March 31, 2006
March was just about as quiet as it can get for the band. We continued to rehearse in preparation for a trip to Scotland for a run at the World's in August, and I suppose that's noisy. Spring Break was the second week of the month, and quite a few folks went out of town. We marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Little Rock on Saturday the 18th, and then held an all day World's practice on Sunday.
On the weekend of the 25th several of us made a sojourn over to Oklahoma City for the second annual Oklahoma Solo Piping Debate. Again, an excellent contest organized by our friend Stew Joslin of the Oklahoma Scottish Pipes and Drums. He had over twenty competitors this year in Grades V-I, and had some great sponsorships and prizes including a Warnock pipe chanter from David Chesney, a new custom-made kilt from Sandy St. James, a gift certificate from Tone Czar, a copy of Rhythmic Fingerwork from Jim McGillivray, and others. Stew has really set a precedent by organizing this contest, finding sponsors to make it a very desirable event to attend, funding the whole thing without being a burden on any one association or organization, focusing attention on up and coming lower grade players, and really serving as the model for every pipe band association feeling a crunch from having an overwhelming number of competitors and not enough sanctioned games to accommodate them all. Mark Nussbaum from N. Texas Caledonians was the Grade IV winner and went home with the chanter. Robert Laverock won the Grade I, our own T-bone (Tristen Dean) won Grade III and I had the Grade II honors. Judges this year were Alasdair Gillies and Patrick Regan from the EUSPBA. Here's a photo of our pal Stew looking all natty in his fines the morning of the competition.
For the band,