Thursday, February 21, 2008

We are coming down to the wire on this March 8 concert.

Last night at practice, as we were going through the sets, two sets came up wherein PM Jason asked PM Sean who was it that hadbeen Chosen from the Grade IV to play along with the Grade III. One of those sets was what I call The Battle Set, including Heights of Dargai

1897 during the India conflict between England and Russia, when 2 British units had already tried totake the Heights. The Gordon Highlanders (Scotland) were then commanded to try. They accomplished it in 30 minutes, but during the charge their piper, Allen George Findlater, was shot twice in the legs and parts of his pipes were blown away, but he sat there and kept on playing until he lost consciousness from loss of blood.

and Battle of the Somme

WWI, 1 July 1916, northern France, 57,470 casualities that day, over a million for the whole campaign. This was supposed be a diversion so that Verdun could be won someplace else . . . probably at Verdun. J.R.R.Tolkein was a combatant during this battle, but contracted trench fever and was evacuated back to England. Lucky guy.

The other set was a couple of 6/8 marches, The Hundred Pipers and All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border (the Blue Bonnets being Scots who would go on (cattle) raids over the border into England, and their traditional uniform included blue hats).

I was not on the Chosen list for either one of these sets, presumably because I was not at practice last Tuesday due to the first band/RS schedule conflict of my career. Humph!

While the rest of them were tootling away on these two sets, Jack leaned over to me and said, "You wanna challenge Sean on those?" meaning 'D'ya wanna work really hard on them between now and next Wednesday, and have a private try-out for those two sets so we could be on the Chosen list?' I accepted the challenge. I challenged Jack to challenge Sean. Sean also encouraged anybody to challenge him next week, too. It was a very challenging practice.

I don't know why it is, but every time any portion of the band gets together, the talk inevitably turns to wrestling. Last night was no exception. Drew (17) was prattling on about this or that wrestling move to Sande and me, and we were trying to look interested. He's very obviously a lightweight kid, so I asked him how long he had been wrestling, figuring the answer was going to be "never", and then we could needle him, which would be much more interesting. He said he had been wrestling since kindergarten. Sande asked, "Have you changed weight classes at all since then?" Later, we were just standing on the stage in a line so Sean and Jason could plan out the staging. Cait and Triona were standing next to me. The discussion had turned to whether or not we should block the first 2 rows of seats so nobody could look up the kilts of the pipers 3 feet away. I said, "Maybe we could save those seats for the hard of hearing."

Also during staging, Jason was advising everybody that they had to stand at (British) attention during the whole performance, no slouching, no talking to your neighbor, no picking your nose . . . "No waxing your calves," Dennis tossed in from the back row.

This is why I like this band so much. We're so serious about piping.

***UPDATE*** We just had an earthquake 5 minutes ago. The whole house was shaking. It's snowing, but there is no wind at all. If this is The Big One, it's going to be miserable for the survivors.

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