Jan 30, 2013

January OPS Meeting Recap

Gordon Conn of SFU Pipe Band was the featured performer at our January meeting, and as we have come to expect from SFU pipers, his piping was fantastic!  He played numerous jigs and marches, a couple Breton pieces that were lively and inventive (one had a phrase that changed each time he played it through), a Galician tune, a slow aire, and the bagpipe version of the very famous song, Thunderstruck.  Mind blowing that was!
Libby Patterson, a Portland Highland Dancer, was our Local Hero this month and she performed a few solo dances that were lovely.  One dance in particular that stood out for me was her solo “choreography” dance which is a kind of performance where Highland Dance competitors are permitted to combine steps from several different National and Highland dances into a personal sequence having meaning to the dancer. It was beautiful, skillful, and amazing to watch!

Portland Highland Dancers were our guest "group" for the evening, and the dancers performed sometimes individually, and sometimes in duos or as a group.  All the dancers were really amazing, and they performed a number of Highland and National dances, many of which were visually strong and stunning.  Stand outs for me were the Ghillie Chalum (Sword Dance), the Seann Triubhas (Shedding of the Trousers), and the Sailor’s Hornpipe.  I liked them all, of course, but perhaps because I'd never seen it before, or perhaps it was because the dancer was particularly commanding, but it was the Sailor's Hornpipe dance for me - a powerful, rousing, stomping feat of grace, skill, and endurance!
View the evening’s photos on our Picasa album, and watch the piping & dancing performances on our OPSINPDXVIDEOS YouTube channel! You won't want to miss these!

Jan 17, 2013

OPS Meeting this Saturday

Join us for Saturday eveving's performance where we will have world-class piper, Simon Fraser University member, and 3-time Alberta Professional Champion Gordon Conn as our featured performer and piping judge.

Our guest performance group tonight will be Portland Highland Dancers, who will present a troupe of premier and pre-premier dancers entertaining us with a variety of Scottish Highland dances.

Our Local Hero this evening is the 2012 North American Open Champion Scottish Highland dancer, Libby Patterson. Libby is an experienced, successful dancer looking to compete at the Cowal World Championship in Scotland this summer.

We're looking forward to an evening of great entertainment, so come on down and enjoy it with us!

Jan 10, 2013

December 15th Meeting Recap

Our December 15th meeting was a lot of fun!

The Portland Police Highland Guard pipe band was our guest band for the evening, and they treated us to a rather unusual band performance.  Their concert style was both informal and personal - several numbers  featured the piping of an individual or small ensemble, and they also played several  original tunes written by band member Brian Kelly.  It was a refreshing approach for a pipe band, the caliber of the piping was amazing, and the audience clearly enjoyed the very unusual concert! 

Brad Walker, the PM for Kells Irish Pipes and Drums pipe band was the Local Hero for December. Despite years of piping at the Kells Portland pub, playing solo at our piping club was a new experience for him.  He did a great job and presented several numbers from the band's repertoire.  One of my favorites of Brad's pieces was a combination slow aire and piobaireachd - a different approach that created a lovely tune.

Professional piper Will Nichols of the Simon Frasier University Pipe Band was our guest performer, and while he played a variety of traditional tunes, he also featured Breton-style pipe music prominently in his performance.  It was lively and really entertaining! Will described Breton tunes overall as music that really made you want to dance, and by the number of toes I saw tapping all around the hall, meeting attendees very much appreciated the departure from time-honored Scottish style piping. 

If, like me, you'd like to see Will's, Brad's, and PPHG's performances again, or if you didn't get a chance to be there for December's recital, head over to our YouTube video channel OPSINPDX VIDEOS to watch the evening's entertainment.

Photographs taken throughout the evening during the competition and performance can be viewed on our OPS Picasa photo album.