October 14, 2004
Dearest Pipe Band Diary Visitors,
Sorry for being so late with the news from the Montgomery, Alabama trip but we've been really busy prepping for a new shindig in Little Rock. This is by no means a small gig, in fact it's probably the biggest, most prestigious, high falutin' gig a pipe band, let alone any other organization from Lyon, has ever participated in. It just so happens that the Pipes and Drums of Lyon College will be leading the parade to dedicate the new Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. This was fantastic news for the Lyon Pipe Band as well as the rest of the Lyon campus. Not only do we get to lead the parade, but we will also play in a small concert with several artists including Bono, Dave Matthews, and many others. We are truly fortunate to represent the college in such a manner; after all we won't just be on the local news, we'll we on CNN and other international broadcasting stations around the world representing the college. Everybody is getting kitted out and spit shined for the gig; Wally "the big man" Hightower is getting a new drum major's mace (not the medieval kind), new bag covers, cords, MacClellan chanters, and chanter reeds recently arrived for the pipe section, and Jimmy's brother Gordon Bell is coming along with a couple other first class side drummers to spice up the Lyon drum corp. All in all it should be a fun gig despite the security and masses of people. We'll keep you updated on this upcoming event.
Enough talk about the Clinton Library thingy, on to the business at hand. Over the weekend of September 24 the Lyon Pipe Band journeyed into the deep south to represent the college and recruit new members for the Scottish Heritage Program. As usual the ride was long and hard but we gave it the old college try and made it to Montgomery safe and sound. The next morning we ventured to the Cultural Park where the games were held. The games were small and quiet and there were not enough judges to sanction the games, so the solo and band competitions were cancelled. Haley Skinner and Brooke Hollis competed in the highland dance competitions and both faired very well in their divisions. By the way Brooke passed her certification test and is now a certified dance instructor; congratulations Brooke.
Anyway, the band had another enjoyable trip and another experience to add to the dusty old Pipe Band Diary.
Kenton, Jimmy, Lance and myself head out this weekend for the Stone Mountain Games in Atlanta, Georgia. We'll be recruiting new members for the Scottish Heritage Program as well as scoping out competition, inviting east coast bands to the ASF, and having a general good time. I relish getting off the hill once in a while and I've never been to Georgia, so it should be an enlightening experience.
Next weekend is bound to be busy, it's Lyonfest. We're scheduled to play at intervals during the parade and then play for the annual Kirkin' and the Founder's Day Convocation in Couch Garden. The Scottish Heritage Program has grown to such a point that we can no longer fit the entire band in Brown Chapel for the various campus events, such as the Kirkin' and convocations.
We'll keep you posted on the events as they come up.
Yours Aye, Tristen Dean
An addendum from Kenton
Over the weekend of OCT 8-10 Jimmy and I drove up to St. Louis and attended their Highland games. Jim was asked to judge, and I was signed on to compete in solos. Jim decided not to take the band due to the Clinton Library gig. We're focusing on having material prepared for that and he didn't want to have us distracted by preparing for a competition as well. Hopefully we'll be able to go up next year with the bands. It's a lovely location in Forest Park, and the Invera'an folks host a great games.
We got to visit with Matt Panteleoni, the Invera'an PM, and several other of our friends in the band such as George Gerules, Dan Jackson, and James Hopkins. Also made a couple of new friends in the process. We also got see our friend Tom Ogilvy who runs the Springfield St. Andrews bands. I very much enjoyed meeting Ed Neigh on Friday night at dinner, and getting to listen to Ed and Jimmy tell stories about their past experiences in Grade I bands, and discuss the direction that piping is going today. You can learn a lot if you just sit and chew your food while smart guys are talking. I also had the pleasure of meeting Chris Apps on Saturday, and of getting the opportunity to play for John Cairns again.
I was hearing The Phantom Pipe Band in my head while we were driving back to Batesville on Saturday evening. I started hearing a real pretty tune, and was humming it. Jim asked what it was, and I said I didn't know, but sung it for him. He made a couple of suggestions for parts here and there, and I wrote it down on the back of a napkin. We now have a real pretty new slow air. I still have to write it all out, but I think it will be quite pleasant to play, as well as listen to.
October 18, 2004
This past weekend Jimmy, Kenton, Lance and myself made a quick weekend trip to Atlanta, Georgia, site of the Stone Mountain Games, to recruit for the pipe band. We left real early Friday morning and arrived in Atlanta at four o'clock that afternoon. The traffic was horrendous on the outskirts of Atlanta, it took us about forty minutes just to go ten miles. Despite the traffic delay, we still made it on time to observe the Stone Mountain Invitational Piping Competition held in the hotel at the Marriot. The players included Greg Abbott, Peter Skae, Bill Caudill, Lyon alum Jeremy Freeman, Jimmy's older brother Duncan Bell, Ann Gray, and Tone Czar foreman Chris Hamilton. The piobaireachd aspect of the competition was quite enjoyable and the light music wasn't too bad either. Greg Abbott took the trophies for both events. After the competition, several of the players and all of us went down to the pub for a blather. We met a lot of the players, whom I had not met yet and we also conversed with some old friends of the Bell family. Duncan as usual was in rare form and Peter Skae was a nice chap to talk to.
