Now that’s a drum! SFU preps for NYC Lincoln Centre concert.

New SFU bass drum. (photos courtesy SFU Media Relations)

A new bass drum,  a new set of Northern Ireland manufactured Andante snare and tenor drums and a new music piece written by Robert Mathieson will be some of the highlights of a 30th anniversary concert May 4 at the home venue of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra by the six-time World Pipe Band Champions Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

The band returns to NYC for the second time since their 1998 concert at Carnegie Hall to play at the 2,738-seat Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The band recently played an anniversary concert at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre on April 15. The New York concert will become the band’s 11th recording.

It is believed the band will play Mark Saul’s suite “The Beaches of Harris” and a version of Gordon Duncan’s “The Sleeping Tune”. Band members are also expected to drop their instruments and lift their voices in a rendition of “His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie”, repeating a Glasgow Royal Concert Hall performance from 2009 when the group sang the Donald MacLeod piobaireachd “The Field of Gold”

The flashy bass drum sports a picture of the Statue of Liberty and the words “Live in New York”.  The blue matches the tone of the band’s recently redesigned tartan. The new drum set arrived in NYC in boxes and the drum corps has spent the past few days setting up and tuning, while the pipers have been giving their instruments a blow to acclimatize to the new environment.

The band’s  first rehearsal was today (May 3) with a final rehearsal and sound check Friday morning before the May 4 evening concert.

Pipers and dancers pepping for Concert.

SFU president Andrew Petter, who is in New York on business, will open the concert.

Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee says pipers are spending the day getting their pipes in top shape. “It takes a day or two for instruments to become acclimatized to new conditions and it’s important that we take a day to set up and give them a blow in New York weather,” says Lee.

Band members will assemble for their first and only group practice later today before heading to the center for sound checks and a final rehearsal on Friday morning.

Pipe Sgt. Jack Lee fine tunes Derek Milloy, as Robert Mathieson looks on.

Band members will conduct a series of piping and drumming workshops over the weekend to more than 200 musicians who have signed up for instruction from the top level band members.

“Whenever we perform out of town we like to reach out and provide instruction, engaging with those young and old who share our enthusiasm for the music,” say Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee. “Here in New York, home to the largest number of pipers and drummers in the world, it makes sense to reach out.

Their performance Friday evening will open with remarks from President Andrew Petter, who is in New York following his recent trip to Brazil with a contingent of Canadian university presidents.


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