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Inspired by genius

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“You go too fast, you go too fast!” exclaimed F. Murray Abraham in his character of Antonio Salieri, while taking musical dictation from Mozart.  It’s a powerful scene from the movie Amadeus for a couple of reasons; first Mozart (as played by Tom Hulce) is on his death bed but still has the clarity of creative vision to articulate a masterpiece, and second; Salieri, an accomplished musician in his own right, has difficulty keeping up to transcribe and follow the genius in action.

Fiction or not, it’s really got me thinking on this September morning about our upcoming programs and having the opportunity to spend time with some of the real giants of our piping, drumming and fiddling world.  The simple fact is the joy of piping classes, sessions and Ceilidhs is inspirational, infectious and contagious all at the same time.  You see it in the smiles of students going from one class to the next, with a real bounce in their step—taking it all in and wanting as much as they can get!

I was once asked back in my days of holding elected office if I “loved being the Mayor?”  My response was, “no, I like being Mayor Ok, but I really love playing pipes.”  Nowadays I tell folks that “we do an awful lot of work for the chance to play a few tunes!”  But just like with so many of the rest of our students, the music is infectious and the chance to brush shoulders and perhaps have a few tunes with the likes of our instructors inspires and motivates me to do all the more.

In truth, piping has given me an abundance of “once in a lifetime” experiences—to list a couple:

  • A month of Piobaireachd lessons with Donald MacLeod in Scotland in 1980
  • 1985 Grade I World Pipe Band Championships – 2nd place with SFU
  • 2007 WinterSchool (my first, where I was just a student and didn’t have to organize anything!)
  • Each and every WinterSchool and workshop since (and the Ceilidhs and sessions that came with them!).

To be sure, playing pipes with the likes of Fred Morrison, Bruce Gandy, Stuart Liddell and the rest, there has been more than one time when I’ve shouted out “You go too fast, you go too fast!”  Although I’m pretty sure that won’t end up being this year’s t-shirt slogan, I sure look forward to trying to keep up once again when given the opportunity!

The Celtic Arts Foundation is growing, changing and evolving all the time and we’re extremely proud of the quality programming we present.  My sincere hope is that pipers, drummers and fiddlers across North America (and beyond!) will be able to participate in a workshop or WinterSchool and be inspired by the music and experience of it all.  If we do our job well, folks will come to a Celtic Arts program and completely forget about the world around them and become totally immersed in the sweet music of our heritage.

Registrations are open for WinterSchool—details can be found on this page of our website.

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