February 28, 2009

Toronto Indoor will mark ‘Freestyle’ event milestone

The Toronto Branch of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario is having another go at resurrecting the once-vaunted Toronto Indoor Games, hoping that online entry, an expansion of events and a concerted marketing push will help to stimulate entries and interest.
The April 4, 2009, day-long competition at Moss Park Armoury in downtown Toronto will feature the debut of the new “Freestyle” Professional solo piping event, a first for a major association to offer on an ongoing basis.
“With the decline of Highland games in the Ontario competition circuit, the Toronto Branch of the PPBSO feels that it is essential that we do our part by re-establishing the Toronto Indoor Games for 2009,” said branch Secretariat/Treasurer Kelly Crowe. “We have made a conscious decision to be responsive to the spirit of the times and to those who compete.”
The event will also offer a mini-band competition, once a celebrated staple of the contest.
“Band feedback is . . . the rationale for offering a mini-band contest over other formats,” Crowe continued. “We have also surveyed bands who are expressing a desire to compete in concert formation for this event.”
The Freestyle solo piping event in the Professional grade was introduced at the PPBSO’s 2008 annual general meeting and approved by the membership as a replacement option for the traditional Jig event. Pipers must play a maximum-four-minute selection of their own choice.
Plans for the Toronto Indoor Games were scuttled both in 2007 and 2008 due to a low entry, which in turn was chalked up in part to a lack of communication.
“As much as anything though, [the Toronto Indoor] is a chance to socialize and re-connect with our pipe band friends that we haven’t seen last summer, but of course with the main focus of putting in the best possible performance,” Crowe said.


  1. I remember the first T Indoor I attended as a youth. Early 70’s. Broke down in my march (I think it was about my 3rd contest ever – I was a puddle)…but was enthralled watching the band quartets ALL AFTERNOON. Was the absolute *******. I like the idea of trying some sound baffling. Couldn’t hurt. Bring on the quartets! PS how about duets/trios like at the Windsor/Detroit branch back in the day? I’ll bet a certain blogger remembers playing Goodnight Ladies” and other “non-piping” tunes

  2. Ok, sorry… but what’s up with closed for comment” on both of the threads relating to the RSPBA judging fiasco. Have they somehow asserted their “authority” on this site as well? 😉 jp”

  3. Enough had been said about both issues and additional comments were getting off-topic. This is off of the topic of this new story, too, so any new comments should be in context to it. Thanks.

  4. The re-introduction of the Toronto Indoors is an important part of re-creating part of the old ideology that competition should not be seasonal and it should not be confined to people who are totally ready either. By having a competition so early it gives soloists and bands a chance to try out their new material and start to work out the kinks early. Many of the people that I have spoken to about this agree that teachers have been holding back students who are not quite ready” for fear that the student will make a mistake or even reflect badly on the instructor. I think it’s high time that piping society in Canada moves past this. What better way to spend a soggy spring afternoon than inside enjoying some healthy competition!”

  5. When the Toronto Games was in its hey-day back in the 1960s and 1970s, the ‘staple’ event was in fact the band quartet contest. This always seemed an ideal event to be held in the armoury early in the year. The mini-band contest is unfortunately a cacophony of noise and clatter, just as one would expect when you put a drum corps in an echo chamber. It’s unsatisfying to play in, half impossible to judge, and a disappointment to listen to. The quartets were hugely popular back in the day, with some bands having two or three entries. The mini-band event was restricted to Grades 1 & 2 and usually had just four or five entries: perfect given the sound problems on the cement floor. These comments are not directed against drummers, only against the acoustic deficiencies of the venue, which do not serve drumming well. It would be nice to see this sadly missed format revived. It may be no accident that back in the days of quartets the Indoor Games was one of the season’s highlights.

  6. Not sure how practical this would be, but how about adding gymnastic style floor mats and cloth style baffles, like the ones used in recording studios, to help cut back on the clatter? Perhaps not practical, but worth investigating if it would help with the sound.



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