Bill Livingstone on Lament for Mary MacLeod and Ceol Mor (generally)

February 24, 2021 on 10:56 am by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories, Video | No Comments

I’ve known Bill Livingstone since I first met him as a young feller attending The Seaway School of Piping in 1981 where Bill was an instructor. The school was held each July centred in and around Ban Righ Hall of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Colin MacLellan directed the school and his, dad, Captain John MacLellan, the school’s principal instructor. I recall this because, in part, the video presented here has Bill talking a little about his time there and a pithy – yet monumentally important – piobaireachd lesson Captain MacLellan offered Bill related to piobaireachd interpretation. You’ll have to watch the video to glean that secret (33’15”) and the many others mentioned connected to interpreting the big music of the Great Highland Bagpipe.
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Bagpipes in a Canoe: Aspiration Number 27 … Check

September 29, 2013 on 6:30 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Back in January I wrote about Sir George Simpson, the Dingwall-born Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. As part of his 18th century trading adventures in the Canadian wilderness he’d travel with an entourage of honking big canoes and always – apparently – with a piper. Sir George’s piper always played in the big canoe – white water rapids notwithstanding – and for years, knowing this small fact, the piping-in-a-canoe thing has intrigued me.
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Tip #1: Be There

March 29, 2013 on 3:59 pm by Michael Grey | In Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | Comments Off on Tip #1: Be There

Not so long ago I was talking to Colin MacLellan. He was telling me (among other things) about one of his fairly recent bagpipe lesson experiences [sorry, CRM, hope this wasn’t secret]. Anyway, his story involved bagpipes, teacher, student and iPhone.
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A Tune in a Canoe

January 27, 2013 on 6:55 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories | 5 Comments

I’ve been inspired, I’ve a new aspiration: to play bagpipes in a canoe. And the inspiration?
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Another Year-end List: My Top 12 in ’12

December 30, 2012 on 3:49 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Stories | 2 Comments

I thought I might as well jump on the year-end list bandwagon and dream up my own list. Blogs are made for lists and here’s one: my “top 12 in 12”: a random list of twelve of my very personal standout mostly piping memories of 2012 (“random” meaning I might have a different list if I sat down tomorrow and again thought about the year that was).

In no particular order:
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When in Rome …

August 21, 2011 on 5:01 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Photographs, Random Thoughts | 2 Comments

I’ve had to pretty much watch what I eat my whole life. Fries and gravy, pasta and anything and pints stick to me like chrome on a trailer hitch. Maybe you can relate. The buckles on a kilt, or your pants (trousers) don’t lie. It’s probably the way of things for most people, I suppose. Anyway, I generally, sort of, mostly, do my good-intentioned best to keep things right.
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The Captain (and Me)

May 9, 2010 on 5:04 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Colin MacLellan sent along a few photos this week. All have become instant treasures. Colin was in town this weekend and while the memory is still fresh (in a hazy sort of way) of me seeing him the last away at 4:30 this morning following a post-competition party, I pass it along here.
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So You Want to Compete at the Big Games

March 28, 2010 on 6:14 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Video | 4 Comments

Thanks to the recent purchase of a video-to-digital box I’ve been able to post some ancient video. This particular sample presents as a fine demo of what it’s really like to compete at a big outdoor contest – in this case, The Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, Scotland. While this comes from 1991 (gulp) things haven’t changed and what you see is what you get.
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10 Favourite Musical Memories of the Noughts

December 29, 2009 on 9:18 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on 10 Favourite Musical Memories of the Noughts

Yikes. Its two days to 2010. Cliche alert: it seems like yesterday … we were all freaking out about the apocalyptic possibilities of a new millennium. Then, as now, I was working in the technology field and clearly recall being assigned a “war room” shift. For those not familiar with the tech business staple of system recovery, the “war room” is a small group of multi-skilled people charged with restarting failed computer systems. I was the scribe of the group (an important role, of course). With black marker at the ready I was set to record the crashing systems and falling sky. Continue reading 10 Favourite Musical Memories of the Noughts…

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