April 05, 2009

Inside story

With the current financial climate in North America you wouldn’t think that there would be many new piping and drumming events being created, but suddenly Ontario, at the most unlikely of times, seems to be enjoying a resurgence. Two new Highland games are on the Rota, with the addition of Lindsay and Oshawa (which, by the way, has The Proclaimers booked to perform in the beertent) and yesterday’s triumphant return of the Toronto Indoor.

I can see the Indoor becoming one of the pearls of the PPBSO season, perhaps even attracting a large number of competitors from further a-field, including the United States. The event was one of the best social gatherings Ontario has had for a long time, with a tremendous relaxed atmosphere of camaraderie. No one was too stressed about the performances or the results, and appeared to be focused mainly on having a good time and shaking out the cobwebs before the long outdoor season begins.

To be sure, there were judging cobwebs, too. After a long winter it’s not easy adjusting one’s critical ear, not to mention using an actual pen to write. I’m sure that a few scoresheet words were illegible. Just as well.

I was reminded that the Toronto Police mini-band’s airing of its famous, or infamous depending on your perspective, “Variations on a Theme of Good Intentions” medley/suite/opus/thingmee was only the third time that they had actually competed with it in public. But it felt like I had heard the medley dozens of times, which I think I have because of it being aired on the net so many times. It is a difficult piece to assess on paper – that’s the judge’s problem and not the band’s – and doubly difficult when it’s a mini-band playing in an echo chamber.

The stakes weren’t high yesterday, which is sometimes as it should be. Here’s to next year’s Toronto Indoor Games, again I hope in the heart of the downtown. I have a feeling we’re on to something great again.


  1. The Toronto Indoor, Hamilton Indoor and Stratford Indoor contests, along with all the monthly winter society meeting solo events used to be a staple in young players lives during the 70’s and 80’s, good to see they are making a comeback.

    Always a Kitchen session somewhere after too!

  2. The Toronto Indoor had a really good and inexpensive and fast beer service. I thought that it was just the exact thing for the competition. Might be good to make sort of a “beer garden” location for next year. I took the subway home!!

  3. i think the point about the international aspect of the Indoor Games is interesting; not only with the surprising results of the gr. 3 contest, but the soloists such an event drew in as well. with an event that was almost lost from lack of attendance, could one rightfully predict far-traveling competitors and participants in games to come?

  4. Only vagualy related to the theme by the name, but can someone tell me what the sharp sign before the word Toronto means – I notice it all the time on the Twitter thing and elsewhere. Looks like #Toronto ?? (yes, I’m over 50, and I suspect that’s why I don’t know the answer!)



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