Gourock in the Dreich

Welcome to the 2015 outdoor pipe band competition season. We have big plans for this year, we spoiled the Pipey last year, he wanted to qualify for one major tournament and we gave him two. But it all starts here in Gourock. We have never been in the prizes at Gourock due to having to play in monsoon rain and hurricane winds, they cancelled the contest one year just after we’d finished blowing bubbles, but that’s just excuses. Continue reading Gourock in the Dreich

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The GWoS Indoor

Thursday’s announcement about the GWoS Indoor Solos and Full Band competition caused a bit of a stunned silence. Be there for 1pm, this is unheard of. Pipe band competitions involve early mornings after sleepless worried nights and a possible hair of the dog, character building stuff! This early afternoon jaunt up the M8 in the crisp April sunshine I could get used to. Continue reading The GWoS Indoor

The Potted History of Kilbarchan Pipe Band

The band originally formed, so the sagas tell us, sometime in the Bronze Age as before this it was found difficult to form the chanter and drones from rocks, this band played together through the Iron Age and well into the Roman period. The Emperor Hadrian built his famous wall at a considerable distance from Kilbarchan so he didn’t have to hear them. The Roman Governor of Britannia, Agricola, was said to have heard the band tuning at Mons Graupius above the din of battle. The band escaped disguised as a group of Carthaginian acrobats. The drums were added shortly after this and the kilts shaved. Continue reading The Potted History of Kilbarchan Pipe Band

Mind not on Sanquhar

My sister drove me to Sanquhar on 28th of March, for which I am most grateful and mostly recovered. The ADG indoors had rolled around again and was to be our first competition of 2015. We had 3 soloists playing in the piping, side drumming and tenor drumming competitions this year and all did very well although it will have to wait until next year for placings. These guys went out there and played against pipers and drummers  with years more experience and got some very complimentary remarks on their “crit” sheets. Continue reading Mind not on Sanquhar

Rhino Edwards, Top Bloke

Last night (7th March) saw the Bungalow Bar, Paisley, full of bandsmen and their partners and friends for a night of Rock and Roll. This could have been the first time this century that some of them had been on a date with their partners and what a night to choose. Mrs Broons man had arranged for Rhino Edwards, bass player from Status Quo, to play the only Scottish gig on his European tour as a fundraiser for the Band. We were there early to do the sound checks and stand around gawping. Word on the street is that the great man wants to do “something” with the band so we aren’t just there to watch and we have a slot in the program. I however missed practice on Thursday and knew none of this, nae pipes again! Continue reading Rhino Edwards, Top Bloke

Steps back in stunned amazement

Last year I began chronicling the “goings on” of KPB as a way of letting those who could not accompany us to events keep abreast of the fun we have at the various fetes, galas, parades and competitions. I hoped to share a bit of the spirit that keeps us in the practice room and out in the pouring rain and thought only people associated with the band would read it. However I just got the yearly review and it appears we’re big in Japan and over 300 people have subscribed. In the grand publishing scheme of things this is nothing but the plan for world domination has not been shelved and 2015 should see a new crop of reports from across the competition arenas of Scotland.

We are working hard because the first competition is on March 28th, we once again attend the ADG Solos and Full Band Indoor at Sanquhar.

Cannae wait..

Remembrance n Cakes n Santa n that!

You thought that after the Cèilidh it all went quiet ’til May, a village band never rests. We turned out to lead the Remembrance Day parade on a cold but bright Sunday morning. An 8 o’clock start holds no fears for us and we are soon tuned and being given last minute instructions on deportment and etiquette suitable to a band at the front of what is a fairly important parade these days. I like the ceremonial and martial air of these parades, colours paraded, everyone on their best behavior, shoes shined, kilts pressed and chrome polished. The Reverent Stephen Smith took the ceremony at the War Memorial, where the village organisations’ wreaths were laid, respect paid and Melissa played the lament. Continue reading Remembrance n Cakes n Santa n that!

Hibernate ’til May, aye right!

The Pipe Band season finishes for us at the Barbeque and that should be it; pipes cleaned and put away, everything else cleaned and polished and stowed until required. An email arrives from Pipey to that effect also warning us to warm up our practice chanters and pads as we have work to do. Pity the bottom hand this winter because we have to sharpen those embellishments.We now embark on a period of working on the street tunes and welcoming and evaluating new playing members. The atmosphere begins to chill and all sense of urgency drains away, Neil lets a sloppy tacum go by without comment and we all sit about waiting for the new tunes. ZZZzzz! Continue reading Hibernate ’til May, aye right!

2014 BBQ. Hey Sheila, throw another burger on the ground!

The day starts at 3pm, not 4 as most of you think. The Event Shelter won’t put itself up, although it would probably make a better job of it if it did, so four of us did a merry Quadrille carrying poles and pegs and bits and bobs. Then we had to sweep it out and fit the furniture, then position the Bouncy Castle and an endless list of gazebo erection and smelly candle installation. The Annual End of Season Barbeque has, after a few years wandering about car parks and peoples back doors, settled into the Glenleven Inn. Continue reading 2014 BBQ. Hey Sheila, throw another burger on the ground!

Farewell to Melissa

I woke up terribly thirsty this morning.
Yesterday was Cowal Games, the last competition outing for the band this season. The forecast was for hard work followed by silliness with outbreaks of cheeky vimto later on. One of the pleasures of going to Cowal is the free breakfast on the bus. Bobbins of Kilbarchan provide rolls with bacon or sausage, magic. We picked up Davie and Brian on route to the ferry and as we sat in the car park I couldn’t help noticing the lack of activity, the ferry before had left half empty. This is unheard of at Cowal weekend, the ferries are normally crammed with bandsmen and their buses. This was the first indication that everything was not as we expected in Dunoon. The second was when our bus was directed to park where the Grade 1 bands normally park. Curiouser and curiouser. Continue reading Farewell to Melissa