has to raise money to get to . . .
yes, you guessed it . . . the freaking World Pipe Band
, even if it means missing the home championship.
Couldn’t the World’s be late-August or early-September? I mean,
it’s ruining things for the rest of the world. A simple change of
date could solve that. So, it’s more likely to pish rain in Glasgow
then. It makes it authentic. ‘sides, the airfares and accommodation
are cheaper. Anyway, back to Windsor: too bad, they may well have
had a good shot at winning that title.

I understand that John Fisher may be coming to the
aforementioned Maxville to judge. Wouldn’t it be great to see this
percussion wizard bring his ensemble ear to the whole affair? And
there’s even a train station nearby.

Speaking of venerable peeps, Jack Taylor is the new
President of the Piobaireachd Society. The good Doctor was
voted-in in March, succeeding Andrew Wright, who held the
post for about a decade and remains as honorary president. I
predict that Taylor will bring increased open-mindedness to the
PiobSoc, which is baaaadly needed. The future of the big music is
not in more preservation, it’s in re-invigoration. The active
players themselves need more of a voice, I say. In fact, Harry is
available for ceol mor confabs any time. Just say the word, and I’m

And what would 2007 gossip be like without at least one mention of
Triumph Street? I’m the first to say it’s lovely to see this
band back in the higher grades, and seemingly chapping on the Grade
1 door. But, really, why isn’t this band in Grade already? It’s for
the most part the same band as what it was when it was the late
Robert Malcolm Memorial II. I suppose they wanted to catch
their collective breath, regroup and see where they come out in the
Grade 2 fray. But if I was Chilliwack or Maple Ridge,
I’d be just a shade peeved . . . or motivated. It will be a
very interesting summer in Grade 2 out that way, and it’s
about time.

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