Cruise ships are a strange gig, there are never that many of you and you really don’t want to be shit. Continue reading Cruise Ships and Vikings
There is nothing worse than a Friday night deadline – Scout Hut 7 o’clock. I’m fairly punctual but I’m married to a drummer, “Time is an illusion etc etc!” The car was loaded, everything was in order but my poor drummer was ill, ill, ill. There was talk of, “you go on without me.” However after a wee call from Pipey she rallied and we made the bus with minutes to spare. To a chorus of, “Did you remember your pipes?” I boarded the bus for the 3 and a half hour drive to Inverness. The word from on high was that there would be no drinking on the bus, fair enough! This was to be our first overnighter as a band, so best behaviour and no hangovers for the morning. I don’t think I heard the first can being cracked ’til we crossed the Clyde. However as a show of solidarity for my poor sick drummer lady I held out ’til Perth. When in Rome! Continue reading European Championship, Forres.
Where to start?
This was a busy weekend for the band and thankfully we have the dedicated players to cover our varied engagements. Friday evening saw a contingent down at the seaside entertaining the cruise ship passengers. Word on the street is that they were very well received.
Saturday was Bishopton Gala Day, one of our regular street parades. The weather was threatening but as Brian shouted “Band, by the right etc etc” the clouds evaporated, the sun beat down and off we marched slowly cooking in our kilts. The good thing about Bish gala day is there are no horses or cows, cows hate us. There is always a good crowd on the route, which is long and convoluted and runs through the heart of the village. The bustle increases as we approach the park and we play the Scotland the Brave set for what seems ages, this always gets them cheering. It’s a long march in the sun so wee Lucy was told to wait at the park for us and join us as we played for the lieges in the arena. We made it into the park without tripping over a rope or impaling Basso on a fence stake thankfully. All in all a very satisfactory performance all topped off with lashings of ginger beer courtesy of Bobby. Cheers Bobby. (My ginger beer had no ginger). Continue reading Helensburgh n aw that
Lilias day is a strange one. It is not a pipe band competition or Highland Gathering but it is our biggest day of the year. The day you want all your players out, the day most of the kids have been working toward and the big one to let proud parents, grandparents and assorted family see their wee piper/drummer on the street in kilt and Glengarry bonnet.
Lilias Day is the Kilbarchan village fete/gala day, supposedly dating from antiquity but revived in the early 1930’s under the auspices of the Kilbarchan General Society as a fundraiser. The current incarnation was established in 1968 by the school Parents Association and goes from strength to strength. The current Lilias Committee did a fine job of organisation this year. Continue reading Lilias Day 2014
The first “major” of the season and we have been working hard, the disappointment of Gourock has been forgotten and the band as in mellow mood as we embarked for Bathgate. Then the bus driver took us on the school run because that’s the route she knows and we knew it was going to be an eventful day. We visited a housing estate and had to rely on the satnav skills of Mr S McKay to get us to the show on time. An executive decision was made and the legendary Event Shelter was abandoned in favour of using the bus as a base of operations, so without further ado we set up camp and began sunbathing. Continue reading British Championship 2014
I should have kept quiet about restarting the blog. The grand visions of tales of trophies won has grown a bit jaded. I’ll leave it to Brian, Neil and Stewart to dissect the sheets and pick over the bones of a shocking own goal.
The day started in fine form. The ancient Scottish weather gods were holding any foretold downpours at bay. It was still only 10:30 and as this is a local event pipers and drummers were arriving in dribs and drabs. There was a lot of hanging about and jawing until it became time to erect the Event Shelter and then the first great act of comedy unfolded. The great eight-some reel began that sees pipers and drummers dance slowly around Basso, all carrying bits of poles and looking bemused.
“The mirth and fun grew fast and furious; Continue reading Gourock 2014
I have decided to try and keep a record of the bands progress through the 2014 season. All the competitions, gala days and social activities we get involved in during the course of the season. We have been playing on the competition circuit for a few years now and it’s been a sair fecht. There is nothing more disturbing than putting yourselves up for comparison with bands that have been competing for years and discovering that the judges don’t think your as great as you do. However naivety will only see you so far and after a period of serious soul searching and personnel changes we are ready to step into the circle once again. A 5th at Sanquair Indoor gave us hope that the hard work was bearing fruit. Brian has grown over the last few years as Pipe Major, better able to exert his will on his pipers and get the best from them. With Neil adding years of expertise in bandcraft and musicianship we have a top pairing that can hear the faults and work to rectify them. Stewart has revitalised the drum corp and bass section and the number of drummers has soared. New drum scores and methods have given the drummers added flair. With Derek’s hard work beginning to pay off we have a swarm of juvenile pipers coming through and another crop of adult learners pushing at the door. Everything seems to be heading in the right direction but tomorrow we find out if all the hard work has been in vain. Tomorrow is Gourock. First games of the season and traditionally a rain-lashed affair. They have a saying in Gourock, “If you can see Dunoon it will soon rain, if you can’t it’s raining!” The first year we played there the weather was glorious so the Pipey had us set up the gazebo in a bog, just to get us acclimatised.
Tomorrow we play our well honed set of 2/4 marches and for the first time we play up into Grade 3. We await the Crit sheets with baited breath.
So lets check the reeds are secure and the joints are tight it’s going to be a long, fun summer. Cannae wait!
As the web sergeant has requested a post on the blog here goes:-
What is the difference between bagpipes and an onion?
Nobody cries when they cut up bagpipes.
How many pipers does it take to change a light bulb?
five, one to change it and four to criticise his fingering.
What is the difference between bagpipes and a trampoline?
You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.
Over to you huffers and puffers.
After the less than salubrious results and scathing comments of last season the leadership of the band have shown a determination to improve standards across the whole range of band activities. The tuiton has been tightened and focused, the learners now know what is expected. Playing members have not escaped the changes and a drive to perfect the basics is having a steady improvement on the sound of the band. No place for complacency thought as can be heard when older tunes are played and all the old habits come to the fore, sloppy embellishments, ragged rolls and a roundness to the tunes. There is still a lot of hard work to go before the start of the 2012 season of street performances and competitions but if it makes you better at something you love to do then that can’t be a bad thing.
The pipe section are getting to grips with technical problems on the instruments that should improve the consistency of the sound, make the PM’s job easier and make sure the pipers have no excuse for bad blowing.
The changes to the uniform will surprise some as it’s amazing the difference such small changes can make.
It’s March already so lets all get knuckled down and get practising.
Gourock in the rain this year? Cannae wait.
The ceilidh is now over and the hangovers have almost been forgotten. The mighty Clamjamfrie were fantastic as always and the Glenleven Inn did use proud with a splendid buffet. Thanks to Kilbarchan Bowling Club for the use of their hall and bar staff. I think the consensus is that this was the best one so far.
Away from the social scene the members are working hard to perfect a new set of 6/8’s and a MAP set for competition next spring. Sounds from the adult learners and kids practice room are sounding really encouraging and the new practice regime put in place after the AGM seems to be bearing early fruit.
KPB.blog send best wishes to our drum tutor after his recent operation and hope he has a speedy recovery.
We move into December with 2 gigs on the calender, Erskine Hospital and the turning on of the Christmas tree lights both very special to the band. It’s always a pleasure to play at Erskine for the auld sodjers and the Village lights are a hoot. Go’n yirsel big George. Better get the fairy lights for my bass drone looked out. Cannae wait!