The next morning the four of us went downstairs for a lovely breakfast and then we piled in the van and headed for the park. Stone Mountain Park is a beautiful site for a Highland Games; the place has a huge lake and lots of walking trails and plus the scenery and greenery is just awesome. This was my first time in Georgia and to Stone Mountain; I had a wonderful time and I can't wait to go back. We met up with Matt MacRae, a very nice chap and an excellent player, who by the way is looking to come to Lyon next year. We also met up with the Tampa Bay Pipe Band and I was introduced to fellow Piper's-L-er Mark Sanford and Steve Serneels; alas I didn't get to meet the legendary Tampa Bay Pipe Band rally monkey. The sheer number of people at the games was amazing, nearly 50,000 people attended as well as thirty pipe bands. The massed bands had to be divided into four waves of performers just to accomodate their size. The grade three pipe band competition was quite enjoyable. Our friends from North Texas took second and the folks from St. Andrew's Presbyterian College took first.
Scoping out the competition was one of the main impeti for attending the Stone Mt. Games; most of the bands played very well but, it's nothing that the Lyon College Pipe Band doesn't look forward to coming up against. The games were long, but the weather was pleasant and after the awards were handed out we headed back to the Marriot for some rest and a much deserved meal. The hotel restaurant was serving a Scottish style buffet that filled our stomachs to the brim and eventually we all went up to the room to sleep it off. Thanks again to Jimmy and Kenton for driving the eighteen hours and making sure we arrived back in Batesville safe and sound. I'm pretty sure we all had a fun time and we all learned a great deal as well as recruiting some smart, clean cut kids for the Lyon Pipe Band.
Oct 26, 2004
Hello all you partakers of the Lyon College Pipe Band Diary,
As y'all probably already know this past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the big campus move from the downtown up to the current location, on the bluff overlooking Batesville. I myself piped for the Hall of Fame inductees dinner and reception at Bradley Manor on Friday evening. That same night I played for the dancers in the Student Talent Showcase. Haley Skinner and Cris Slaymaker danced very well and the larger than usual crowd greatly enjoyed the spectacle.
The next morning individual pipers from the band were positioned at designated corners along the parade route. This arrangement was well received by the community. We first had a bite to eat at the First Presbyterian Church kitchen and had a good blather as well. Kenton's dad, "Southside Lenny" tagged along; he flew in to Batesville on Friday night in his beautiful Beechcraft Bonanza. I dropped all the pipers off at their spots and after the parade passed I picked them back up and we all headed back up to the campus for the convocation. It was overcast, humid and a wee bit grey (perfect piping weather). The parade only lasted about thirty minutes. And who could forget the drummers? The drummers got to ride on a float, the lucky dogs.
The Convocation was wet for about five minutes, but after we evacuated Couch Gardens in search of better convocating atmosphere inside Brown Chapel, the weather cleared and it was sunny and 70 degrees out-typical Arkansas weather. Mrs. Raye Rogers, one of the friendly folks that traveled with us to New York last April was awarded an honorary alumnus status. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, former US Senate Chaplain, gave a stirring speech. Not to be blasphemous, but the man has the voice of God as well as the heart. His voice reminds one of Walter Huston; deep, resonant, and soothing. He also has the air of someone who really understands the meaning of grace, and everyone in the convocation audience seemed to be touched by his presence, as well as the content of his speech.
The pipe band sounded pretty good going out and the new players are getting better and better with each performance. We were sure to play Scotland the Brave a couple times just for dearest veteran Lance.
I attended the dinner and dance later that night in the Becknell Gymnasium. Jug Wallace, also a privileged member of the New York Tartan Day cadre, and many other local players had a nice little 15 piece swing band for the Dance. They played some fun music to dance to. Maybe I'm antiquated, but I love swing music; I must've danced with about a dozen Lyon girls that night. It was a fun time and supposedly Elvis came later after I left. He's Elvis but he's nae Jimmy.
The next morning members of the Lyon Pipe Band played for the Kirkin service held in Brown Chapel. Reverend Dr. Ogilvie gave a rousing speech entitled "Tis Amazing, Isn't it?" that had plenty of Scotch anecdotes, rousing song and beautiful poetry. He really is an excellent speaker and preacher; just by listening to the man you can tell he's a man of godly character and blessing. The Ogilvie tartan, a bonnie plaid, was presented and blessed and now it sits in the Nichol's Building next to the rest of the great clans. Kenton and Lenny headed back to the house to get ready for K-man's flying lesson that afternoon, and Jimmy and I partook of the brunch offered after the service. There were many First Presbyterian church members there, a nice bunch of people; I'm thinking about going regularly to Sunday Service there when the pipe band is in town.
This year's Lyonfest went pretty well and we had a good turnout, I wished there could've been more people at the parade, but what can you do when it looks nasty out.
As always the best is yet to come.