Nov 30, 2004

Wow, what a month of piping, drumming, and dancing

We started the month off with a chairman's meeting for this year's ASF. The dates are April 22-24, 2005. Plan on attending as it's a great contest, and a lot of fun for everyone in the family.

November 4th was an admissions/ alumni event in Jonesboro. We have quite a few student's on campus from that area of Arkansas so we had a large portion of the band there to do a preview of our Clinton Library show. Excellent turnout with a packed room of prospective students, alums, and parents.

Saturday the 6th saw the latest installation of the Piobaireachd Society. A small turnout, but great music nonetheless.

On the 7th we went to Pine Bluff to play at that town's annual Heritage Day service. We went last year and really enjoyed their hospitality. This is the day when all four  Presbyterian churches in town get together to celebrate their shared history. A nice event. Afterward, the band returned to Batesville, while Tristen and Ken Adler drove over to Benton to play for the installation of Kris Crawford as minister of First Presbyterian Church.

Grey Abernathy went out to Hot Springs on the 9th for the admissions event held at the convention center.

Ken Adler and myself attended the EUSPBA meeting in Baltimore. A much bigger turnout than last year, and a spirited meeting. On Sunday I attended the Judges meeting while Ken talked shop with the other members of the executive board. He was elected to the position of Officer at Large the day before.

Tuesday, November 16th was the first (yes, another) Scottish Music Concert, held in the beautiful Bevens Room of Brown Chapel here at Lyon. Local musicians from the town orchestra played some of the tunes on Duncan Johnstone's cd. I played some tunes on the big pipe, and Kenton and Tristen Dean palyed a smallpipe/ cittern duet. A very successful event that was planned from start to finish by Tristen.


photo by Eric Stewart

On the 17th we left early for the Clinton Library opening dress rehearsal down in Little Rock. These big events are always a scramble beforehand, and this was no different. Volunteers running here and there, and the pipe band cool as cucumbers. SOP for this group. Just point us in the right direction, push the button, and off we go. There had been several changes in length of program for us, but it all came off flawlessly as usually. Practice does make perfect, even it's only the simple parade tunes.

We went through the show out of order. We were slated for 1st on, marching down the road to open the event (of course!). Several choirs sang first, to get a reading on the mikes and so forth. We were lead to the area of President Clinton Blvd. where they wanted us, and given a quick explanation of what they expected. On we went, did our bit, and off we went. The issue was how we would march into formation as it was a crescent-shaped area. After five minutes chat amongst ourselves, we had the plan down. The assistant director asked if we wanted to do it again, and of course we said "no, we're cool". She obviously had not dealt with al ot of top pipe bands in the past. For her sanity, we did the whole thing over again. Nae problemo. That night we scooted down to River Market. The place was packed. Couldn't get a restaurant with enough tables to serve all of us (21 members). We settled for a sandwich and a stop at TGI Fridays, site of several of Brooke's birthday's.  Happy Birthday Brooke. My son David came along to bolster the drum corp. It was great to see him, even if only for a short time. Tristen and Patrick Stinson could be seen at one point sitting across the street playing chess. What an eclectic bunch *)

The following morning we were up bright and early at 4 AM. The scheduled pickup was for 5:45 at the airport Holiday Inn. Security was very tight indeed. We were obliged to leave our instruments behind the previous day. Guarded by the Secret Service. We spent the morning sitting in the Green Room watching the snipers taking their positions. Bill Clinton arrived first with the Senator and their daughter. The rest of the platform party arrived later. We talked briefly with Skip Rutherford, one of our Board of Trustee members, and of the president of the Clinton Library board. Good to know the big guys I guess. There were many famous people moving about, yet piper Lance Dorris was the one asked for his autograph. haha.


photo by Grey's mom

We got home exhausted that night, but a good exhausted. A HUGE event for Lyon College and the town of Batesville, Arkansas.

Lance, Kate, Kenton and myself were off the next afternoon for the Louisiana Highland Games. A long drive, but not too long. Kenton kept me awake as we snaked our way through MS, and LA. Beautiful country indeed. The day was rainy, just like the Clinton gig, but manageable. Some nice playing going on down there, and GREAT people.  Kudos to Stan Masinter for his efforts in running the event.

Tristen spent Monday evening, November 22nd playing for Dr. Schram's party at Bradley Manor. Dr. Schram is the latest Arkansas Professor of the Year. We have had 12 of the last 16 year's with one of our professors winning the award. Dr. Schram is not a piper....yet.

The balance of the days this month were filled with meetings for various events, pipe band practices, and lessons. A very busy, but altogether FUN month. Looking forward to the Christmas break next month.

Jimmy