April 27, 2024

Mac-Cal’s foray into sponsored recitals a great success with Willie McCallum and young stars

Lachlan Rennie, Willie McCallum and Angus Robson at the first recital in a new series of recitals by the Mackenzie Caledonian Pipe Band organization.

Described as “a resounding success, drawing aficionados and enthusiasts alike,” the Dundee, Scotland-based Mackenzie Caledonian organization staged its first in a series of sponsored recitals with solo piping legend Willie McCallum the top bill at the Woodlands Hotel in Broughty Ferry on April 26th.

The concert to a full house promises to start a new recital series promoted by the band with a stated objective of “bolstering and championing pipe bands in Dundee and its environs.”

McCallum did not disappoint the enthralled audience. He displayed his trademark crystal-clear technique, tone, and musical style through multiple selections of classic Willie McCallum material, such as “John McKechnie’s Big Reel,” the tune that most would list as his signature piece of light music.

Young Tayside pipers Lachlan Rennie and Angus Robson also performed to an appreciative audience. Rennie’s rendition of “For Paul,” an air by Annabel Charlton of Pitlochry & Blair Atholl in tribute to the late RSPBA Director Paul McAndrew, a Mackenzie Caledonian member who died earlier this year.

Willie McCallum doing his flawless Willie McCallum thing to a packed hall.

Robson’s set included various light music, including several Gordon Duncan compositions.

The Mackenzie Caledonian organization asked the audience to complete a survey for feedback on the event to learn how future recitals might be made even better.

The next recital is not set, but the band said it expects it to be closer to the end of 2024, “with another push on youth from local bands being the supporting performers. We will be looking to host two recitals a year where interest remains.”

Formed in 1918, Mackenzie Caledonian is one of the world’s longest-running. The Mac-Cal organization supports competing bands in Grade 3 and Novice. The top band, then in Grade 2, narrowly missed an upgrade to Grade 1 in the 2010s before leadership changes and the pandemic required rebuilding.






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