Jacob Dicker began piping at the age of five, with initial instruction from Tom Rankin of Sarnia and Bill McLeod of Kincardine. He was first taught by Willie in a group seminar for piobaireachd at the London School of Piping, whereafter he began recieving full time instruction in 2001. Under Willie's guidance, Jacob was introduced to piobaireachd and had his light music refined, which has allowed him to compete with great success both at home and abroad. To date, some of his notable competitive accomplishments include first and second place finishes at the Gold Medal of Canada for light music and piobaireachd respectively, runner-up standing at the 2005 William Livingstone Sr. Memorial Invitational, and most recently—winner of the MacCrimmon Trophy for piobaireachd at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, France.
Lament For Captain MacDougall
One would be hard pressed to find a piobaireachd with a more melodic phrase structure than the Lament for Captain MacDougall. Behind the Bells of Perth, this is certainly my favourite tune. Willie's style calls for a somewhat “agressive” approach towards phrasing, and I have received comments in the past that I play the tune more in the style of a salute rather than a lament. I cannot say that I agree with this, but I can agree that the phrasing is markedly different, to such an extent that two notes in the third line of the ground are omitted entirely (this is in fact a widespread practice for this tune). I was told once that “Willie finds a way to bring the music out in any combination of notes”, I believe no truer a statement can be applied to this tune.
The Bells of Perth
I was told by Willie during my earliest days as his student that the The Bells of Perth was a signature tune for both himself and his own teacher—Robert Reid. I was keen to learn it, and upon reaching the appropriate level of competence in piobaireachd, I sat down with Willie to learn it. I have found great competitive success with this tune, and I owe it to Willie's interpretation. He often said that the folklore and stories behind various piobaireachds was for the most part rubbish but in this particular tune—you can truly hear the bells.
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