Southern Ontario in general and the Toronto area especially used to see a lot of teaching happening – and a lot of kids’ pipe bands. I can’t say for certain today how much teaching is going on but I do know we don’t have many “junior” bands around, the kind built for kids.
There seems to be a fair bit of upset these days about a ruling that came to be as a result of a vote at the recent Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. Apparently members in attendance voted to remove the “best bass section” prize from the list of those awarded at major pipe band championships. The upset appears to be coming mainly from bass and tenor drummers caught off-guard by the rule change. Like most meetings of this kind attendance was reportedly sparse and a poor representation of general membership. What transpired is a good reminder for next year’s meeting: turn up if you want a voice. I have to admit, to be fair, that not turning up at an AGM never stopped me from crabbing about what I viewed was an ill-conceived rule or policy change.
“Practice what you can’t do”.
Yet another tune from the fifth book, “Music for Everybody”; this time, “Sliding into Colintraive”. This hornpipe is the kind of tune my great teacher, the Aberdonian, George Walker, would call, “hillbilly music”. To George, anything uptempo and easily played on the fiddle would usually fall under the hillbilly category. I remember playing what I could at one Toronto Knock-out final: lots of Cape Breton reels to finish – lots of sweat. George was there and came by as I was putting the pipes away, “Ach, metty, fine playin’ but all that hillbilly music!”
Here’s a very simple 3/4 march you may find interesting, “The Valley Train”, another tune from my fifth book. I should really have called it “The Dundas Valley Train”. That might’ve made the title a little more specific, a little more accurate, a little more meaningful – you know, the markers of good composition!