March 09, 2009

Classic music

world-baseball-logoFor fans the World Baseball Classic is a nice warm-up for the regular season. It’s the second time that the every-three-years event has been put together, and for those in North America who think that the sport isn’t played to any great level anywhere else, the competitiveness of countries like The Netherlands and Australia is eye-opening, even though most national teams have a smattering of Major Leaguers on their rosters, since even an American-born player with a parent or even grandparent from a foreign country can opt to play for the other side.

Could such a fun festival of talent be done with pipe bands? I think so. What fun it would be to assemble an all-star band from every country where Highland pipes have caught on. Each national team could be managed by a few designated accomplished pipers and drummers who no longer compete, and they could go about picking their bands from the cream of the available crop.

Would Scotland automatically win? I don’t think so. Similar to team USA not having anything like a lock on winning the WBC, I would say that the competition between Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, France, Canada, USA, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand that – at least tonally and technically – it would be a dead heat. Even England could field a top-notch group.

There could be several events, including, say, a national music category, where each band would have to develop a medley reflecting the unique musical style of its home country (advantage: France?). Countries could be encouraged to wear some adaptation of national dress. The possibilities are endless.

Play ball!


  1. Instead of taking a group of ready made players and churning out yet another set of MSR’s, a far more impressive contest would be to give each superstar player a grade 4 pipe band for 3 months and see what they can do with them.

    Now that would be something to hear!

  2. Come on Andrew,
    Of Course Scotland would win … I mean, we invented golf and we’re the best in the world at that … Highland games strongest man, it’s always a scotsman that wins isn’t it?
    First man on the moon … Scotsman
    First Homo-sapien to stand erect … Scotsman … need I go on???

    Enough nonsense… it wouldn’t even be close … Northern Ireland would take the trophy, Canada second … and us lot a close third.

    Could a fun “World cup of Piping” with knock outs … semi’s and a grand final run along side the worlds …. er No ….Nice notion though


  3. What a great idea! This kind of thing would help to loosen up the rigid tightly adhered to structures which have become set in stone, and would help to ease the monopoly which certain quarters think they have. The emotional atmosphere surrounding such an event would be great for, again, loosening up musical and interpersonal relationships between countries, bands and people. I think it would give us Scots a wake up call, when we saw how the prizes were distributed around the world.
    It’s so inviting a prospect, I wish it could be open for not only experienced pipers and drummers to present groups and bands at it, but Musical Directors as well. I’d definitely enter a team!
    The National Music Category would be brilliant, and what would be even better – as an additional aspect of that – would be to have a draw, on a certain date where two countries were drawn out of a hat – and each of these countries were invited to play a tune from and in the style of, the other country. That way, pipers and drummers everywhere would learn about each others musics, cultures, and styles, and musical growth and development would take a giant leap forward imho.
    Any reason why it shouldn’t happen?

  4. I think it would be cool to do something like they used to do at the Gaelic College with their Mini-Band’s. Pipers and drummers of different grades were relatively randomly put together in a group and had a week to come up with a 2-4 minute medley that played to the strengths of the group and then there was a “competition” judged by the instructors at the end of the week. It was heaps of fun and everyone had a blast.

    I could see getting groups of players together, giving them a week of time to construct a medley, work out the settings for the pipers and drummers, get everything up a going and them have a competition at the end of the week. Who wants to sponsor this?


  5. Very good idea! Although, myself being from South Africa, I’m not sure how traditional African dress would catch on. Asegai’s are not very sock-friendly. 😛

  6. Jack Lee
    Terry Lee
    Colin Lee
    Alistair Lee
    Andrew Lee
    Andrew Bonar
    Alan Bevan
    Bill Livingstone
    Bruce Gandy
    Alex Gandy
    Glenn Brown
    Ian K. MacDonald
    James MacHattie
    Matt MacIsaac
    Jamie Troy
    Ryan MacDonald
    John Cairns
    Colin Clancy
    Sean McKeown
    Andy Rogers
    Andrew Hayes
    Lionel Tupman
    Michael Grey
    Andrea Boyd

    Blair Brown
    Graham Brown
    Peter Hendrickson
    Dave Bowman
    Andrew Lawson
    Aaron Carter
    Graham Kirkwood
    Glenn Neil
    Mitch MacKay
    Grant Maxwell

    Tyler Fry
    James Marshall
    Blake Schmidt
    Andrew Elliot
    Lauren Bonnet
    Kyle Heaney
    Reagan Jones

    Craig Colquhoun

  7. Love it! That Team Canada looks strong….

    It is interesting to note how big a band you can put together in a number of countries when you start writing the names down. Do we need Canada A, Canada B, Scotland A, Scotland B, Eire A/B, etc…we’re blessed with a ridiculous number of great ambassadors for the art, aren’t we?

  8. I don’t there has or will be a human being born that could possibly judge what has been suggested. If such a farce/pipe dream indeed became a reality, then it would only open the sores of many and cause further decay and ill feeling to what we once called a hobby and which has now become to many an infatuation.

  9. Here’s a little motivation!

    That Team Canada list looks a little weak, I know all those guys and they blow tiny reeds and bang away with wee tin drums!

    Perhaps when they can get their Amazing Grace suite together in time, they can come down to Vegas in 2011.
    The Scots can come to if they get over their fear of flying and wee kittens.

  10. Flying Scotsman you say? Perhaps if we got up enough steam we could go down that track. Better not move too fast or the whole thing will come off the rails……..



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