Rumours on the Internets

June 30, 2008 on 8:32 pm by Michael Grey | In Stories, Whinges | Comments Off on Rumours on the Internets

You don’t have to be very old to remember the world before the Internet.  I think my first foray was around 1996 using a workplace account (for business purposes only, of course).  I imagine there’ll be loads of people in their late 20s who remember, even a little, a pre-Internet world. 
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June 23, 2008 on 9:55 am by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands | 10 Comments

The competitive pipe band world is a challenging environment to make music.  Rules (and hefty musical parameters) aside, its a place, generally speaking, where there are strong preconceptions about what a pipe band should – or should not – perform.  For example, the competition medley, launched as an event around 1970, is barely middle age in human terms, and in musical terms is still suckling at the teat.  For the most part, what’s heard in pipe band contests today are really well thought-out arrangements and configurations of the main tune types common to bagpipe light music.  And, with one main, notable exception: the “reelpipe intro” or “hornreel” or whatever you call it, there  hasn’t been huge interest in shaking up the 25 year-old (plus) competition “medley” format.
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Variations on a Theme of Good Intentions

June 17, 2008 on 1:52 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Whinges | 7 Comments

Last Saturday at the Georgetown games the band I play in, The Toronto Police Pipe Band, participated in the grade one pipe band contest. The event was a “medley” event and we played a piece of music I built called, “Variations on a Theme of Good Intentions“. What an experience.  We had all anticipated playing this “medley” and the crowd reaction was spine-tingling.  I have never in my long piping career experienced spontaneous, mid-performance cheers from a crowd at a pipe band contest. I’m not sure about the other players  but it was all I could do to hold concentration.  Believe me, these are the kinds of “challenges” we want to be faced with when competing! Forget the results for a moment, reaction like this is a performer’s triumph.  It is what this is all about, or should be. 
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June 12, 2008 on 7:48 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on Joints

It’s summer, the pipes and drums are in high gear, and the games are afoot.  It’s also the time of year we put our instruments (and ourselves) under their biggest tests - under stressful and, usually, trying conditions.   Wind, rain, sleet, cold, hot, “gloom of night“ – we perform under the full gamut of weather conditions.  We’re the “postpeople” of the music world.  Rarely do we get that perfect, cloudless 21 degree performance day.  But we always aim to deliver. 
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Bagpipe Hero (Video)

June 6, 2008 on 8:22 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Video | Comments Off on Bagpipe Hero (Video)

So, there is this sometimes funny CBC television show: “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”… anyway, over the years they’ve done Gaelic bits and the odd nod to Canadian Scots … but this is pretty good…

The truth of the matter, though: bagpipes, destined to be a perennial novelty.  🙁


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