July 11, 2020

PPBSO online seminar series continues with Lawson, Livingstone

The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario continues its free online webinar series with two more events in the next few weeks.

Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Lead-Drummer Andrew Lawson joins tenor drummer Kyle Heaney on Tuesday, July 14th, and piping supremo Bill Livingstone on Saturday, July 18th, speaks with Andrea Boyd.

The sessions follow recent webinars where Trish Kirkwood interviewed Bob Worrall about his competitive solo and pipe band experience, and Boyd spoke with recently appointed National Piping Centre director of piping Finlay MacDonald.

“The general theme of the series is to introduce audiences to people who are well-known figures in piping and drumming, and to learn something new about them, their lesser-known backgrounds, experiences, geographical connections, and connections to piping and drumming, but the wider world of Celtic music as well,” said Boyd, who is coordinating the webinars on behalf of the organization.

Andrew Lawson was born and raised in Newmarket, Ontario. After years of service with the Grade 1 Toronto Police and Peel Police corps, he moved to Scotland to play with Lead-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick in Shotts & Dykehead. He took over the lead-drummer role at Shotts in 2015.

The webinar with Bill Livingstone, according to Boyd, will “look to the future. Bill has a long view on the past, and the rise and success of [Ontario-based] solo pipers and pipe bands on the international stage. My theory is there’s a correlation between the success and ambition of Grade 1 pipe bands in Ontario to the success and prize-winning of solo pipers at big competitions in Scotland in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Have we lost that in Ontario in the 21st century? How do we cultivate a new pool of pipers and drummers who have aspiration and ambition to achieve success on the international stage?”

While Ontario-based solo pipers like Andrew Hayes, Ian K MacDonald, Sean McKeown and others have excelled on the world stage in the last decade, the province has seen a substantial decline in the number of Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands. As late as the 1990s, there were as many as five Grade 1 and six Grade 2 bands, whereas now there are only one in Grade 1 (the 7th Fraser Highlanders) and three in Grade 2 (Ottawa Police, Peel Regional Police and Toronto Police).

Livingstone was the first North American to win a Highland Society of London Gold Medal (Northern Meeting, 1974) and to lead a Grade 1 band to a World Championship (78th Fraser Highlanders, 1987).

Anyone can register for the 2 pm EDT webinars. There’s no charge to register.

The association is also putting on several online live video solo competitions over the summer.



Free PPBSO webinar series kicks off with Finlay MacDonald
June 5, 2020







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