August 31, 2008

Piping Live! Day 4

The fourth day of the Glasgow International Piping Festival was perhaps the most active yet, with events ranging from Winston Pollock’s illuminating discussion on “Ensemble and Tonal Balance” to the Australia Highlanders’ CD launch to the usual rollicking live music at the Street Café outside of the National Piping Centre.
The day was perhaps very much about woman and the pipes, highlighted by an after-lunch recital by three of the top female Highland pipers of today, Margaret Dunn, Emma Buchan and Andrea Boyd, all of whom live in Glasgow. They played to an appreciative crowd at the Centre’s auditorium.
Later in the evening, there was another event spotlighting the piping talents of the fairer gender. with “Girls and Gracenotes” at St. Andrew’s in the Square, a large former-kirk, refurbished for concerts throughout the year. This concert brought in the redoubtable Kathryn Tickell, Gemma Donald and Anna Murray who charmed everyone with their brilliant playing on various pipes.
The big event of the day, though, is perhaps the biggest event of the entire week: The Todd Bar Piping Recital Challenge, which pitted four of the world’s top competitive Highland pipers in a mostly free-form format. Chris Armstrong, Alasdair Gillies, Stuart Liddell and Angus MacColl amazed a large room bursting at the seams with easily more than 200 piping enthusiasts and players, each rapt by the playing of these genius artists.
Alasdair Gillies and Craig
Day 5 of Piping Live! has another full card of events, from Bob Worrall’s question and answer session with SL78FHers Bill Livingstone and Drew Duthart on pipe bands, Willie McCallum’s free afternoon recital at the Todd, and culminating with either the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in an already sold out concert at the Fruitmarket (where material for a live CD will be recorded) or the International Piping Concert at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite, featuring Breabach from Scotland; Robbie Hannan and Paddy Glackin from Ireland; and Ecletnica Pagus from  Italy.
Everyone is watching the weather, and Thursday’s was “not bad,” as the locals might say. Anyone planning to attend the World Pipe Band Championships on Saturday (and everyone seems to be doing just that) is holding their collective breath and crossing their fingers for a “dry” day on the 16th. So far, the forecast is calling for some rain in the afternoon and a high of about 17 degrees. But, to person, people are saying, “Just as long as the weather’s not like last year.”




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