Harry sends greetings to all northern hemisphere folk for the start of the 2014 season, and a well-done (so far) to those in southern climes who have been toiling in the summer sun for the great tunes and sound. Interesting to see the increasing number of people flying down to guest with bands for their big championships.
Harry’s been entertaining a few offers also, mainly because he feels he could do that “Outside the Circle” lip-synching thing better than 96.34% of the people currently featured. Harry’s just saying.
Well, the guest players are all back in the snow and rain with fading tans, and the eyes turn toward the RSPBA and other calendars for the outdoor season, at which point Harry almost loses the plot when he discovers that the RSPBA has enabled online entry to major championships! Now, Harry’s not shy about taking the mickey out of the RSPBA, but here’s a case where they have stepped up to provide a service that bands have to love. Having said that, it puts them about 10 years behind the leading edge on this, but well done all the same.
The BC Pipers have had online entry for years, and rumour has it the LA Scots have used it to enter the games in Victoria, BC, on the Canadian May “Long Weekend.” You’d think this would be a superb chance for a three-band Grade 1 dust-up, but only SFU will defend home turf, with Dowco-Triumph Street and their new leading-drummer not competing there for the first time in a few years.
The interwebs have been awash with colourful offerings from piping and drumming manufacturers: themed bagpipes with coloured mounts, red, green and blue practice chanters, band chanters in colours, invent your own blend of tenor drum sticks, multi-coloured snare sticks, and so on. Harry thinks it mostly proves one thing: people have a lot of disposable income, and the manufacturers are doing their best to get it. Harry’s been working on some projects of his own, including plastic drone reeds with engraving patterns and individual engraving options, drone cords that double as extension cords with AC plug for plugging in the beer cooler or party lights at the games, kilts with different tartan (or plain weave) front panels (both colour-coordinated with the pleated area) so that a band or individual could have two separate looks, and reversible sporrans that allow you to have daywear and fancy-schmancy in one sporran. Of course, coloured sporran chains would be an option.
Harry knows this is old news, but he still loves the idea. Imagine falling off a horse and waking up with the ability to play “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon” without ever having heard it. Now that would be cool. Harry’s heard of a few stories like “Canadian mum fell off the wagon and woke up with a Scottish piper,” but my understanding is that fades pretty quickly.
Also fading quickly is the “Pipes of Peace” concert in Glasgow this summer, which has typically run on the Thursday before the World’s, and featured a variety of Grade 1 bands in concert. Word is that’s it’s no-go the merry-go-round this year though, and Harry wondered if Sir Paul McCartney‘s legal team made contact regarding the potential copyright issues with the name. Harry suggests that to avoid litigation, the organizers might want to re-name the event “Pies and Peas” to give it a distinctly Glasgow flavour. Although, walking home from the pubs late in Glasgow it’s all “pies and pees,” so maybe not.
Harry’s been keeping track of the number of North American Grade 1 and 2 bands that have faded from the scene, and it’s not a pretty picture, but in positive news Matt MacIsaac is now resident in Ontario and will be taking over the Pipes & Drums of the 400 Squadron in between tours with Natalie McMaster and other music projects. Watch this band bring on new pipers this summer.
Tell Harry who’s new in your neighborhood by email to the usual address.