By default I suppose, I was chosen to play a trio gig for a wedding at the U of U, a trio in this case being 2 pipers (me and Tall Aaron) and a drummer (Dusty).
You may or may not know I've never playled for a wedding before. But I've done a funeral, and the dead didn't seem to mind my playing, so I was fairly calm about doing a wedding, 'specially 'cuz I wouldn't be alone.
The location was the 4th floor of a tower of the U of U football stadium. The outer two walls were solid glass. Through one you had an unobstructed view of the football field from about the 45 yard line. Through the other, a view of the parking lot, with the city behind. About 40 chairs were arranged with a center aisle. The wedding was facing (you guessed it) the parking lot.
Of course I was the first one to arrive. I made sure I was in the right place, and got a separate room for us to warm up in. Then I waited. At 3:35 I called Aaron on my NEW CELL PHONE and learned he was almost there.
We got tuned up and planned some tunes. We worked on Highland Cathedral and Scotland the Brave. The groom had told us he wanted us to play a "gathering tune" walking up the aisle and veering to the right. We were then to wait for the "kiss the bride" part, then play Scotland the Free. I admitted I didn't know that one, but would Scotland the Brave work? Whatever, he shrugged. Oh, and would we play for 15-20 minutes during the mingling afterward?
Aaron had written some harmony for Highland Cathedral, and he wanted to play the whole thing, even though the aisle we were going to walk down was very short, so he warned us he was going to walk very slowly, in order to fit the whole thing in. I was to follow him, and Dusty (who is shorter than me) after me.
The bride did her walk after we were in place.
She was the most antsy bride I had ever seen! She kept turning, twisting, giggling, looking all around, almost dancing with nervousness. I thought she was going to bolt.
It was a pretty boring wedding, as weddings go, except for the pipers and drummer, but then I'm prejudiced. The judge had to keep looking at the marriage certificate to know what their names were. And it wasn't clear from the names which belonged to the bride and which to the groom.
STB went off without a hitch. We played Mill and Mari's Wedding. Then Dusty and Aaron played Clumsy Lover for the groom. He appeared not to notice. Then Aaron asked me if I was sure I could play Bells of Dunblane. I said I was sure, and did he want to go on into the next tune of that set, Glasgow City Police Pipers, a jig, after that? He was pretty taken aback and stood there gaping for a minute, looking from me to Dusty and back again. Dusty's comment was: "Best way to learn." So off we went.
Bells is a slow aire, one of my favorite tunes, so it was no problem. We navigated the break into Glasgow without a hitch and as we started into Glasgow itself, I realized that Aaron was playing it much faster than I'd been used to play it. I quickly decided not to think about it, just play it. I let my fingers remember the tune, not my head. I even got the run on the last part. Aaron was impressed. I was bursting!
I hope he doesn't think of me as a terrible -- or even less than operational--piper anymore, or dread playing a gig with me. I hope he tells other pipers (especially Sean and Jason).