December 31, 2017

The 17th annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours

Product of the Year

Preposterous – Tales to Follow

Bill Livingstone’s extraordinary memoir was the first substantial autobiography in piping since the great John Wilson’s book in the 1970s, but Livingstone’s memoir was a pithy, often humourous, honest and, at times, close-to-the-bone work in which he left little undisclosed. After more than 70 years in the art and an all-round competitive career that would be the envy of any piper with even half the success, Livingstone coincided the book’s launch with his retirement from competing, and the next chapters of his piping life are still to be written. Preposterous garnered 41% of panellists’ votes.

Panelists’ comments:

  • “Something different. Very well written and engaging.”
  • “Will likely be the start of a trend.”
  • “Great insight into the life of a piping great. Very beneficial for people to learn about even great pipers ups and downs in life.”
  • “A brave and positive contribution to the piping archives.”

Also nominated (alphabetical order):

Blair Electronic Chanter – Australia’s Murray Blair unveiled his latest contribution to piping technology, with a practice chanter capable of integration with MIDI instrumentation, making the music and sound of the Highland pipe easily combined with other instruments and any virtually scale or key. The chanter allows pipers to hear themselves on an instrument that sounds like Willie McCallum’s, or really any piper they like. “A product that could revolutionize the music and how it is played, practiced and recorded. Yet another piping innovation from Australia, “commented one panellist.

Highland Bagpipe Piobaireachd Tutor Book – the National Piping Centre’s new manual for those learning the great music of the Highland pipe was launched later in 2017, and quickly sought to establish a benchmark for teaching. Over the Piping Centre’s relatively short existence, they have created a complete alternative to the well-established teaching aids of the College of Piping.

IMPACT – Field Marshal Montgomery’s double compact disc set was the major music recording of the year. The band created on its own only 1,000 physical copies of the album, perhaps a sad comment on the willingness of pipe band enthusiasts to pay for music. Undeterred, FMM’s capture of their 2016 Pre-World’s concert is perhaps the greatest quality pipe band album ever made. Wrote one panellist: “A great concert from one of the best bands of all time.”

Tone Protector – Seattle’s Jori Chisholm pipe chanter reed humidity monitor and protector cap enabled serious pipers to gauge the climate of their instrument’s key piece to the exact percentage, with the potential of better stability and faster warm-up in the full pipe. Judging from the number of top pipers who embraced the device, Chisholm created one of the big product hits of the year. “Trying it made me a convert. It’s a great product and will bring benefits to many pipers, especially those who don’t live in bagpipe-friendly climates,”commented one who voted for the product. Chisholm is smart to seek to protect his innovation with international patents.

Twist-Trap Practice Pipes – R.G. Hardie’s new instrument for fun and productivity is also a serious instrument that lands nicely in a smallpipes market otherwise crowded with sameness. Pitched at 440Hz, the pipes sit well with other instruments, so are a natural addition to an ensemble ready to play Highland pipe music, or any other music, for that matter.





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