Precious Practice Pads

November 26, 2008 on 7:24 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 4 Comments

A huge number of us are  stricken with the chronic challenge of trying to find a suitable place to practice the big pipes.   If a single chanter can reach 122 decibels and a pneumatic drill can reach 104 decibels, well, then, we all  know we need some fairly sound-tight space to rehearse our tunes of glory.  Hell, we didn’t need to know about the drill statistic; it’s simple, we need space to play our pipes.  Period.
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When Pipers Die

November 23, 2008 on 9:22 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 5 Comments

I’m just in the door from Scott MacAulay’s memorial, held this afternoon in Hamilton, Ontario.   A standing room only crowd with lots of music: bagpipes, smallpipes and Gaelic song, and lots of heartfelt memory.  It has been over two months since Scott’s death and, still, emotion was raw.  It was great to see so many old friends and aquaintances.  Scott would’ve been hugely proud of main organizers Kenny Eller, Donnie Forgan, Sue McCarroll and Bob MacCrimmon. “God love ’em, ” he’d say, I’m sure.
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Let’s Harmonize the Set!

November 16, 2008 on 1:37 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Tips | 18 Comments

Music that never fails to make me feel better for listening is the kind made on the accordion – especially Scottish dance band stuff, though any accordion, in almost any style, will do.  Piano or button key, the accordion is boxtastic.  
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Watching Paint Dry & Pipe Band MSRs

November 9, 2008 on 8:14 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Whinges | 6 Comments

This weekend I happened across a quote courtesy of the French philosopher, Francois Marie Arouet (aka Voltaire). He wrote, “the best way to be boring is to leave nothing out”. Ain’t it the truth. Think of the masses of news coverage of the politician who misspeaks, or the chatter after a concert when a singer forgets lyrics or an actor forgets lines – the kind of stuff that morphs to memory, leaves a strong, nearly indelible impression. TV networks make buckets of cash (I guess) producing TV shows of outtakes and “bloopers”. People love it. What makes bull fighting timelessly popular with the Spanish public? The artistry and athleticism of the matador, without doubt. I suspect, though, it’s more the possibility of a good old-fashioned gouging that tells the true tale, a matadorian misstep of the lethal kind keeps the crowds coming, and holds the potential for biggest impression and, dare I say it, most exciting entertainment.
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