Thursday, June 18, 2009

Salt Lake Highland Games 6/12-13/2009

We had sunshine, we had rain; we had heat, we had cold.

On Friday night, the massed bands sounded very good. Even we did, thanks to Jason fanatical tuning. I got my drones very close, thanks to Sande's handy Sharpie marker. I can't remember what we played--probably Scotland the Brave--, but I cut off early and so faked it the rest of the time.

Instead of driving the 25 miles home, I stayed at the Draper home of a co-worker, Gladys, who is probably best known for her enthusiasm for everything. When I pulled up under glowering clouds, the whole family was assembled, and they asked for a tune. The McCallum chanter had been giving me problems with squeaks and I hadn't had time to work out why, but, I thought, I'll just play one or two and be done. As soon as I started playing, neighbors started peering in the open windows to see what the noise was, and Gladys motioned them inside. Pretty soon we had half the neighborhood in her living room. I played Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave, Loch Rannoch and Lady Lever Park, the Mill Set and the Timed Medley. I ended with Farewell to Camraw. Everybody was very excited. One of Gladys' neighbors is a parishoner of Lee "Posideon" Mashburn, so we chatted a little, and they all went home. I microwaved my kitty litter and retired. I slept like a log.

Saturday dawned bright and clear, and I got to Thanksgiving Point in plenty of time. My first solo, the 2/4 march, Lady Lever Park, was played for acting judge Aaron Shaw, piper from the Wicked Tinkers! He was very kind, and gave me some pointers. He looks much older close up than he does from the audience. I flubbed once, but carried on. My slow aire, Loch Rannoch, was played for judge Seamus Coyne. HH was acting as his steward, so he got to hear me play, first time ever. I thought I did very well. I wasn't nervous at all, really. Then I forgot about my solos, and wandered around with HH, Small Son, and Red-Haired Daughter looking at all the stalls and vendors and getting caught up in tuning for the band competitions. I got a henna tatoo while they were looking at swords.

Our first band comp, Quick March Medley, for which we played the Mill Set (again), went very well. A bit of rushing (I was standing next to Lee), but we kept it in check. Then it began to darken and blow, and by the time tune-up for the second comp came, it was pouring rain and tents were blowing over. Some bands had to compete in that, poor guys! It let up a little about 15 minutes to our time, so we tuned in the rain and went out and competed. We couldn't feel our fingers, birls just didn't happen, and the drum heads had standing pools of water on them. We rushed a little again, but kept it in check again, although we barely made it over the wire as far as timing went, then escaped back to the relative shelter of the relative tent.

People were leaving in droves; others were enjoying the bands in the food court, or were over in the barn staying dry and doing whatever was over there. They changed the evening concerts to the barn, but the Massed Bands still had to be held on the tatoo field in the elements.

Meanwhile, I went over to the piping tent to check how I'd done on solos. At least it had stopped raining by this time. Out of the 13 people competing for the Grade IV 2/4 march, I took 6th. And out of the 17 people competing for the slow aire, I took 4th! That's really good for me!

At the closing massed bands, they announced the band winners.

Grade IV Quick March Medley first place: Salt Lake Scots!

Grade IV Timed Medley first place: Salt Lake Scots!


I don't know if the Grade III people upped our performance quality, or if we would have done well on our own. We did take first at one competition last year--I think it was the November games--and second at Payson--or something like that. I can't remember. Anyway, we did very well. Maybe we just all did well together.

Maybe we're good.

Small Son and I drove home basking in the glory.

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