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.