The Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band thought there was no greater honour than winning the World Championships. Then they were presented with the rare opportunity of playing alongside one of the most successful songwriters and musicians of this era.
The Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Sir Paul McCartney at the Air Canada Centre Sunday evening. McCartney flew into Toronto for a two-day concert series that wraps up this evening with a second performance.
"The band played perfect. Paul listened to us and said we sounded perfect. He just put me at ease (before the show)," said Pipe Major Gordon Black during a brief interview with The Paris Star on Monday morning.
"As soon as the curtain opened up, you could feel the energy coming through. It was unbelievable," he added.
A sold out crowd rendered a huge round of applause following the performance and Sir Paul himself phrased the band for a job well done. McCartney went on to play 36 other tunes during the three-hour show.
Black selected thirty-six members from the 122-member pipe band to perform McCartney's famous tune, Mull of Kintyre. McCartney and Wings band mate Denny Laine wrote the song in 1977 in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, where McCartney owned a home. McCartney and his band only play the song during concerts in the UK and Canada. In July 2009, McCartney played the song in concert in Halifax accompanied by the 78th Highlanders Pipe Band.
When McCartney's 2010 Canada Tour was announced, word quickly spread that he needed a pipe band to perform the traditional Mull of Kintyre song.
Dennis Toll, of the Dennis Toll Funeral Home in Brantford, knew individuals within McCartney's organization. He put in a good word on behalf of the Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band and within a month, the band was called and asked if they would perform with McCartney.
In order to keep the very confidential news under wraps, Black and Toll decided to wait a few months before notifying the band of the opportunity.
"The band didn't even know about the concert until about three weeks ago," said Black.
"We wanted to respect the integrity of Sir Paul's band. This is a special number for them and a special surprise for the audience," said Toll, who is a long time friend of Black's and an avid supporter of the band.
Once Black let the band in on the secret, he nearly had to pick the members up off the floor, he joked. To help keep the secret under wraps, the band held its first few practices at the Dennis Toll Funeral Home, rather than the Paris Fairgrounds, where the band calls home.
To prepare for the two-day concert, Black and the band watched numerous McCartney concerts and were in regular contact with McCartney's musical director, Wix Wickens.
"We're pretty well known and respected, but for us to get this performance is huge," said Black. "This is a great honour considering we are a small town band."
The Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and Black said this opportunity was an "excellent anniversary gift."
The Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band joins the former Beatles front man on stage again this evening for another sold out concert. You can catch Sunday night's Mull of Kintyre performance on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUtsOJ21ZME.Last Updated: 08/09/10 12:25 See Related MACCA-News Articles: