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to play as a group or band is actually a secondary need to their being taught as individuals. They can then go on to integrate to greater effect. The Inveraray and District Pipe

Band took over from Bucksburn. It would be remiss of me if I did not comment on the difference in sound. From my vantage point I could make out 18 or 19 pipers.As the drummers were behind the pipes, I was unsure of their numbers. There was clarity in the tone and technique was sharper. This carried their performance to a different level. Pipe Major Stuart Liddell

p o s i t i o n e d himself


front of the band facing his troops and they were clearly taking the lead from him. However, he occasionally stepped into the rank of pipers, clearly confident of his fellow players being able to continue without his guidance.Within the first half of their programme we had a piobaireachd Too Long in the Condition. Soloist Murray Henderson played

the Donald MacDonald setting, but slightly truncated and edited, and after the ground the band joined him as he went into the first variation, the drum corps assisting in the dynamics of the variations. The audience was very appreciative. Doubtless ceol mor would be a departure from the norm for a lot of them. It was a good choice of tune. I don’t know how much rehearsal went into this performance


as Murray is not a member of the Inveraray band. The undoubted success of the piece was clearly down to the abilities of the performers. My experience in pipe bands was

not very positive in respect of the percussion but during Inveraray’s set I was aware of the drumming being more sympathetic to the piping than I have sometimes encountered. As we know the bagpipe does not have periods of silence in the flow of our music. Percussion adds drama but sometimes can be overdone to the detriment of a performance.There is a famous quotation along the lines that

Bucksburn in concert ‘The

notes I handle are no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes aah! – that is where the


resides!’ (Artur Schabel, 1882-1951). Steve McWhirter strikes a balance in this with his drum corps. Occasionally the pipe section commenced playing without drum rolls and when the drum corps came in was to good effect. During the interval I had a word

with Stuart Liddell. The band had a meteoric rise from the junior ranks to success in Grade 1 competitions and I asked him for his views on how this was achieved. He shared the credit with other members of the band and teachers such as Dougie Campbell. It seems to come down to good teaching. Stuart did have a spells with other Grade 1 bands and doubtless

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