Canada @150: A baker’s dozen of tunes

June 28, 2017 on 6:09 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping | Comments Off on Canada @150: A baker’s dozen of tunes

This year, as some might know, is Canada’s 150th anniversary of “confederation”, as we Canadian-types say. It was in 1864 that politicians of the day met in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and started to agree to something called Canada. By July 1, 1867, we had Canada – and – our first Prime Minister, John A MacDonald, Glasgow born – in the Merchant City area, quite possibly – set the stage for a Canada where the pipes are never too far away from earshot. In fact, one Colin Roy MacLellan made a prize-winning pibroch in honour of the great man, “Salute to Sir John A MacDonald”, published (2016) in his father’s, Captain John A’s, “Complete Compositions of Ceol Mor”. An excellent tune.

And so a compositional seque to now: in honour of Canada’s 150 (and seizing an excuse as good as any), a “top” 13 tunes list made up of Canadians. I list them here, with the composer’s surname in alphabetical order.

Nothing too serious here, all in the name of Canada’s anniversary now – I reflected on tunes that were (a) composed by Canadians, or (suspected) naturalized Canucks and (b) tunes that I had a sense are – or at one time were – quite popular. I know there’re loads of good and great tunes of real merit around. This is just a list. One list in a moment in time. And yes, most of these people built many more than one excellent tune.
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Backstory and Reflections: Live in Ireland 87 Project

March 3, 2017 on 5:14 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off on Backstory and Reflections: Live in Ireland 87 Project

Writing a blog has to be the ultimate in vanity exercises, or “vanity projects”, as is usually said when referring to almost anything a person undertakes that requires a healthy ego. We flatter ourselves imagining – or blindly assuming – that people are gagging to get a dose of our words and unsolicited opinion. I invite you (surely countless readers) to consider otherwise. But I do believe this to be true. A blogger rides the pud-puller that is the web log – the blog (come to think of it, Facebook musings are much the same).

It seems to me, too, that the blog can be that and something more. It can be this and that: in my words here, I try to also use this self-made forum as a record of stuff that happens to and around me. I guess you’d call that a diary. Yeah, that’s it; a diary. I’m not as a faithful a diarist as I’d like but when I look back on the last ten years of my dunaber blog I’m reminded of people, events and opinions changed and retained. So, in looking back, I’m happy I kept a little record of one part of my life.

With this in mind I want to provide a little context and reflect briefly on the “Live in Ireland 87” project, so in future years I’ll recollect and today you’ll know a little of the background of the thing.
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Happy Canada Day – 5 Random Facts

July 1, 2016 on 7:14 am by Michael Grey | In Humour, News, Photographs | Comments Off on Happy Canada Day – 5 Random Facts

Today’s the day. And since we’re here, five random facts about Canada – it’s always five (it’s a blog):
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Halfway through 2016 and Reflecting

June 16, 2016 on 4:29 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, News, Photographs, Pipe Bands | Comments Off on Halfway through 2016 and Reflecting

I think it’s the early sunrise and especially bright eye-squinting mornings, just a little south of the 49th parallel, that reminded me today that we’re almost at the halfway point of 2016. Whoosh! That’s how time goes – and that’s how time flies. And so, as not to forget, and maybe omit something from what will surely turn out to be a mighty and interesting late-December 2016 summary, I thought I’d jot down a few personal highlights of the year that’s been so far. Not for you, of course, but for me! Me. Me. Me.

When thinking, in processing thoughts, just what makes a person think – of anything? What ignites a thought? A chance meeting with a new acquaintance or old friend? An email, a text, a dog’s bark, the weather, an online video, the news – the cat licking it’s arse – what random action or environmental thing triggers (and apologies in advance for using that word) a thought or thinking? And, again, in this case, thinking as reflection.
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Clachantrushal [say that three times fast]

September 13, 2015 on 6:56 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Whinges | Comments Off on Clachantrushal [say that three times fast]

There are a couple of instances where people might talk and, so, where I find myself more riled up than other times: those that get me going more than almost any other: the first, the georgebushian “nucular”, for nuclear (as in war and bombs) and the second related to the pipe tune, “Pipe Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal” for “Major David Manson AT Clachantrushal”, the later being the accurate and right name for this bagpipe 2/4-timed march – played always and often in bagpipe circles.
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Dunrovin Farm, North Hatley, Quebec

September 7, 2015 on 7:08 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Dunrovin Farm, North Hatley, Quebec

This past Saturday I found my way back to the homeland, Quebec’s Eastern Townships, for a flying visit: there and back the same day. By far the shortest visit I’ve made to this place, about 750 kilometres from where I live today. Fleeting? Yes. But sweetly memorable. The occasion, sadly, was a funeral. Though the service, on this day in the small 19th century country church, was for a man who lived a good long life, a life lived well and one with a legacy of seriously fine people – and a lot of stories. Stories galore. Gordon Stuart was a big man who lived large. And so this day, marked a fine send-off and a quiet celebration marking goodness and a good life. Surely this is at the core of why we have funerals.
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Reay Mackay of Lake Couchiching

April 25, 2015 on 6:12 pm by Michael Grey | In News | Comments Off on Reay Mackay of Lake Couchiching

Just in the door from a rare visit with Reay Mackay and his wife Joan (and daughter Sheila and hubby, Michael) in their home an hour north of Toronto. It felt like old home week in their beautiful place on the shores of placid Lake Couchiching (couchiching reminds me of a “word” you might use to amuse a baby, just sayin’). Anyways, a great catch-up.
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The Worlds: Fish Suppers all ‘Round!

March 8, 2015 on 6:20 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Stories | 2 Comments

Here’s a curiosity: a long-ago-redeemed copy of a cheque. Usually such a thing isn’t much interest except maybe for keen auditors (redundant, I know; of course, all auditors are keen), but this image is one for the few pipe band historians around: this is a copy of the cheque that paid out first prize to the 78th Fraser Highlanders at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1987.
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“Mike Grey, the doctor will see you now”

February 16, 2015 on 8:20 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on “Mike Grey, the doctor will see you now”

I’ve had the same family doctor for as long as I can remember. I don’t see him enough, which, in a way, I guess, is a good thing. But, up until fairly recently, when I did land in his waiting room, I’d almost always cause him – or his receptionist – consternation, if not a laugh.
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Three Deep Breaths (A Kiwi Tip)

November 20, 2014 on 9:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories, Tips | Comments Off on Three Deep Breaths (A Kiwi Tip)

A piece of advice I remember time and again is that which came to me through the thoughtfulness of the great New Zealand piper, Gold Medallist, John Hanning. Early in my career, while I was recitalling through the north and south islands of NZ, he passed along his recipe for performance steadiness; that is, his final personal prep for ensuring he didn’t unduly contribute to the filling up of the laundry basket.
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