Hey there. Happy New Year.
It's funny. Jimmy and I both wrote up what's going on. I'll post his first, and then add mine below.
The past month or so has involved lots of travel, adventure, and lack of sleep. All the students left the week before Christmas, and are returning over the next few days. I myself went home to Florida over the break, and was able to sell my home there. A big relief. I'll head back at the end of the month to close, and drive the family back. Hopefully, I won't be doing that drive again, any time soon.
Ken Adler and myself attended the Southwest branch meeting of the EUSPBA in Dallas last weekend. A nice group of dedicated people will ensure that organizations' success. The usual discussion of things great and small made the trip a pleasant one. Ken has a well rounded understanding of most things. He's no Tristen Dean, but few are.
We here at the College are missing the students. Although we are always busy with this or that, it's just a bit too quiet. This summer will be much the same, I'm sure, but we should have the Summer School up and running by the next. Piping, piping, drumming, dancing, piping..........a great life.
We got the first 4 sets of the new MacLellan's in, and had them going at last Thursday's practice for the locals. Excellent bagpipes. We had Selbies in them, with an outstanding 20 year old Dunbar Eller. MegRoss reed in that, with NO TAPE. A great chanter, if perhaps a bit flattish to today's standards.
Work on the 25th Arkansas Scottish Festival is the main focus for us all at this time. We are expecting 20 bands this year, and a large number of soloists. Competitions will be over 2 days, with everyone getting on the road by early afternoon Sunday. We have been selected as the branch championship for this year, so prize monies will be excellent, along with an added bonus for the SW branch Champions.
We have contracted to do several parades at the end of February during the Mardi Gras. This should be a fun trip for all that attend.
The NYC trip for April looks very good, and should be a sellout as we anticipated. Getting the Lyon name out is always foremost in our minds.
We are looking at 3 bands for next Fall, grades 3, 4, and 5. The streaming videos are coming along well, with good response from those that see them. We will flush those out over the next few months as time constraints would not allow further filming before the students went home for the holidays. Ran out of tape as well *) Oh well, I'm just a piper after all.
We will sponsor a golf tournament on the Friday before the ASF, so if you're in the area, feel free to join in. We'd love to have you with us. Stay the whole weekend, you'll enjoy yourselves.
That's it for now. More as events unfold.
Things have been a little quiet for the last few weeks because of the holidays. Most of the band went back to their respective homes around the country. Jimmy took a short drive back to Tampa, and I flew up to Madison WI to visit some friends (and boy were my arms tired). It was a nice Christmas and New Year's though. We did hold a few down-sized band practices with Danny, John, Sergei, Patrick, and a new drummer named Travis who has been coming over with Danny and John. We worked on both Grade IV and Grade V band material, and just sort of kept the pipes going while Jimmy was awa'.
Jim got back on the 7th, and after his 17 hour drive he and I popped over to Colton's Steakhouse for a bit of dinner and conversation. It's always fun to dine with a man lost in the depths of an adrenalin buzz. Poor Jimmy was just about wiped out, and I think the caffeine was about all that was keeping him upright. The natural thing to do was get right back in the car on the 9th and drive to Dallas. So we did. We went down for the organizational meeting of the Southwest Branch of the EUSPBA. It was a very productive meeting attended by representatives of N. Texas Caledonians from Dallas, Arbroath Pipe Band from OKC, Black Bexar from San Antonio, Oklahoma Scottish, Ozark Highlanders, and ourselves. We voted in officers, discussed fundraising, and decided to make Arkansas Scottish Festival our Branch Championship games for 2004. This will mean that the festival here will be bigger and better than ever this year, with two days of competitions, and lots more bands in attendance. That means Jimmy is hard at work planning events and doing the logistical groundwork.
We hit the ground running with the kids returning to band practice tomorrow night, and the band leaving on Friday for a weekend workshop and concert in Oklahoma City to benefit United Scottish Clans of Oklahoma. The concert is being organized by Stew Joslin of Oklahoma Scottish in an attempt to help USCO raise funds to get the local Highland games revitalized.
Meanwhile, we have the streaming video lessons up and running now, and we encourage you to visit and let us know what you think.
For the band,
We got a late start to our trip on Friday afternoon, and suffered through an onslaught of rain for the better part of the trip. We arrived at the Courtesy Inn in OKC around 1am Saturday. That morning Jimmy, Ken, and Danny went to the workshop portion of the weekend, while us student types stayed back to sleep in and grab a nice meal.
After the workshop crew returned we spent the afternoon watching "Reservoir Dogs", getting haircuts (well, just me) and mentally revisiting some of the music with practice chanters. At 4pm we all went to Olive Garden, next door to the inn, and had a nice big supper. Everybody was dressed in band uniform except Jimmy, who slept the afternoon away after a somewhat taxing drive on Friday. They took a long time to serve us but the meals were worthwhile. After the meal, we all got ready, loaded up the vehicles and left for the church. This was an interesting venue - a dual congregation of different denominations under one roof. The Lyon College Concert Choir (which I sing in) put on a show at this very church last spring, as the first stop on its tour to the Grand Canyon.
The band warmed up in the sanctuary as audience members slowly filtered in, and by the end we had achieved a good unison sound. After a short delay, the show began with an announcement, and our drum major, Lyon College Security Chief Wally Hightower, acted as emcee. We marched in through both aisles with our 6/8 set (Leaving Port Askaig, Cock of the North) and then cleared the front for Margaret to dance the fling, accompanied by Lance. He and I did tag team solos next, then I played for Margaret while she danced the Seann Triubhas. Jimmy came on and played "I Got a Kiss of the King's Hand", a pibroch preceeded by a short history lesson from Wally and Jimmy. The band then played its medley, and concluded with a 4/4 set to exit. After our show we listened to performances by two other bands, then returned to the hotelfor one last night in OKC. We left early the next morning and made good time, completing the trip in only seven hours or so. All in all, it was a successful, well-executed weekend.
For the Lyon SHP,
Photos from the OKC concert courtesy of DM Wally Hightower
This past weekend was a rather wet weekend. After having rained Friday night, the rain let up for most of the day on Saturday, but started back up Saturday afternoon as the Pipe Band gathered to head to the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville for the annual International Night. Several of the Band chose to have dinner that night, which was a collection of international foods. Tristen commented that the German potatoes were good, but failed to compare them to the ones from Idaho, which he should be an expert on by now.
We began the evening’s festivities with a fine selection of tunes, including Cock of the North, Amazing Grace, and the staple of the bagpipe, Scotland the Brave. Everyone at the event was very appreciative and enjoyed our performance.
Sunday morning was also rather wet. We quickly gathered our things and loaded into the van for the short hop, skip, and jump in the ran to Jonesboro. When we arrived, the minister of the First Presbyterian Church, who greeted us, pointed out that the rain was much like a typical Scottish morning. The service went well. Kenton performed a nice rendition of Going Home and Suo Gan on the small pipes, as usual. After the service, we were treated to a nice lunch by the ladies of the Church, and drove back to Batesville in clearer skies.
Photos courtesy of Claudia Marsh
For the Pipe Band,
Photos from a January practice courtesy of Mr. Hightower