7 MAR, 2007

Jimmy and I started the month off by traveling to Baton Rouge to hold a piping workshop with the Caledonian Society of Baton Rouge Pipes and Drums.   We had a nice drive down on Friday, the second.  We had to pass through the town of Dumas in southern Arkansas, where a tornado wreaked a good bit of havoc a couple of weeks ago.  Parts of the town were completely smashed.

Once in LA, we headed for our hotel in St. Francisville, a charming town north of Baton Rouge.  We took a few minutes to visit the old graveyard of the Grace Episcopal Church before checking in at the Inn.  In the evening we met Nancy Love and Rosemary John for dinner at an eatery called Chelseas, and then proceeded over to the lovely LSU campus to meet up with the rest of the band for a couple of hours of assessment and planning for the all-day sessions on Saturday.  Pipe Major Stan Masinter put the band through its paces, giving us a pretty good idea what we needed to work on the next day.  We retired to the hotel and consumed a couple of beers made for us by His Beerness, Ed Via, of PIPERS-L fame.  Outstanding Stout, and Jimmy tried a Wheat Beer.

Saturday started off with breakfast at a CLASSIC diner near the campus called Louie's.  Highly entertaining chef and his assistant, and the place was a beehive of organized chaos and great food..  We then headed back over to LSU and spent all day working on clean strike-ins, steady blowing, unison playing, good transitions, and cut-offs.  Those are the absolute essentials of solid band playing at any level. The afternoon session was marred by a phone call informing our friend Sandro of the death of his brother in an accident in Italy.  Our condolences and best wishes go out to him and his entire family.  He is a great new addition to the BR band, and we hope to see him playing with those folks for a good long time.

Here are some pictures taken throughout the day.

We had a great dinner that night with PM Stan Masinter, Nancy Love, and bass drummer Kent Howard at a seafood and steak place called D'John's in St. Francisville. Gotta love them frog legs.

We went an additional two hours of band practice on Sunday morning, and progress from Saturday was evidents.  I'm sure Baton Rouge Pipe Band will have an excellent competition season.  We look forward to hearing them in a couple of weeks at the SwampCelts festival in Gonzales.

And the work is well underway for a great Arkansas Scottish Festival here in April.  Most of the band is gone for Spring Break right now, but they'll be back Monday and we will continue working on our new medley, and soloists will be preparing for several upcoming competitions.

For the band,

Ken

 

19 MAR 2007

It was all about the Irish over the weekend.  The band played the St. Patrick's Day parade in Little Rock on Saturday afternoon, and then went on to Hot Springs for The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The Little Rock parade had a different route this year.  Form up was in the parking lot of the Clinton Library.  The parade went west on President Clinton Blvd, past the River Market, over the river bridge and into N. Little Rock.  The crowd was good at River Market, non existent on the bridge, and small but appreciative in NLR.  The weather was beautiful and cool.  We did a short performance on the street at the end of the parade.  Two very cute girls were trying to get Gavin's attention on the walk back to the parking, but he'd have none of it.  Saw Chris, Cameron, and Lisa as we were walking back as well.

Hot Springs was hopping.  Big crowd for a small parade.  The crowd gets bigger every year.  The parade remains 90 ftt. from green line to green line.  Mario Lopez was the Grand Marshall this year.  He was Slater on Saved By The Bell, and was on the man version of The View along with Danny Bonaduce and some other guys.  Young girls screamed when he rolled up in a convertible.  Our part off the parade lasted all about 45 seconds maybe.  The crowd wanted MORE PIPES.  Next year we need to arrange to go someplace of the parade route and play a bit.



At the mosey, on the way to the starting line

 

 


 

Off to Gonzales LA next week for a little solo competition at SwampCelts.  Good party the night before, and breakfast at Louie's in Baton Rouge on the morning after.

Special shout out and props to Bellingham, WA and Van Nuys, CA.  Yes, we can see you.

For the band,

Ken



26 MAR 07

Pretty busy of late.  The band is back outdoors in the nice weather, practicing the medley.  Cody played three funerals last week.  Jimmy and I drove down to Gonzales LA for the SwampCelts festival.  Jim judged, and I represented the entire Grade II field of entries.  Turn out there was light this year, as it seems to be at a lot of contests of late, but a great time was had by all.  Man, they have excellent food in that part of the country.  Our good friend Doug MacRae was up from St. Thomas Episcopal School in Houston to fill the second judging slot this year.  Always a pleasure to visit with him.  Nancy Love, who plays tenor for the Lyon band, made her piping debut with Baton Rouge, and also won the Grade IV Piobaireachd, and had second in the 2/4.  Outstanding showing.


There's Jimmy

 


Nancy and her Dunbar band pipe

     


Dapper Doug MacRae

 


Baton Rouge playing under the Oaks

     


The esteemed judging panel

 


Nancy and Sandro

We had a dandy time, and thanks to Marshall and Candy Pounds, and all the folks from the Celtic Society of Baton Rouge for another good time. 

One more competition this month.  The Oklahoma Solo Piping Debate is coming up on the 31st in OKC.

For the band,

Ken