August 31, 2011

Piping Live! – Day 5: Muir is an Idol; Drummond airs it out; ScottishPower performs

The final full day of Piping Live! festivities before the big day at Glasgow Green took on a slightly more subdued tone, with anxiety on the rise as bandsmen and women continually seemed to look at the Glasgow sky and the weather forecast seemed the common topic of discussion. “I heard heavy rain.” “I saw it was to be dry.” “Someone told me that there would be showers in the morning/afternoon, but dry in the afternoon/morning.”

And so it goes as the full schedule of sessions and recitals draws to a close. While a thick ceiling of cloud-covered Scotland’s biggest city, it could be said that this 2011 Friday-before-The-World’s was one for the rising stars – beginning with a recital by Cameron Drummond of Edinburgh. At age 24 Drummond has already picked off a Silver Medal and is just back from Brittany where he won the MacCrimmon Trophy and the Piobaireachd at the Lorient festival.

Drummond played to an audience of about 50 at the National Piping Centre’s auditorium, a decent crowd for the lunchtime recitals. By many accounts he delivered a captivating performance “with a real display of mastery and competition-winning potential,” according to one attendee. A humourous moment came near the end when a late-arrival showed up while Drummond was playing, and took a seat without a ticket. The ticket-taker came to his seat looking for a ticket, but Drummond knew the gate-crasher and stopped and said, “C’mon, ____,  go buy a ticket!” with a big laugh from the audience.


The final round of the four-heat Pipe Idol was held, and Sarah Muir of Inveraray, Scotland, took the prize: a set of Fred Morrison Reelpipes. She was chosen by the anonymous judges over Connor Sinclair, Angus J. MacColl and David Shedden. These events were packed all week, and this year’s Piping Live! held an even stronger element of emphasis on the up-and-comers, which only makes sense, since the National Piping Centre is primarily a place of education.

Paul Ritchie had a rousing performance as a late addition to the Street Café, with accompaniment from guitar and other instruments, delivering high-energy music mainly of his own composition.

Remarkably, Duncan MacCrone of Britain’s Performing Rights Society gave a seminar legalities in original compositions, arrangements and performances. Although the 1:30 session was sparsely attended, inside information was given to composers around on how to look after their intellectual capital. Piping Live! is also not afraid to back away from the contentious issues, and there’s possibly not a bigger one today than this, and it will get bigger yet again after the 2011 World’s is said and done and recorded and repackaged.

It was something a fitting end to the day to have arguably the most talked-about band of the week, ScottishPower, holding a free public practice outside of the National Piping Centre. Even though it was raining, the band held to its commitment, even with the help of many in the audience holding umbrellas over the players.

While Piping Live! officially continues on Saturday night and Sunday, the major event days are now done. At least from appearances, the festival continues to grow, as it and the World Championships might now be completely intertwined. With the “deal” with the City of Glasgow apparently up for renegotiation after 2012, we will see how things play out.

But the 2011 edition of Piping Live! once again made its mark of the week of weeks for anyone who plays pipes or drums.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for news from the World’s as it becomes available on Saturday.


  1. Having listened to most of the recitals which were all good, Cameron Drummond’s was best for me A very confident young man, he conversed very well with the audience, his dress and posture was immaculate, and most of all he played as if the pipes were part of him, wonderful performance, we will hear a lot about him in the future. Colin MacLellan, must have been proud of him as he sat in on the recital.



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