- April 20, 2022
Piping Up - "The love to Compete"
Some compete, but many of us play for the sheer joy of it. Losing yourself in the music, the moment, the feeling of wonder.
That is why I’m not much of a competitor.
I tried competing back in the day and tried to keep it lighthearted and fun. But it just did not really feel like fun to me. Music became an effort, labored, joyless.
So, I dove into community bands, concert bands and began my journey piping for Highland Dancers. It was a revelation to me.
Music became fun again. My joy returned with bells on. More delight came with leading the South Shore Pipes and Drums (Founded by Scotia Music).
While the joy was back, my technique needed some work. Teaching is wonderful of course, but it is still necessary practice, practice, practice as they say at Carnegie Hall.
Put simply, the teacher needed a teacher. 🙂
We can all use someone to push us from time to time and that is when my angel appeared.
Captain Knox is a bagpiper of 40 years, and he excels in Piobaireachd. Pibroch, piobaireachd or ceòl mòr is an art music genre associated primarily with the Scottish Highlands that is characterized by extended compositions with a melodic theme and elaborate formal variations.
Not only has he helped with the South Shore Pipers, but he graciously offered to be my guru. With his gentle guidance and incredible expertise my confidence soared.
I cannot thank Captain Knox enough for all his has done for piping in general, and me.
The tunes he chose for my first competition back brought me to tears. They were difficult, meaty, and beautiful. I would never have chosen them for myself. He believed in me.
That simple belief worked wonders.
It’s amazing how one person can change your self view, your spirit, and your belief in your abilities.
That is the reason you could find me with my brother, Jeremy Keddy, competing in the George Harrison Memorial drumming competition this spring.
It is a grand way to get our competition mojo back and dip our toes in competing again. The joy remained with a focus on our improvement vs. trying to beat the other guy.
We both took to it like ducks to water. My layoff had affected my temp a bit. Other than that, everything was working like a well-oiled clock.
I felt alive again. This is what I’ve been born to do. Music is my calling.
The video we had chosen to submit was our first run through. A few blips, but it felt glorious. I’m trying to stand still, but I couldn’t as it has been so long since I’ve played competition music.
Check out the video on the right to see my stomping feet and dancing ways. I just could not help it.
We came in third place.
Jeremy and I will be competing together again this summer, and who knows, maybe I will throw in a solo competition or two where I will finally play the tunes chosen by Captain Knox with no pressure, just the love of music, my brother, and of course, my beloved pipes.
- April 12, 2022
King Street Beer Company rocks my world again
Having a venue for local artists to perform is an incredible gift. King Street Beer in Bridgewater is such a wonderful place. Their support of local artists combined with an atmosphere of musical joy is a blessing.
Every time I am there, I always come home with sore cheeks from laughing and smiling. Saturday was no exception.
The stars of the evening were The Nice Guys Music combo. These gentlemen rocked the 90s music classics including “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers and “Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States of America.
The rocking music combined with their hilarious banter just made the audience love them.
The music brought me back to my carefree days of youth and for that I am forever grateful. Patrick Thompson seems to be everywhere at once, playing like a whirlwind. The dancing fingers of James Ramey was a sight to behold.
Where else can you go for a musical, magic carpet ride to sheer fun and good times?
Finally, Patrick captivated me with his original pieces. They touched my soul, lightened my mood, and literally forced me to dance like Snoopy and Linus.
Go out and just enjoy being with friends again in our local, live music venues.
You will be so glad you did.
- March 28, 2022
Summer School - It's Happening Again!
Summer School is coming back! There are only 4 slots available from June 13 to July 25 so be sure to book early. Leessons will include bagpiping, intro guitar, intro voice, and music theory.
Times are first come, first serve, and are listed on our Calendar.
Cost will be $200 for the 7 weeks (not by lesson).
Location will be at Heather Armstrong’s house (information to come once signed up). If you can only do virtually due to distance, please let me know.
Send an email to email@example.com for more information as soon as you can.
Talk soon, and keep practicing!
- November 16, 2021
Musical Friends is Expanding to Bridgewater!
Music has the ability to change lives:
Musical Friends is a FREE music program for students from elementary and middle school in Chester and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. It is supported by other charities such as the Chester Municipal Heritage Society, Shoreham Village, United Way, the federal New Horizons for Seniors program, and the town of Bridgewater
- Music can help grow connectors in the brains of toddlers
- Give a troubled youth self-confidence
- Reawaken the ability to speak in someone with dementia.
Careful COVID protocols are followed.
Musical Friends operates on grants. It aims to remove all barriers to participation. It is free, the kids are fed, and all ages simply “follow the bouncing ball” onscreen to let the music pour out.
Transportation is available to get all the participants home if needed.
This is an outstanding program, inclusive, joyful, and an incredible benefit to the community.
There is absolutely ZERO cost and everybody can attend.
Come feel the joy. Contact today
- November 5, 2021
Pìoban Suas "Pipe Up and Go!"
So, this past weekend I played in a mini band for a wedding. Without going into all the nitty-gritty details my pipes had a complete multi system failure.
I was bummed, and sad. I had really looked forward to playing again with friends at such a beautiful venue.
Alas, it was not to be.
Which leads me to Billy.
My son Billy plays U18 hockey as a goaltender and he had a crappy time at his game the next evening. The game didn’t go so well, pretty big loss.
Billy is like me in a lot of ways, we both put everything into what we do. If it’s something we decide to accomplish we stop at nothing to get it done. However, with passion sometimes comes deep feelings of frustration when things don’t go well.
So, here we are at 8pm on Halloween night. I am still quiet and Billy is still upset. As we drive down our county road going home we see a few houses with Jack-o-lanterns still lit.
Billy who is almost 17 says “I wanna go Trick or Treating”.
A short pause, and I say “Alright, let’s go”! We pull over the truck and open up the hockey bag. He grabs his mask, glove and blocker and tosses me his stinky, wet jersey and a ball cap.
It was a solid 20 minute sprint to every house still illuminated. We filled a goalie glove and half a bag with loot. Presto, the curse was broken! My boy did that. Goes to show that whether it’s sports or music, it’s all about the way you look at it.
You choose how to process those good, and not so good moments in your life. Take a deep breath, move forward and keep your stick on the ice.
- October 29, 2021
"Pìoban Suas" (Pipes Up)! - Rising to the Occasion...
…an inspiration to us all.
That inspiration is doubled for me when it is done by one of my wonderful bagpiping students.
The challenge thrown down was daunting.
Play every single day for an entire year. That’s right. A difficult task indeed.
10 minutes a day, every day. If you miss, we add a day.
Would anyone take on the challenge?
Catherine Stark took it on, and incredibly, has played every day but one.
Catherine has been sending videos and photos of her journey, recording her life as she practices from her home in Princeton, Ontario. She still continued to play on her trips to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick. Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
The travelling piper is committed.
“Looking back at the year, I believe you have seen me in every state. There have been videos I’ve cried in, celebrated in, and said really bad words in,” Catherine told me.
The challenge started with the idea that we all needed hope and role models to look up to during some difficult time for musicians.
“It was a hard time, getting through this music business while the pandemic swept the nation.
Seeing her morning posts was such a rewarding and inspirational way to start the day. It made me remember that all will be well, and to keep on.”
Please join us as we cheer her on through blogs while she races through these last few months of this contest. Her ending date is January 23.