Piping Live! Day 3: gifts that await are worth the journey
. . . of piping and drumming events? Looking at the large excitement and attendance, one can imagine where things might be heading. I took in several performances and wanted to stay, but the equally stowed-out Piping Live! schedule called for more coverage.
It was on to George Square where who should be performing but Inveraray & District, a band continuing its five-year forward momentum in Grade 1 after sailing through the grades since forming, this year pre-qualifying for the World’s Final. With Stuart Liddell at the helm, and Steven McWhirter guiding the drum section, Inveraray plays with a lovely and light touch, as you expect from a soloist, and with a solid depth of sound that harmonically resonates, again, as you’d expect from a soloist.
It was back up to the NPC for a taste of the third round of Pipe Idol. This four-stage event, culminating with a final on Friday, is perfectly designed for the festival. We’re so accustomed either to spreading knockout competitions across several winter months that they tend to lose momentum, and the daily dose of younger pipers going at it at the Street Cafe is intelligent use of the week-long festival. Alex Gandy won this stage.
There is just so much going on at Piping Live! that you’re inevitably torn to make difficult choices. After a bit of magazine work it was out again, only to be stopped by more serendipitous encounters with old piping and drumming friends, so it was just more hanging out at the Street Cafe and then, as it happened, more Inveraray & District. The band played in front of the NPC gathering a large crowd as the weather got noticeably cool and windy, but mercifully dry.
It was then off to find some supper and a drink with a few old friends before the big St. Laurence O’Toole show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. By the end of the day I’d have criss-crossed central Glasgow and central Scotland a few times to try to take it all in and bring a few of the highlights to you. It can seem like waiting for Christmas morning as a kid when you want to get someplace fast, and at Piping Live! the gifts that await are worth the journey.