I hear that there’s a move on in New Zealand to abolish awards for Bass-Sections, a la the RSPBA. Meanwhile the Ontario scene is testing out Mid-Section judging, with clipboard wielding unofficial adjudicators providing scoresheets to bands as an initial feedback mechanism. The scores will have no bearing on band results, though. Heavy debate is ensuing over whether the “visual” component of what modern mid-sections do should be assessed.
There’s a rumoured boycott of Southern United States Pipe BandAssociation events afoot by a few Florida-based pipe bands that are reportedly upset about political moves, proving that it’s all relative. Events are feeling the pinch, I understand, while they still ask for $20 entrance fees from spectators.
Speaking of Florida, strange things happen down south. The venerable Sandy Keith was relieved from his “job” teaching piping for the city, even though the vast majority of his work is based on private lessons now. Apparently, Keith was accused of using colourful language around kids, which is absurd in itself, since the most colourful language you’ll ever hear is at any high school in the western world.
2009 should see a windfall of recordings. The Toronto Police are said to be cutting one (!!) at their big Lorient concert, while cross-town rivals Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders also will be in recording mode at their August concert in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. (They even on the lecky there?!)
I understand that the long-awaited Spirit of Scotland documentary film is nearing completion for a gala debut at Piping Live! in August, despite still being a few thousand bucks short. This could be the greatest (read: first and only) true pipe band documentary ever made, and that it’s about a truly extraordinary topic is all the better. Emmy-winning director John McDonald of Pasadena, California, is stick-handling the movie, entitled On The Day. Rumours of a film noir style, with Roddy MacLeod and Willie McCallum hunting down a group of Glasgow neds, only to end up at 45 Washington Street, are totally unfounded.
And on the topic of the SoS, the band couldn’t quite coordinate a visit to the 2009 North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, in August, but may be making an appearance early in 2010 – location TBD.
Stay tuned . . . I always do.