Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Argyllshire Gathering

The results are out and were published as they were announced on the trusty piping and drumming online news publication,
Nice representation of the Canadians in the prize list with big congrats going out to Alastair Dunn for winning the Gold Medal, Angus MacColl for taking the Senior Piobaireachd and Cameron Drummond for the Silver Medal. 
Day Two in Oban brought some different prize winners with Glenn Brown, Niall Stewart and Simon McKerrell taking the A Grade categories. Congrats to Alastair Lee and Willie McIntyre for taking the B Grade top prizes with a special mention going out to James P. Troy for securing a fourth in the Strathspey and Reel! 
No rest for the wicked as Cowal is this weekend....roll on Dunoon! 

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Worlds!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week, you now know that the 2009 World Pipe Band Championships have come and gone. Congrats go out to the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band for another Championship win, as well securing the coveted drumming Sash for the second year in a row.
Although none of the Troys were over for the contest this year, we did have one family member in amongst the winners! Dani Millar (formerly Brin), married to Duncan (a fab drummer with SFU's corps), is a cousin of ours. Dani, one of the few female pipers in the band, has been involved in every one of SFU's six World Championship wins! At the top of the game to say the least.
Photo courtesy of Ryan MacDonald Photography, of course.

Check out the breakdown for the Worlds results.
Kudos go out to the BBC for airing live streaming video of the Grade 1 events! James W. and I were up bright and early at 1am in time to see the entire Grade 1 Qualifier. There were very few technical interruptions and Bob Worrall did a fantastic job as the commentator, inserting diplomatic comments where necessary.
As we are usually on the field playing, this was the first time in ages that I was able to see the entire Qualifying contest to be able to make a reasonable assessment of the results. With a cup of tea in hand and keeping warm and dry, it was almost better than being there! JW and I pretty much agreed with the outcome from the morning Qualifier with a small discrepancy. Tough contest.
Congratulations go out to Triumph Street for qualifying! Again, with that band in our backyard we have the pleasure of hearing them on a regular basis and as they were playing quite quite well, we were not surprised at all that they got through. Also, another congrats goes out to the New Westminster Police - another band from B.C. with a fantastic showing at the Worlds with a 6th place.
Now that the excitement of the Worlds is over....we are on to some of the major solo events around Scotland. James P. left on Sunday for the Argyllshire Gathering and will be competing in the Silver Medal this week and Cowal on the 29th.
The lineup for the Silver and Gold Medal contests can be found at We wish James P. all the best over there! Stay tuned for those results.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

La Bertholdia

The North American Pipe Band Championships were held in Maxville, Ontario at the beginning of the month. James W. had the pleasure of judging the two day event. The Amateur events were on the Friday with the rest of the solos and the band contest on Saturday. The Montreal Highland Games were held on the Sunday despite horrendous weather! Thanks to the PPBSO for organizing both events and for hosting James W. and Louise for the weekend.
These types of judging gigs facilitate the opportunity to travel in and around the area where the Games are held. Montreal and Quebec City were visited during the following week; taking in the sights, dining in the fine restaurants and seeing some interesting things along the way...such as La Bertholdia Fife and Drum Corps all the way from Fribourg, Switzerland! The recognizable wide collars and mega plumes out of their hats could only mean one thing: awesome Basel drums!

The Bertholdia Association of Fifes and Drums, founded in 1986, gets its name from Duke Berthold IV of Zaehringen. History determines that Zaehringen took in his group of musicians and had them play at leisure time as well as parties and religious gatherings. The musicians were also paid by the authorities who outfitted them in black fabric uniforms to give them an official, yet solemn appearance. Fife and drums corps were, and continue to be, an essential feature to public festivals.
This group continues to develop and promote the art of fife and drum all over the world.

It is said that the Swiss were responsible for the advent of rudimentary drumming. Around 1386, the Swiss used fifes and drums to signal troops in battle. This type of signalling was used by the Swiss continually and since they were deployed throughout Western Europe as mercenaries, it was quickly adopted by the locals, spreading throughout Europe.
In the mid 1920s, Dr. Fritz Berger, a Swiss drumming legend, was responsible for devising a new notation system and thus, revolutionized how drumming was communicated. With great influence on the likes of Jimmy Catherwood and Alex Duthart as well, he had a major impact on pipe band snare drumming as we know it today.
(Read a detailed explanation on how Swiss drumming influenced us pipe banders on

Neutral or not, let us take a moment and thank the Swiss for all they have given us...
And just in case, the secret hasn't been let out of the bag for you yet, watch this.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Blast From The Past

The Celebration of Life for Mrs. Duncan that was held on Friday saw an outstanding turnout of family, friends, ex-students, their parents and anyone who truly loved her. Her family did a wonderful job of hosting the afternoon with dancing, piping and paying tribute to a true Highland Dancing legend.
Dad was sent this picture below from Heather (Mrs. D's daughter) via Terry Lee. In the middle is Ian Duncan (Adeline's husband). To the left is James W. and to the right of Ian is our late Uncle Pat, Dad's brother.

Seeing this picture sparked me to rifle through some of the old pictures we have around the house. Below is when Dad was a bit younger with Ian tuning his pipes! Ian played a major role in Dad's piping career - read JW's full bio to learn more.

This newspaper clipping is with a much older James W., playing alongside Ian with Premier and Mrs. Bennett behind them.

Not only did the Duncans have an influence on the Troy's musical career, dancing was involved too! Third from the left is our Uncle Pat. Right beside him is Angus McKenzie who went on to be a World Championship and a very close friend to Mrs. Duncan. Dad is not pictured in this one but certainly went through the rigours of dance class with Mrs. D as well.

Probably close to the time of the newspaper clipping above of James W. and Ian, this was published in the local Victoria paper. Funny how they celebrated the locals back then (even published the address!). James W. won the Junior Under 16 Championship at Portland while Heather Duncan is listed for bringing home some dancing prizes.

Mrs. D's influence extended right to our aunts and uncles as well. From the left: Gerri, Margaret and Dave - all superb dancers who took home plenty of hardware in their dancing days.

The Duncans held a lot of influence in so many ways. It was amazing to see it all gathered in the same room this past Friday. Heather continues that influence in her dancing students, producing world class dancers time after time.
Cheers to such a wonderful family!