Monday, August 22, 2005


Catching up

Ah, it's nice to have a break. No competitions, few lessons, only a couple performances with the pipe band. Of course, this disincentivies me to practice, so I gotta stop being totally slack.

Things went poorly for me at the Virginia Scottish Games in the pipe contests a few weeks back. I didn't place in the piobaireachd, and barely placed in the 2/4. I think the problem was condensation: a droplet of water had dribbled into my middle tenor drone reed, and it was rising and falling, making my middle tenor constantly go into and out of tune. The fiddle contest went better; I took 2nd and best strathspey despite a crash in the march, I played my Eb set very well. Depending on an interpretation of the rules, I may have qualified for Nationals again as well, as the victor was a former junior National champion. I was cut from the sanctioned pipe band contest because my chanter reed was misbehaving, but I did participate in the slow-quick.

Saturday's events over, I scurried off to play a wedding in full dress. I looked fantastic, but for some reason, the tail of my plaid was pulled up way too high, so I won't be using the pictures taken of me on the site. I was very well-received, and stuck around when my offer to fiddle for the couple was accepted (though the wedding reception was too hectic for me to ever get around to it.

That Sunday, I put on my period gear, and headed back to the games. The fiddle club concert and my duo concert with Julie Gorka went very well, and I spent the rest of the day with the reenacting group.

Still, even with my poor showing at the VSG, I'm still at #3 in Grade IV Sr. in the EUSPBA, and I've got 5 more contests to go this year, and 4 more fiddle contests.

Since then, I played a very fun duo with Chris Lindsay at the Royal Mile (we were the only ones to show up for the session, and let it drag late into the evening), and did a couple of gigs with the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums in distractingly sweltering August heat.

So it's time to get back into the routine, since I'll be at Anders' place in a week and a half working on the band's sets, and recording songs with Anders and Kim. On pipes the reels and jigs are coming along fairly well, soon I should have a decent repertoire for fun events. Once I get a bit more fine control, I'll return to looking at strathspeys.

The band's PA arrived: I got a Behringer system with 20-channel powered mixer, and a pair each of 15" cabs and monitors. I pretty much just need a microphone case, some spare cables, and more mic stands, and we're good to go.

I think we've got two more songs we're going to try: "Start it All Over Again" is going to be a Kim solo, and "The Rattling Bog" will be our end-of-night party song for the whole band.

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