Our main feature today is an article by Northern Ireland piper Kenny Stewart on the historic concert given by Bill Livingstone’s 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band in Ballymena, Ken’s home town, in 1987.
Ken tells us of the origins of the show, how it was organised and how the band impressed so many people with their playing only a few days before they lifted the World Champion crown, the first overseas band ever to do so.
The concert will be commemorated in a special evening at the Celtic Connections Festival on January 30th. The blurb reads:
‘Back in August 1987, Canada’s 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band performed what would come to be known as a landmark concert in Ballymena, Co. Antrim – just a few days before they became the first ever non-Scottish band to win the Grade 1 title at that year’s World Pipe Band Championships. Nearly three decades on, the recording of that concert, Live in Ireland ’87, remains one of the best-selling pipe-band albums ever, with its innovative repertoire – including Don Thompson’s ‘Journey to Skye’, the first ever musical suite composed for pipe band – establishing it as a pivotal milestone in its field.