January 29, 2021

Piping duo Zooms around the world on student “tour”

Lou Lanaro (left) and Daniel Carr during their Zoom lesson with Bill Livingstone.

Even though each of them gets biweekly piping lessons from renowned piper Jim McGillivray, Daniel Carr and Lou Lanaro, both of Collingwood, Ontario, decided that the pandemic was a perfect time to seek instruction from many of the world’s best.

With McGillivray’s complete blessing, the two have approached famous pipers, many of whom they didn’t previously know, to see if they would be willing to connect in a Zoom session to listen to their playing to provide feedback. They compensate the one-time teachers for their time and expertise as they would with any lessons.

The “tour” is still in full swing, and Carr and Lanaro have so far received instruction from the likes of Callum Beaumont, Gail Brown, Glenn Brown, Margaret Dunn, Ken Eller, Ann Gray, Michael Grey, Bill Livingstone, Ian K. MacDonald and James MacHattie.

The concept started with in-person sessions with Gail Brown and Bob Worrall in the pandemic’s earlier days when it was still permissible but eventually morphed into all-online meetings.

They have sessions scheduled with Matt MacIsaac and Robert Mathieson and, in February, they plan to hit the eastern United States for further instruction.

While Carr is a younger, experienced piper who plays at a very high standard, Lanaro is a 72-year-old retired novice player, making the sessions an enlightening and diverse experience for instructors and players alike.

“The great pipers we have as guests are also teachers, and they in effect teach me at my level and offer suggestions on what to focus on to get better,” Lanaro said. “For me, it is a retirement hobby, and I’m very keen on playing correctly. With Daniel, it is more of a nudge here and there on tempo and musicality.”

They have even opened up the sessions to others who might want to watch.

“Currently, we have two onlookers who watch, but we’re open to anyone who asks, and we send a Zoom link,” Lanaro continued. “I’m not sure if they want to watch a Grade 5 player for an hour, but Daniel can play. I play first and then Daniel the main event.”

Carr, also a former World Champion Highland dancer, has been competing in online events, recently getting a first and a second in the Toronto Knockout and Lanaro has been having a go at contests, as well. Last year he won Grade 5 at Winter Storm in Kansas City and more recently did well in the Toronto Knockout.

Lanaro concluded: “During this pandemic, we found a way to stay sharp and also have one-on-ones with legends of piping what great social event to bring piping icons into our living room.”



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