Sep 7, 2007

The end of the month and the beginning of the following month of September was the trip to Schenectady. I have not been to Schenectady in quite a few years, and it was very good to see and speak with some old friends. Very enjoyable weather with my safari hat on. Being shortish, it helps the folks I'm traveling with to find me in a crowd I'm told.

More as things unfold in the new school year.


I'll add that Vincent Moore and I REALLY enjoyed a couple of tutorial sessions with Jimmy's dad, the venerable George Bell, at "The Nest" in Sayreville, NJ.  And a couple of meals at Peterpanks.  Fuggetaboudit.  The airlines were a NIGHTMARE for Nancy.  She finally got to Albany at 4:00AM Saturday, and with no luggage.  We had to leave at 7:00AM for the games site in Altamont.  A kind soul loaned her kit for competition and she gave it her best shot.  No prizes for her this trip though.  Jimmy got first in the Open MSR.  Vince was fourth in the Grade I MSR and sixth in Piobaireachd.  I had fourth in the Grade II Piobaireachd.  So, we acquitted ourselve pretty well, and showed the Lyon tartan around upstate NY.  We all had a great time watching the EUSPBA Grade III and Grade II band championships and visiting with friends from the region, and talking with potential Lyon students.  I was also very happy to get to visit with my UofA buddy Jeff Hogue, who is now an attorney in the Geneva, NY area.


Sep 18, 2007

Upon hearing that a cold front was moving toward Arkansas from the west, the pipe band decided to drive to Tulsa on Friday to meet it. By the purest of chance the Oklahoma Scottish Festival was being held in Tulsa this very weekend.

Most of the band headed out early on Friday, leaving those with late classes to go with me in the van. We pulled out at about 5:00 p.m. for a mostly uneventful trip. Aside from dodging trash cans in Batesville and Greenbriar, playing passing games with some idiots on I-40, and visiting areas of Tulsa seldom seen by tourists, we arrived at our lodging very near to our projected time of 11:00 p.m. This was a good thing since we were hauling most of the band equipment and all the snare drummers.

After an extremely peaceful night at the Super 8 motel and cat kennel, and a top notch Waffle House Breakfast, the band set out for games. Our mobile headquarters were quickly erected on site by the roadies and we settled in for a peaceful day. As usual, Jimmy was judging the solo pipers so we didnít see him again until after lunch.


This year there was no band competition, just solo piping. We were there to perform at the festival, march in the Massed Bands opening ceremony and provide demonstrations to the public. Cody, Vince, Nancy and Kenton entered the piping competition but Iíll have to let Kenton post those results.

My entrance in the Bonniest Knees competition failed to gain a trophy, again, but I had a good time. The judges were enthusiastic, to say the least. Some biker type with fat calves won this year

There was plenty of time for practice. The drum corps made great use of the time, huddling in a group going over the drum score for the pipe tunes again and again. When not tuning, practicing, or performing, most band members used the time studying.


As usual, many people came by to watch us as we tuned and practiced off the main field. Any time two or more pipers started playing a crowd would form to observe and ask questions about the band, Lyon College, or just bagpipes in general.


We had the honor of serving as duty band during the opening ceremonies this year, piping the other three bands onto the field for initial line up. Scotland the Brave, Amazing Grace, Wings, and the cheers of the crowd and we were done. There is something to be said for simple ceremonies.

Each band took turns performing for the crowd. I got to MC our performance so I wouldnít think the band had taken me just to drive the van. The crowd appreciated the piping and drumming, as the band appreciated the crowd, and the time to practice. This was the first trip of the year and an excellent chance to get used to being in the public eye.

Closing ceremonies were short and sweet. We march ordered our gear, changed clothes in the parking lot and were on the road by 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening. Despite a wreck (not involving us) on I-40 near Menifee we were back home by midnight.

The trip served as a nice break away from campus. It gave the band their first crack at performing in front of the public this season, without the pressure of having to compete. The new members of the band performed admirably, as did the returning members.


The weather was great, the people were friendly, and we got paid. Who could ask for more?

For the band,