Thanks to Les Hutt, Inverness, for reminding me of the Glenurquhart and Invergordon Games tomorrow (see Comments). There’s certainly plenty of opportunity for pipers this Saturday to get out and have a tune and I hope as many as possible will take advantage of the last few weekends of the games.
Les’s old band were the Monktonhall Colliery and he learned his piping under Willie McBride, a fine piper and a first class P/M taking the band to the heights of Grade 1 I believe.
Willie’s son is Donald McBride, one of our teachers at the South Florida Piping & Drumming Academy and known as an outstanding player and teacher in his own right. Donald recently put this photograph (top) of himself and his father in the Monktonhall front line on the web. It must have been taken in the early 70s. It looks like Cowal and Donald is the wee spyug (look it up) in the front rank turning to talk to dad who was then P/Sgt. Is that Les behind? Who was the P/M? Any further info gratefully received. Finally what is Donald saying to papa? ‘I got all my doublings in dad, I did, I really did. Can I get an extra bag of sweeties?’
‘No; stop whining or I’ll skelp yer lug,’ would have been the only decent response.
Talking of Academies, the dates for New England 2016 have been set. Here’s a message from Registrar Cricket: ‘We have dates for camp for next year! Adelynrood rooms were small, but we loved having the run of the whole place. Next year, let’s fill it up with more pipers and even some drummers… ! We’re adding a day to the camp, also, as many of us felt our time was too short. More dancing! More playing! More practice time!
‘I am putting together a mini-survey/evaluation to send around also, to make sure we tweak next year to be even better for you, our most Faithful Charter Year Campers. Thanks go to all of you for your immense generosity, with each other and with any of the quirky startup issues we may have had this year, getting ourselves situated in a new facility. Next year, we expect pretty smooth sailing. And of course some great tuition, and all-around fun.
‘Let’s talk this up to our bands and piping friends, and even our piping-wannabe friends! BIG thanks go out to Rob and Matt for all their teaching and hard work. Next year will be upon us before we know it~ mark your calendar now! Hope this finds you each well and getting some summer R&R.’
Just a few more thoughts on the Worlds. It was interesting to re-read Alistair Aitken’s comment that the BBC had nine microphones around the Grade 1 arena and that no judge would have heard the contest the way it was broadcast. Nor would the commentator and presenters who of necessity have to listen via a set of headphones or on mobile studio speakers. The point I’m making is that, accepting Alistair’s point about close proximity, the people best placed to hear the performances would undoubtedly have been the adjudicators. What is broadcast is a compressed mix courtesy BBC sound engineers. I am sure they do their damnedest to be as accurate as possible, but there is always going to be some difference to what is broadcast and what is heard by those actually in the arena or sitting in the stands nearby.
I have had one noted piper who listened via the livestream say to me that he thought Field Marshal’s high A was course and inaccurate. Well I have to say that this was one of the few bands in the MSR that had the required breadth in this note. So it just shows how the airwaves can alter things, ever so slightly, granted, but crucially at this level. The BBC do a grand job, both radio and television, but there is no substitute for actually being there and hearing things for yourself.
RSPBA pix from the Worlds now online and also the opportunity to buy tickets for the World Solo Drumming Grade 1 final (Oct 17, Glasgow Caledonian University). Click here for more info.
Band contests remaining this season:
Aug 22 – Rothesay and Portrush, NI
Aug 29 – Cowal
Sept 5 – Peebles
Sept 6 – Chatsworth & Innerleithen
Sept 12 – Pitlochry
New track added to PP Audio Archive today. It’s part of a radio broadcast I did 34 years ago:
The archive is proving increasingly popular. By far and away the most played track is that of Jimmy McIntosh playing part of Lament for the Children, recorded just before his 90th birthday. Listen here.