August 31, 2009

Friday Piping Live!: soggy day doesn’t deter audiences

The final day before Saturday’s World Pipe Band Championships brought the weather that competitors dread: constant rain and not a ray of sunshine from morning until night. Most pipe bands were keeping a low profile, with eleventh-hour run-throughs of the stuff, and scrambling to find suitable indoor facilities.
The last full day of Piping Live! events went on without a hitch, with strong or sold-out attendance at everything around the National Piping Centre, starting with Inveraray’s Stuart Liddell in full flight at the Lunchtime Recital at the NPC. Despite our not making it, Liddell was reportedly in his usual spell-binding form.
R.S. MacDonald plays at his own party at the NPC Street CafeAt 2 pm it was the official launch of the new collection by Roddy “R.S.” MacDonald, as well as the reprinted and updated A Few Tunes, originally compiled by Ian and Gordon Duncan in the 1990s. MacDonald performed another terrific few selections for the large crowd huddled under the Street Café marquee, avoiding the wet but ­enjoying being drenched in musicality.
It was then on to the final of the Pipe Idol solo piping competition at the same venue. This was won by young James MacKenzie of Lewis, who carried on his momentum from the day before to get the prize over Emmet Conway, Craig Muirhead and David Wilton.
Up at the Lord Todd Bar at the University of Strathclyde, Willie McCallum treated another full house to a free (yes, free) hour-long recital. If McCallum isn’t statistically the greatest solo competition piper in history, he’s right up there, but perhaps because the event didn’t cost anything and maybe since it was raining outside the audience could have been less talkative. But, hey, it’s all good, especially for a very wet Friday in central Glasgow.
Filmmaker John McDonald meets the media at the world premier On The Day.Then at 5:30 pm was the world premier of the documentary film on the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band’s pursuits at the 2008 World Championship. John McDonald of Pasadena, California, and piper with the Pasadena Scots Pipe Band, competing in Grade 4 tomorrow, hosted the event with his team of supporters, and the beautiful original art deco Glasgow Film Theatre was at near-capacity to see the 75-minute-long film that was very warmly received. In true world premier style, McDonald and attending SoS band members fielded questions from the audience and autographed posters and DVDs after the show.
The evening was quiet, with 99 per cent of competitors avoiding the pub and the rest either already been told that they’re not playing on Saturday or who will be informed in the morning. Those looking for a relatively quiet night headed to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the International Piping Concert, with Fred Morrison, Paddy Keenan and Homebound doing their international thing.
Even with the best intentions, it’s still late to bed for us, despite a bright and early start for what’s hoped to be a bright day, although the forecast is not good. Watch for Twitter and Facebook updates throughout the day, and the results from the Grade 1 Qualifier and the finals as they become available.




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