I just could not get nervous--or excited--about this competition. For one, it was INDOORS in November. For two, it was so far out of the regular competition season that it was not to be taken seriously. I made several half-hearted attempts at practicing my solo tunes, and then it was The Day.
I put on my uniform shirt, tie, vest, kilt, socks, shoes, flashes, belt, sporran and ridiculuous hat and went to the Hidden Valley Presbyterian Church in Draper.
This is actually Lee's church; that is, he's the pastor of it, or the vicar or the rector, whichever term they prefer. He calls it his "one day a week job", although I'm sure he puts in many more than that. His office is all decked out in a comfy leather chaiR, tartan thingys here and there, and subdued lighting that is easy on the eyes. It looked very classy. The church is very small. There were fake pine trees behind the altar, and the pews were--as HH advised--very comfy. There was a bible near the front, open to Isaiah. I hoped it was open to the "If you are prepared, ye shall not fear" scripture, but I didn't have the opportunity to check. Although it was too late to prepare, day of the competition.
Every band got a basementy Sunday School room in which to stash their stuff and warm up, etc. We had the grade K-1-2 room. The walls were stone, covered with posters on the books in the Old and New Testament, the benefits of service, and the various attributes of God. It was nice, but it was teeny!
My first appearance before the judge was my 2/4 march (Lady Lever Park) in the chapel. The judge called me up and asked me about myself, where I was from, why was I here. I found out she was from Vancouver, BC, so we talked about orienting with the mountains. I wondered if the trees were put there to make her feel more at home. She seemed very nice. I did pretty well on the march, except for the last line of the last part, but I carried on anyway. There were some hangers-on in the back pews. Some were competitors; some were just observers. I got applause.
Next I was up for my slow aire, Loch Rannoch. I played it mostly flawlessly. At least I got all the notes right. My timing was off in a few places. More applause from the peanut gallery, and Lee gave me a thumbs-up and said "First place!"
Then we had some hours to kill until band comp, so I went up the road a few blocks and got some bagels from Einstein Bros, since Wendy's was not open until 10:00. It really was a beautiful fall day, complete with crisp air, colored leaves, blue-blue sky, horses and mountains. It was nice to just be outside in the sunshine. (There was sunshine, too.)
We warmed up in what would pass for the Relief Society room, if it had been an LDS church. Despite being in the basement, it had big windows all 'round, which warmed it up a lot. Then we were in there sweating like hogs, and added aroma to the mix. The next band wasn't happy, but then, we got the same treatment from the band before us. Besides, what could we do? The windows didn't open at all!
Instead of performing in the echo chamber that was the "gym", we clumped up in the back of the chapel and mosey-ed to the front. We formed a sort of oval in front of the altar/judges table, adn as luck would have it, I had my back to them, so they could very clearly hear my drones and if they were wavering or not (they usually are, as my blowing/squeezing is not in sinc yet.) I concentrated on blowing, and the quick march medley went perfectly.
Repeat all of the above for the timed medley, but multiply the aroma factor by 5. Peeee-yew!
This time, I blew down at the end, but when I released the bag, the drones kept on playing!!! Uuuuuuugggggghhhhhh! I'd cut out 50 times, earlier that day, even with the bag 3/4 full, and no droning on at the end. Why did it happen in the actual comp? I was sure I had blown it for the whole band.
I got new carbon fiber drone reeds on Thursday. Hopefully it is the reeds, and this will solve everything.
Saturday night I got an email from Pete, as follows and I quote:
"Congrats to Grade 4!!!!!!!!! In the QMM we tied for 1st place in points with Galloway and were second in the ensemble so we took 2nd place.....in the Timed Medley we took 1st in Piping, 1st in Drumming, 1st in Ensemble, which means 1st overall!Yeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Don't worry about your wee cutoff at the end of the timed medley we still won it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And as icing on the cake, I took 4th in the slow aire competition!