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).

Historic weather records tell us the temperature that day was 29 degrees Celsius. And it would have definitely been humid. And look at us playing with jackets on! Phew.

This group of people were a great bunch: always up for learning new music – old music, too, for that matter – and full of energy. I think that comes through in the playing. The leading drummer at the time was Craig Stewart and John Elliott was both Pipe Sergeant and chief sound-setter. I was going to list here all the members on the day but in knowing I might leave a name out I’ll forgo that exercise.

A lot of time and tunes has passed since then and interesting to me that it took some real brain-stretching – and a note to John Elliott – to squeeze all the tune titles out. You’d think that with so much practice, rehearsal and performance of these tunes they’d never be forgotten.

Listening to this now I think it is fair to say that the band played with a lot of “go” – a great word used often by Captain John MacLellan to describe a performance with verve. It seems to me it’s very difficult to have a performance of any kind without some element of that – of “go”.


PS. Music played:

P/M John Elliott (M. Grey)
N J Cardenden (Nellie & Jock) (M. Grey)
The Left-handed Fiddler (James Scott Skinner)
The Riggin o’ Fife (G. Redpath)
The Humours of Whiskey (Setting 1) (Trad. arr. D. Rickard)
The North Shore Sisters (M. Grey)
Brenda Stubbert’s Reel (J. Holland)
The Prankster Olympics (B. Gandy / B. Worrall)
Sergeant Malkie Bow’s Consternation (M. Grey)

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