With winter fast approaching and the pipe band competition season over the band are resting on their laurels with nothing to do until March when we dust down our instruments and learn a couple of new tunes. Aye right!
Our end of season party is usually a messy affair with someone usually being sent home early to reflect on their behaviour or to sleep it off. This year the food was plentiful and tasty, the dancing was more energetic than graceful, so energetic someone had a whoops, sorry vicar, my trousers have fallen down moment and all in all it was a splendidly riotous assembly. Well done everyone who won a Calamity Award.
We have been down by the Clyde in Greenock playing for the cruise ships apart from one piper who went to Govan. This is a great experience as well as being a huge financial help as we have twentyish new pipers and drummers coming through the tutoring and they’re all going to have to be kitted out. Six weeks after the newbies received their pipes we had them join the main band for the annual Steeple Square concert where they were introduced to the village. This is only good news for the future of the band and it looks more and more like James sans Breeks and myself are only there to enhance our disreputable reputation.
The RSPBA notified us that we have been promoted to Grade 4A for next season and straight away we began the heavy task of learning and perfecting a new set of tunes. Grade 4A play a MSR (March, Strathspey and Reel) with tempo and time signature changes which the younger members of the band make look simple. I have been to the doctors twice to have my fingers unknotted.
A crack team of social chameleons were dispatched to the Mod in Perth, we have a couple of Gaelic speakers in the band and Pipey is learning it whether he wants to or not, fortunately the bar staff spoke Glesga so we managed fine.
With the nights fair drawin in and a wee nip in the air it can only be a few weeks until the Season of Lights is upon us, with this in mind we have had mini bands out playing at a few events to garner practice at playing with numb fingers. A Saturday morning wander to Girvan saw us playing in Ayrshire’s Atlantic breeze for a stalwart of the pipe band community, Wee Tommy had turned seventy and we serenaded him outside his front door before he asked us in for tea. To me this is what playing the pipes is all about.
As the nights darken and chill keep an eye out for Christmas fayres and Christmas lights turn ons, Erskine is always fun but next up will be the Remembrance Parade in Kilbarchan, I’ll be playing at Linwood Parish Church whether they want me to or not.