Worlds Week Beckons: Rottenrow, Glasgow 1992

July 31, 2022 on 6:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands | No Comments

The World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, is looming large. Its set to go August 12-13 – just days away. Starting around now pipers, drummers and their supporters from outside of Scotland have begun making their way through what we’ve heard to be an unpleasant steeple-chase of under-staffed airports and, likely, less-than-smooth travel experiences (an aside: I’ve travelled from YYZ to GLA twice since October of last year: all has been fine – touch wood – so good luck to all, there’s hope).
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Angus MacPherson, Invershin: A 1957 visit with a great tradition-bearer

July 15, 2022 on 8:52 am by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Music, Solo Piping, Video | No Comments

An interesting recording found me not so long ago. A buzzy interview (as in sound distortion) with Angus MacPherson, Invershin from 1957. I thought the near-half hour talk inspiring. This surprised me. On reflection: Here was a man in his ninth decade talking about life – and piping (of course) – imbued with the earliest echoes of the piobaireachd and the culture of that time.
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Uncle John & D-Day, 78 years ago today

June 6, 2022 on 9:07 am by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Uncle John & D-Day, 78 years ago today

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the historic D-Day operation. On June 6, 1944, in the midst of World War II, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in Nazi-occupied France

My dad’s brother, John, was a sergeant in the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, known in WWII as the 27th Armoured Regiment.

I have in my possession a number of Uncle John’s souvenirs and war-time artefacts. A couple of pages of one is shown here from a slim, cardboard-covered, 10 by 16 centimetres “Soldier’s Service Book”.
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Full Concert: Live in Ireland 87 in HD (from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall)

June 4, 2022 on 8:22 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Video | Comments Off on Full Concert: Live in Ireland 87 in HD (from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall)

A recap here for context for people not aware of this project:

Reid Maxwell and I were judging, September 2013, at Canmore Games in Alberta, Canada. In between bands Reid spoke of an Eagles concert he’d recently seen on Netflix and in that, the thought was triggered: wouldn’t it be great to play that 1987 “Live in Ireland” recording again: reprised and live – a sort of tribute band thing, a celebration of the music.
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A grade one medley: looking back to 1997

March 23, 2022 on 8:08 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Video | Comments Off on A grade one medley: looking back to 1997

Here’s another from the bag of newly-digitised video: from the grade one contest at the Highland Games in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. Here in full flight is the band I led at the time, the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band. Geoff Neigh and Willie Connell can be seen among the judges (both now, sadly, no longer with us).
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P/M Evan MacRae: Magazine Cover Star

February 22, 2022 on 10:22 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs | Comments Off on P/M Evan MacRae: Magazine Cover Star

A little diversion for your late-winter’s day: a 1950’s photojournalist’s look at Pipe Major Evan MacRae. You’ll know that Evan MacRae was a top-line piper and great contributor to the “carrying stream” of piping tradition of not-so-long ago.
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Scenes from Cambridge Highland Games (1989!)

January 30, 2022 on 9:03 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Video | Comments Off on Scenes from Cambridge Highland Games (1989!)

I’ve just had a bag full of old VHS videos digitized. They’ve been kicking around collecting dust for years; after having sourced a place for a digitization job for The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, I thought I’d get my lot done at the same time.
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Mr. Donald Shaw S.S.C. (a very good person)

January 4, 2022 on 12:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Tune Score, Stories | Comments Off on Mr. Donald Shaw S.S.C. (a very good person)

While Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet thought names were mostly irrelevant as “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” I’ve come to see that like most things in life, such things – names, for one – are seldom cut and dried. I’d have to think, for example, that it’s a good thing that your doctor understands the importance of noting the correct names in their script writing. To mix up, say, Viagra with Allegra might see stiff consequences: a potential hardship case for a person with a chronically runny nose. No. Names can matter.
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In Praise of Ear Learning

December 1, 2021 on 4:57 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping | Comments Off on In Praise of Ear Learning

It dawned on me as I waded through the day’s Duolingo French exercises: learning a language is easiest by immersion; that is, to be constantly around the sounds of the language. To live it, to learn what the sounds mean, what they represent. In childhood, for instance, I’d have to think it’s often the things done wrong that prove to be the speediest way to ingrain words. As goes the old axiom: we most often learn best from the mistakes we make: “Mon Dieu! Idiot! Le poêle est chaud ! Tu t’es brûlé la main !”.
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A Tune from John MacFadyen

November 13, 2021 on 5:13 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories, Video | Comments Off on A Tune from John MacFadyen

The piobaireachd, Rory McLoude’s Lament has always been a favourite. The old Anglicized spelling of MacLeod is likely connected to its first appearance in the Campbell canntaireachd manuscripts. And, as this is the spelling chosen by the editors of book eleven of The Piobaireachd Society Collection (1966), this is how pipers generally spell the tune. But that’s enough on letters. It’s a fine piece; in fact, Joseph MacDonald, in his Compleat Theory (1762) described it as a “…very soft lament …”. This tune, too, was among the first I learned from the hands of Bill Livingstone. He, in turn, was taught this tune by John MacFadyen (1926-1979).
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