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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Pandemic Travel: Positively Negative

October 24, 2021 on 2:32 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories | Comments Off on Pandemic Travel: Positively Negative

The last time I was in Glasgow was early February 2020. I wasn’t sure if a 2021 Atlantic crossing was in the cards but The Fool in the figurative Tarot card deck turned up (the fool: always up for travel, its said) and here I am: over-looking Glasgow’s iconic George Square and ready to head back west.
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Book Release Video! (with notes)

August 26, 2021 on 4:59 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Video | Comments Off on Book Release Video! (with notes)

Thanks to all who managed to tune in Facebook to the kick-off of the publication of my book, “Grey’s Notes on a life around Bagpipes”! Even as a (sadly) virtual part of this year’s Piping Live! festival in Glasgow it turned out to be fun to put together – and – I hope time well-spent for viewers.

The program is still available. Here you go:
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Bill Livingstone & Outlander

July 23, 2021 on 6:25 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Shout Outs! | Comments Off on Bill Livingstone & Outlander

This will be old news for avid readers of Diana Gabaldon‘s massively popular “Outlander” series of novels but it is news to me. This week, Sharon Duthart, in a random exchange related to mutual work, passed along an image her niece in Scotland had sent along – a phone pic of a page from an an Outlander book: The Drums of Autumn.
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Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

July 16, 2021 on 7:04 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

This week I had the chance to head to the Homeland. To Quebec: the Eastern Townships, or L’Estrie, to Francophones. And, as anyone might, I took it.
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