PP Editor’s Blog: Bob Worrall Recital/ Tutor 3/ Albert Duncan/ Pipe Bags/ Highland Games League

Videos and audio files to accompany Bagpipe Tutor 3 – Piobaireachd are now live and can be accessed here. If you would like to learn piobaireachd (pronounced ‘pee-broch’ with the ‘och’ as in loch) then you can buy the book here:

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Albert Duncan a friend and teaching colleague on many occasions out in Western Canada. Always smiling and willing to help, Albert passed away at the end of March. I only got word the other day so belated condolences to Mary Ann and family. Albert was born in 1930 and was an early winner of the BC Pipers’ MacCrimmon Cairn. He excelled as a teacher and was always in demand for lessons from both young and old.

Three types of pipe bag: at the to we have a synthetic bag made to simulate the weight and feel of a skin; in the middle we see the traditional sheepskin bag and and the bottom a bag made from breathable fabric. 1 & 3 have zipper access for watertraps and moisture control systems

New letter on the PP Academy: Pipe Bags article. Read it here.

Patricia Grant has sent this re the 2016 Highland Games League: ‘Well we have started a new season and this is the League following Gordon Castle, Fochabers.  Please could the CPA forward this to your contact list.  Next outing is Aberdeen.  Please note that there is a piobaireachd section for Juniors now’.

Latest placings (Piob):
1    Edward Gaul 4pts.
2    John MacDonald  3
3    Michael Laing  2
4    Gordon Barclay  1

Latest placings (Light Music):
1  John MacDonald  8
2  Edward Gaul 5
3  Steve Spencer  4
4  Gordon Barclay 2
5  Michael Laing  1

Junior Piob
1  John MacLaren  4
2  Tom Spencer  3

Junior Light Music
1 John MacLaren  8
2 Dillon Finnie  6
3= Matthew Moir  2
3= Angus Robertson  2

nicholas taitz mugSouth Africa Correspondent Nicholas Taitz has sent this on a recent recital by Bob Worrall:

‘On a cold May Johannesburg evening at St Benedict’s College, Bedfordview, a hardy group of piping and pipe band enthusiasts gathered to hear a recital by Bob Worrall from Burlington, Ontario.  The recital was well attended and the enthusiastic audience was rewarded for braving the cold evening as we heard some memorable piping. 

‘Perhaps less well known amongst younger pipers is Bob’s solo piping prowess, having been a leading prize winner in Canada at the highest level for many years in the 70s and 80s. For anyone not old enough to have heard Bob live back then, it is fortunate that his technique and playing remain immaculate now, and one only needs to hear him live to be left in little doubt as to the level of piper he was.

‘Playing well in later life is certainly not unprecedented in piping. Famous examples include John MacDonald of Inverness who won the Clasp over the age of 60 and David Ross of Rosehall who competed over the age of seventy against the leading professionals of his day.

David Ross, Rosehill...competed well in his 70s
David Ross, Rosehill…competed well in his 70s

‘In any event, Bob still displays immaculate and impressive finger technique, with heavy embellishments on the bottom hand and one of the most impressive birls I have heard in many a year of listening to high-level piping.  Bob treated the audience to the full range of pipe tunes, from simple to competition marches, strathspeys and reels, all interspersed with his illuminating and entertaining commentary.

‘The pipe was perfect from start to finish and demonstrated to all of us struggling to play at altitude that perfect tone is indeed possible in Johannesburg (6,000 feet above sea level) but, as Bob noted, it is the most difficult place in the world to achieve it. The drones were full of harmonics and the chanter bright and stable.

‘Bob entertained the audience with many anecdotes of his various piping friends, including stories of his legendary teacher, John Wilson, Toronto, as well as some stories about P/M Angus MacDonald and others.  Bob displays a very unusual ability to impart pipe music and make it accessible to a wide audience whilst still satisfying the requirements of the most pedantic listener.

‘I would recommend that anyone who has the chance to hear Bob play live should certainly not miss it – he is one of the most entertaining and musical pipers you will ever hear.’