17 Oct, 2007

The second week in October found the band off on a journey to Lake Charles, LA for the Celtic Nations Festival.  We left on Thursday the 11th in the afternoon and drove about ten hours, arriving close to midnight.  We ran two van loads of people and gear.  I had Seth, Jed, Kimi Brown, a Gloria, and two Boehms.  Jimmy and Wally carried Vinny Smalls, THE Wagnon, Neil, Mack, and Cave City John.  We had been invited to stay at a dorm run by Americorp, set up to house volunteers who had gone to the area to rebuild after Hurricane Rita.  It turned out to be a bit more along the lines of a barracks made out of an abandoned middle school, and the conditions were a little less than ideal, but it was a good character building experience, and teaches us to appreciate the times we've had to sleep four to a bed in a roach motel.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

We were up VERY early Friday morning, dressed, and hustled over to the convention center for an 8:00 performance for a group of very appreciative senior citizens.  We did another performance at 9:15 for school kids bussed in from all over the parrish.  Few had ever seen a live pipe band, and they really seemed to enjoy it very much.  The theater was an excellent facility, and the stage arrangement allowed for us to make a very dramatic entry from the wings on both sides.  We played well, and later heard that the stage crew and other musicians who had been there were quite impressed by our professionalism and musicality.  Immediately after, we adjourned outside with the lake as a backdrop and did a live local cut-in on the Rachel Ray television program to advertise the festival.  We went back to camp and changed into civvies and had a bite of lunch at a Cajun place called Faustos.  Quite good.  Then a group of us went over to the First Presbyterian Church to meet our friend and major supporter, Lois Ferguson, who had invited us to play at a kirkin' service there on Sunday morning.  We visited with Lois a bit, and scouted out the church to get a feel for how we'd need to approach it on the day.  That evening the majority of the band went for dinner at Steamboat Bill's Seafood, and reported back on an excellent meal.

Saturday morning was competition.  Our friend Doug MacRae from St. Thomas in Houston judged the piping, and drumming was judged by Mike Brisch.  As usual, Lyon pipers came away with a large number of medals and the drummers won everything they had.  Seth Ribitzki was Drummer of the Day.  Cody Wagnon got his first experience as a Pipe Major and led a mini-band consisting of himself, Mack Davis, Neil McCarthy, and John Coates on pipes, Seth in tandem with Frankie Boehm on sides, and piper Vincent Moore playing the bass.  They won the mini-band competition with a tight set of marches. That night the band was joined at Steamboat Bills by a large portion of the Baton Rouge band for another fine meal, and then we went back to the "dorm" to watch the Arkansas/Auburn game, which ended in such a lamentable fashion. LSU had a bad run that evening as well.  There was much wailing and tearing of hair.

Sunday morning we were up early again, avoided the frogs in the showers, dressed and headed over to the church.  We were met by a snappily-dressed Lois, in tartan and Glengarry, our own Claudia Marsh, and the cadre of tartan flag-bearers.  Jimmy got the band tuned up and we played the kirkin' just like we knew what we were doing.  Afterward the congregation treated us
to a delicious lunch that included brisket, green bean casserole, potatoes, coleslaw, and dessert.  Great meal, and much appreciated.  I think the Boehms might have had seconds.  Then it was a quick change in the parking lot, and back on the road to Batesville.  We got in around 10:00PM, and I don't think anybody was sorry to be home.

Here's a link to a bunch of photos from the weekend, courtesy of our always outstanding cameraman DM Wally Hightower.

For the band,

Ken