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Re: Amazing Grace
Good work John on the Amazing Grace story. Bill Moyers did a one hour
special on that one song.
As a piper, I often am asked to play Amazing Grace and I never tire of the
wonderful response I get from playing it. Some pipers get snooty about it
as it is not a challenging tune and has been played a lot over the years but
if the point of making music is indeed a two way street, the listener is as
important as the player.
Once I was asked to play at the funeral of elder of the Ojibway nation here
in Toronto. I was honoured, to say the least but the elder had said he
wanted a piper so that's what was ordered. There was a communal drum also
at the service and all 6 players were members of his reservation. They
appeared, in ball hats and sweat pants and runners, not very trad. at all
esp. as I was in full gear. One of them said as he stood beside me looking
at the far wall, "Hey man, ...you play Amazing Grace" At first I didn't
even know he was speaking to me but when I did, I said " Yep. Sure do". His
response was "Yeah? Well so do we" Long pause. "We'll play first, then
The service was very moving, our music was to be last, The drummers got
that electrifying aboriginal thing going with the very high almost ululating
singing and it was a truly amazing Amazing Grace. I got my cue and struck
up and kept my eyes down and a good thing too. When I finished my 3rd
go-round, I stopped and looked up and everyone in the room was a mess ....
boo-hooin' all over the place. I am not sure I want that kind of control
over a room.... another reason, however, never to tire of playing what you
are asked because sometimes small doors lead into big rooms.
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