Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Well, after a week in the beautiful sun of Maui Hawaii, it was a cold re entry to chilly Dartmouth as I went through a 65 degree temperature change from airport to airport. This was my first trip to Hawaii and hopefully not the last but it would not have happened without the help of Michael Riedel arranging this workshop and my two very gracious hosts Alan Davidson (Pipe Seargent of the Isle of Maui Pipe Band)and Norman Mizuno (Band Manager) Thanks must also go to David Asher for hosting the workshop at his beautiful home. This group of Pipers and drummers do all they can to remain inspired by the music which I imagine is rather difficult due to their isolation.
Currently the Isle of Maui Pipe Band has 10 active pipers and 7 drummers and most were at the workshop. For the past several years, Jack lee has come out to Maui to do a "band" workshop so it was decided that I would do an "open type" workshop that would hopefully appeal to more of the pipers in the area, many of them showing up to learn all sorts of new tunes and a Piob, as well as learning some of the theory around timing and pulsing tunes. This band is not well funded and it is a tremendous effort that goes into raising money to host these types of events and a tribute to their eagerness to continue to learn.
Overall, a great week of learning for the students and warm weather for me as well. Oh yeah, playing golf at Kapalua was pretty damn good too. Can't wait to go back !

Monday, November 24, 2008

BBC Pipeline

Hello to all, a busy Christmas season is upon us now and students are busy learning the new tunes for next years upcoming competition season so remember, Christmas is a time to enjoy what you have with your friends and family. This also includes your piping ! Don't fall into that trap of taking the full two weeks off as you could set yourself back quite a ways from the progress you have already made this fall in the new tune learning. Give your pipes a blow now and then to keep them and the reeds from drying out and it will be much easier to get back into the swing in January. As my good friend Willie McCallum once told my son Alex when he was teaching him "it's not the practice everyday that wins you a gold medal, it's the fifteen minutes on those days where you didn't want to play that keep you in good form" Well said Willie

However, you may find you need a break just now so I might suggest a little self promotion at this time and let you know that from now until this saturday, you can hear yours truly playing on BBC's pipeline radio show
While I was over in Scotland last month for the Glenfiddich Championship and the London piping competition, I was contacted by Iain MacInnes to come in to the studio in Edinburgh and record some music for the radio show which aired live in Scotland last Saturday, Nov 22nd. It's always a tough task playing in the studio, most noticeable is the difficulty in keeping the lift and spirit in the tunes when you have to stand basically still in front of a microphone. All in all I was happy enough with the recording and the radio show also features a track from a great new album called Partners in Crime from Ross Ainslie and Jarleth Henderson. There are also little segments from the 78th Frasers live in Ireland recording and a feature from a new Greentrax recording with talking and playing of tunes from the great war.
I hope you enjoy and would love to hear if you have comments. The photo was taken late in the evening at the glenfiddich celidh while I was having a tune with Ross Ainslie.