March 23, 2020

Let’s all take a piob break. Right now.

We all deserve a bit of a break, whether cooped up inside or stressed out over the onslaught of incessantly bad news.

Let’s take a piob break.

James MacHattie of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, a few weeks ago rolled into Toronto to do the one-day More Ceol Mor piobaireachd workshop with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Toronto Branch.

He plays “Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod,” “In Praise of Morag” and “The Men Went to Drink.”

Those were the days. People getting together, talking face-to-face, the only social distancing being done was by checking your phone’s apps.

Click to go to “Good Health to you, Donald” on Vitamin B.

Since the COVID-19 crisis, MacHattie has been recording and posting a daily dose of piping on the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts Facebook page. He calls the series, “Vitamin B” – as in Bagpipe. He’s the director of piping at the College of Piping, which, like many other businesses, has been closed up.

“We started the Vitamin B(agpipe) idea when the College closed to the public, starting during PEI’s March Break,” MacHattie said. “The concept is simply a piping video per day for the foreseeable future on social media to help people with their emotional and mental health during the pandemic.  We encourage viewers to share the videos with others who may be in need of some cheering up, or need something to look forward to each day.

“I am trying to provide a mix of content, ranging from tunes that appeal to a non-piping public, to Highland dance tunes, step dance and fiddle-style sets, and today it is the ground of the piobaireachd Good Health to You Donald. The piping is by no means perfect, but the goal is to bring comfort.

“This is not the sort of public endeavour that I would normally take on, but since we are not health care professionals, we thought it might be a worthwhile service to provide in these extraordinary times.  It seems to be working.  And it has been good for me too.  I look forward to recording these each day.”

Given the circumstances, we wondered whether he might include the rather obscure piobaireachd, “Good Health to You, Donald.” It’s pretty much the only healthcare-related tune we could think of.

We have no idea who the “Donald” was, but the spirit of the tune is pretty much for anyone these days.

So check out his series of pieces here from the March 7th More Ceol Mor workshop, and be sure to have a listen to “Good Health to You, Donald” on the College of Piping’s Facebook page.

Slàinte mhaith! *

* Good health!





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