Joe Moore is the next member of CLASP to be profiled. For more information and to join this great facility for amateur pipers go to the CLASP website.
• Where are you from and how did you get into piping?
I’m from Paddington in London originally but currently living in Wilmcote in Warwickshire where Shakespeare’s mother grew up. I started piping at aged 14 as I had moved to a school in Harrow that had an army cadet pipe band. My first teacher was Pipe Major Bob Hill.
• How has the pandemic affected your piping personally?
I am doing a lot more playing and had a great time at a recent online CLASP workshop getting lessons from some awesome players. I am also having zoom band practice with the Standard Triumph Pipe Band. Chris Apps, the reedmaker is an old college friend and he teaches me online. I am so lucky that all these resources and fantastic teachers from around the world are online but I do miss coming up to Scotland and meeting all my fellow players and the National Piping Centre teachers at the CLASP contests – and especially the after contest get togethers.
• Is there anything you can’t leave home without?
It used to be tobacco but not any more.
• What’s your favourite international food?
Spaghetti bolognese. I could live on it and nothing else!
• What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Mashed termites. We lived in Botswana for a few years and they are a delicacy.
• When you travel is there something you particularly miss when away?
The housework … not!
• Do you have a set practice routine you could share with readers?
I play most days for at least half an hour, athough I’m not very disciplined about doing exercises.
• What’s your most memorable performance you’ve taken part in, either band or solo.
Playing with the Livingston and Pumpherston Pipe Band in 1982 and winning the Worlds and four majors in succession. Plus, winning the Piobaireachd Gold Medal in the CLASP Grade 3 competition at the Army School of Piping in June 2019.
• What’s your most memorable performance you’ve heard – band or soloist?
Strathclyde Police Pipe Band at the Worlds. It was in the 1980s. What a sound. The first soloist I remember was Angus MacKay, a 15 year old, playing a selection of tunes as part of a concert at St Marylebone Grammar School in London in 1963.
• Who has been the biggest influence on your piping?
Neil MacLure introduced me to the Piping Society of York, got me onto piping courses at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig with Evan Macrae, Davy Garrett and Andy Venters, helped me form a pipe band in York and got me playing in the CLASP, so he gets the blame.
• How do you relax and do you have other interests or hobbies?
Not currently allowed but I enjoy sculling on the Avon most days and I coach rowing with our adaptive squad which has just won Parasport Club of the Year. Also cycling and walking and playing the fiddle.
• Have you taken part in any show, concerts or recitals this year?
Nothing this year athough I did a show with comedians Cannon and Ball, and Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra along with four pipe bands.
• What’s your favourite destination, either for a holiday or on a piping trip?
I love Glasgow as it is the Mecca of piping but anywhere in the world is great.
• Do you have a go at the local language when abroad?
When we were living in Botswana I learnt Setswana and the local people really appreciated it.
• Was piping something you wanted to do from an early age?
My mother said she held me up to hear the Scots Guards band march past when I was a tiny baby at King George’s funeral procession so that could be what did it.
• Which pipers did you aspire to, if any?
I thought being a piper in the army would be great, thinking I could just play pipes all day. Apparently they have to do other things, too …
• Do you recall the very first competition you competed in?
Cleckheaton Highland Games in Yorkshire with the fledgling City of York Pipe Band that I co-founded with Neill MacLure, another CLASP competitor. We played in torrential rain and no capes but got fifth in Grade 4 so happy with that.
• Favourite piobaireachd?
Probably the Desperate Battle of the Birds as played by John D. Burgess on his King of the Highland Pipers recording. It was the first I had heard. I was later taught the tune by Evan MacRae at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.
• Any humorous piping anecdote you can relate to the readers (keep it clean!)?
When I was a student in York I did a lot of busking and a policeman came up to me accompanied by a woman one day and he explained that on this particular street there was a by-law prohibiting the playing of music and so I would have to move. “I don’t want you to move him,” the woman cried to the policeman, “I want him arrested and put in prison!”
• Thank you, Joe!