PP Ed's Blog: London/ Critiques/Bellows Collogue/SPA/ Florida

To London today for the annual solo championships. A huge number of events with around 100 pipers taking part. The judges will have their work cut out for sure. Kensington Conference Centre is the place to be from 8.30am tomorrow and I’ll have results here as soon as I get them.

‘Charlie’ comments again on Glenfiddich asking if I could review the performances via the videos. Not something I do Charlie. You do not get the full story of a performance unless you are actually there so it would be unfair on the pipers to do a critique based on something second hand.
It is the same at the Worlds. Microphone positioning, compression, engineer’s mix both alter, to a greater or lesser degree, what the audience in the arena, and more so the judges, actually hear, so again it is not right to base a valuation on that. However thanks for your encouragement and I will do my best to put together something from London and will be there front and centre, barring unforeseen circumstances, at as many contests as I can manage next season beginning with the Uist and Barra in March.

Those interested in bellows piping should head along to the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society Rooms in Rose Street Land South in Edinburgh tomorrow where the Lowland and Borders Pipers’ Society are having their annual gathering, or collogue as they call it.  There are pipe makers stalls and a forum for instrument discussion.  They also have something called ‘Glasgow small pipers performance’. Well those of us from the west have always been malnourished and as a result vertically challenged when compared to Edinburgh types. However can I suggest a better title would have been ‘wee weegie workshop’. Everyone’s welcome to the Collogue and it costs £12 with the fun beginning at 9.30am.

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Tom Johnstone, President of the Scottish Pipers Association writes: ‘Our November meeting is tonight – Friday 3rd November. Thereafter, as usual our meetings are the first Friday of each month at 7.30pm at the College of Piping. All welcome to play, listen or just chat. No dates have been decided as yet but we would hope to do that soon and advise everyone in due course. Look forward to seeing you all at the club nights and the contests.’
Check out the picture up top. It is of Donald MacPherson at an SPA  junior competition in Glasgow in what must have been the 1990s. Over Donald’s right shoulder can be seen leading piper Darach Urquhart and to Darach’s right John Mulhearn, a good piper who has not been competing these past few years. To Donald’s left we have one of the top pipers of today, double Gold Medallist Finlay Johnston. Others in the picture are Strath and Conon Urquhart, Darach’s brothers, and Alasdair Brown. The Urquhart brothers and Alasdair were all pupils of Iain MacFadyen. All of the young pipers in the picture must have been thrilled to have their photograph taken with the maestro. If anyone can give me the full left to right I’d be happy to publish.

Noah Morrisette of the South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy has sent this: ‘We have already had multiple students sign up for the Academy, and we would like to thank those of you who have. We have plenty of spots remaining, but please don’t wait until last minute to sign up. This year is looking like its going to be the best yet.
‘At the South Florida Pipe and Drum Academy we strive to bring our students only the best instruction. I believe we have done that in the past. We would like to thank our bass and tenor instructor for the last two years, Andrew Adams. He truly has a talent for teaching percussion. Unfortunately he will not be joining us this year. However, we are continuing to bring you the best instruction possible with our newest instructor, Andrew Elliot. Andrew is a multiple time Canadian, U.S., and North American solo tenor and bass drumming champion, a five-time MHAF Gold Medal winner, and the only person to have won the Gold Medal in both tenor and bass drumming.
‘As a bandsman, Andrew is a three-time World Champion as a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Along with having major success in both bands and solos, he is also a certified bass and tenor judge with the PPBSO. Andrew is one of the most sought after tenor and bass drum instructors in the world, conducting workshops across North America, the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Andrew is also the owner of Ace Percussion, the world leader in custom tenor drum mallets.
‘The first year we held this Academy we had three classes of pipers, and one drum (all drummers) class. Two of the piping classes were mostly chanter only students, and a few students just learning the bagpipes. Many of these students have returned. Many are now on the pipes and playing many more tunes. To get everyone on the same page musically, Mr. Wallace has asked that everyone coming to the school take a look at some common parade tunes, and tunes we have worked on at the academy in the past. The PDF file is on the website, here, and some of the tunes you might find us playing.’

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