PP Editor’s Blog: New England Academy/ Scottish PB Champs/ Jack in the US/ RSPS Dates etc

nepa logoFollowing the considerable success of the first New England Piping Academy, dates for 2016 have been announced early – with an enhanced programme.

The Academy will run from June 14 -19, 2016, inclusive at the Adelynrood Retreat, Byfield MA, the same venue as this year’s camp. Responding to requests from attendees, the camp has been extended to five days from the afternoon of the 14th till before lunch on the 19th.

nepa-pipersA drumming programme has been added to the course and Tommy Johnston, such a success at the South Florida Piping & Drumming Academy in March, has agreed to be the instructor. Piping tutors will be myself and Matt Pantaleoni, but we will add to the faculty as numbers dictate. Prices will be kept as affordable as possible but will increase on a pro rata basis to cover the extra day. Registrations will open soon via PayPal.

I think we made good progress this year and it will be important that we build on that in 2016. The New England Academy has its own Facebook page and students can keep in touch with everyone there. Please let us have your piping news and contest results and, of course, any photographs.

Chanter class at NEPA ’15

It is a little cooler in Mass. in June, and I can guarantee another camp of fun, hard work and lots of ceilidh dancing! And I shouldn’t forget the kind ladies of the Retreat who make us so welcome and the good wholesome fare they provide; it sets us up for our daily lessons.

Still in the US where  Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor is teaching:

‘I’ve just finished a week teaching in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at one of the five schools run this summer by the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming. The mix of abilities has shifted over time, and this year this school attracted adult beginners and promising youngsters. The adults are often in bands, and have picked up melodies, but few embellishments. A thought – what would you want as pipe major of a band whose main activity is street parades?  Strong melodies, or ones messed up with poor grace-notes? So at the school it is often the case of ‘back to basics’ – exercises, blowing, tuning, starts, stops.
‘The other ‘flown in’ instructor was Terry Tully, who was on great form at the concert with an array of Irish tunes, wavering notes and all.  He left the wee bit of piobaireachd to yours truly and we both rattled through an MSR with drumming instructor Gordon Bell, Mrs Mac especially lickity spit. Not really SLOT standard I’m afraid. There was lovely dancing too – two dancers simultaneously dancing the Irish jig, one the Irish version, the other Scottish, accompanied by the ‘Road to the Isles’ group with schools organiser George Balderose on small pipes.
‘George attended a school with John MacFadyen ‘way back’. At the school audition  George mused that Macleod of Raasay’s Salute was a good tune.  Mr MacF thumped the table and  looked George straight in the eye, ‘They are ALL good tunes.’ he thundered. 

‘Now off for more at the final school in East Stroudsberg.’

RSPSThe Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society are staging two recitals during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They are at St Mark’s Art Space at 7 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, on August 17 and 24th at 8.30pm. Tickets are £10 at the door or via the Fringe box office.

I hear that Colin MacLellan is preparing a book of his father’s excellent piobaireachd compositions. They should be heard more often and this initiative is most welcome. There’s more to Captain John’s canon than the Phantom Piper of the Corrieyairick.

To Dumbarton tomorrow for the Scottish PB Champs. Should be a good pointer for the Worlds don’t you think? After the close run thing at Forres, will favourites FMM triumph yet again or will they be headed by another band? The listener will be the winner whatever the outcome and I’ll have a report soon after, so stay tuned to Piping Press. All results as they happen on the RSPBA’s Twitter feed and summaries available shortly after.

Following prompting from Calum in London, I’ve added a fulsome comment to the Cape Breton piping piece of earlier in the week.

Those interested in the piobaireachd the King’s Taxes may like to have a listen to my performance of it in the Gold Medal at Oban in 1985. Not perfect, but good enough to win on the day, and thirty years on it brings back pleasant memories.. Check it out here.

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