Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Lonnnggg Weekend

The first outdoor contests of the season came and went this past weekend. James P. made the trip up island to Comox and managed to come home with 2 firsts in the Pro MSR and Jig & Hornpipe, a second in the Piobaireachd and a flat tire. Breakdown of all results can be found at:
James P. and I competed on Sunday at Victoria. We both came away with 2nds - JP in Pro Piping MSR and myself in Pro Drumming MSR. Full results not available online as of yet.
It was a busy day with JP judging the band events as well as Ryan piping for the dancers on the other side of the field. Great weather, great attendance, awesome venue and some nice tunes heard throughout the day.
We all ended the long weekend with a long march in the Victoria Day Parade with the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band, lead by James W. We headed up the Police contingent of the parade - there's nothing like sirens in your ear for a solid 2 hours!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The season begins...

In preparation for the Victoria Highland Games as well as the Victoria Day Parade, the local pipe bands marched down the street last Saturday advertising the upcoming events. Ending at the Parliament Buildings, bands played, cabers were tossed and dancers flinged. Along with the newspaper coverage (James W. on the far right leading the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band), Gordie Tupper from Chek News came over on Wednesday to interview James W. and James P.....again, ending with Gordie trying to play pipes.

While James W. was parading, James P. was in Hamilton, Ontario competing at the 29th William Livingstone Memorial Invitational. He placed 3rd in the MSR and HJ, playing John MacColl's March to Kilbowie Cottage, Susan MacLeod, The Smith of Chillichassie, The Henningham Reunion and Caber Feidh. Simon McKerrell of Glasgow won the overall. The judges were Reay MacKay, Robert Wallace and Bob Worrall.
Check out the rest of the results at:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How it all began...

With the recent passing of JK McAllister( and Tom Jr. in 2001, I can't help but reflect on how the whole JWT thing happened....
My association with the McAllisters goes back to the early 1970's when they first started J&W&T McAllister reeds. I was looking for a good, consistant supply of reeds for the City of Victoria Pipe Band and on P/M Ken Eller's suggestion, I contacted JK about being on the "list". I wound up as #3 behind P/M Ian McLellan and Ken.
In 1997, JP was playing in Peel and Jacquie was playing with Abbotsford at the Worlds. Louise and I decided to go over to support the family. On the Wednesday, SFU was playing the 'before the Worlds' concert (still in Motherwell at the time), so I went through on the Peel bus to take in the concert. While there, I talked with JK and Tom about the possibility of buying J&W&T. JK said 'Give us X amount of pounds and you can take everything when you go home". On the Monday after the Worlds, JP and I went through to Shotts and were grilled by all 3 brothers for some time. In the end an agreement had been reached. Bill was the one that cinched the deal. We then came home and I arranged the financing and went back to Shotts in January 1998. JP and I spent the month learning all the secrets of the trade. We then packed all the equipment and sent it all to Victoria.
Spending time with the McAllisters in their downtown shop in Shotts was extremely invaluable. Not only learning how and why the McAllister reeds are the way they are but being able to spend time with three legendary people. So much history there. Tom Jr. would give you the shirt off his back. JK, with an abrupt first impression, revealed a passion for piping, its traditions and for life in general. Bill, also caring and passionate, is still in Shotts and is as vibrant sounding as ever. All three, with their father Tom Sr., played an equal part in the business, developing and producing a fine product consistently. I am honoured to have been able to carry this tradition of quality reedmaking on with my son. As Bill said, "It was fate" - with my initials being JWT and the McAllisters all starting with J, W and T....
It's been 11 years and counting!
-James W.

Piobaireachd Club

Due to his success at the BC Indoor, James P. was invited to play the Piobaireachd Club (supported by the BC Piper's Association) in Vancouver on April 25. This Club was founded in 1990 and founding members of the club were Peter Aumonier, Duncan Fraser, Jack Lee (he's in Wikipedia!), Ron MacLeod and Ron Sutherland. The purpose of this Club is "that players would be encouraged to relax and put a little of themselves into the music without, of course, offending teaching and traditions".
Jamie played 'Hector MacLean's Warning', his prize winning piobaireachd. Go to the following link for a bit of insight into the name behind the tune as well the synopsis of the entire evening:
And click on the History to learn more about the Club's mission.