Bagpipes and Bagpiping

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Competition Results:

2005 Competition Season:

4th Place Overall Points Score out of 787 pipers in EUSPBA Grade IV Sr.
Promoted to Grade III for the 2006 competition year.

Grade IV Sr. competition set: 2/4 March - The 24th Guards Brigade at Anzio, 6/8 March - Cock of the North, Slow Air - Hector the Hero, Piobaireachd - Struan Robertson's Salute.

Piping Grade IV Sr - Details
AGL = Above Grade Level
Placings are 1st thru 6th, DNP = Did Not Place, BD = Broke Down, NS = No Show, DQ = Disqualified
4/30/2005Southern Maryland Celtic FestivalPiob Ground Only21615NoNancy C. Tunnicliffe
4/30/2005Southern Maryland Celtic Festival2/4 MarchDNP210NoChristopher Hamilton
5/7/2005Scottish Festival and Celtic GatheringPiobaireachdNS140NoEdward D. Neigh
5/7/2005Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering2/4 MarchNS160NoSandy Jones
5/7/2005Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering6/8 MarchNS170NoSandy Jones
5/14/2005Houston Highland GamesPiob Ground Only41613NoJames C. Wilson
5/14/2005Houston Highland Games2/4 March2109NoEdward D. Neigh
5/21/2005Colonial Highland Gathering2/4 March11515NoPeter O. Kent
6/4/2005Southern NH Scottish GamesPiob Ground Only3119NoLezlie Paterson Webster
6/4/2005Southern NH Scottish Games2/4 March199NoJames B. Kerr
6/4/2005Southern NH Scottish Games6/8 March573NoPaula Porter Glendinning
6/11/2005Harrisburg Pipes and Drums Festival2/4 March51612NoChristopher Hamilton
6/11/2005Harrisburg Pipes and Drums Festival6/8 MarchDNP120NoJohn Wassman
6/11/2005Harrisburg Pipes and Drums FestivalS/A21110NoJune P. Hanley
6/11/2005Harrisburg Pipes and Drums FestivalPiob Ground OnlyDNP150NoJohn L Bottomley
6/25/2005Western Mass Highland GamesPiob Ground Only41512NoLezlie Paterson Webster
6/25/2005Western Mass Highland Games2/4 March21110NoCharles C. Murdoch
7/9/2005Grandfather Mountain Highland GamesPiob Ground OnlyDNP170NoGeoff Neigh
7/9/2005Grandfather Mountain Highland Games2/4 March41815NoWilliam S. Caudill
7/22/2005Virginia Scottish GamesPiob Ground OnlyDNP140NoLezlie Paterson Webster
7/22/2005Virginia Scottish Games2/4 March5139NoJune P. Hanley
9/3/2005Capital District Scottish GamesPiob Ground Only31614NoMichael Rogers
9/3/2005Capital District Scottish Games2/4 March5139NoKen Eller
9/10/2005Ligonier Highland GamesPiobaireachd41218NoAmy Garson
9/10/2005Ligonier Highland Games2/4 MarchDNP180NoReay S. MacKay
9/24/2005New Hampshire Highland GamesPiob Ground Only6105NoLezlie Paterson Webster
9/24/2005New Hampshire Highland Games2/4 March287YesNancy C. Tunnicliffe
9/24/2005New Hampshire Highland Games6/8 March177NoPaula Porter Glendinning
9/24/2005New Hampshire Highland GamesS/A287NoJames C. Wilson
10/8/2005Anne Arundel Scottish FestivalPiob Ground OnlyDNP120NoDavid M. Bailiff
10/8/2005Anne Arundel Scottish Festival2/4 March199YesLezlie Paterson Webster
10/22/2005Richmond Highland Games Celtic FestivalPiob Ground OnlyDNP120NoPatrick W. Regan
10/22/2005Richmond Highland Games Celtic Festival2/4 MarchDNP150NoChristopher Hamilton
*The number of people who actually competed in the event

October, 2005: did not place in Grade IV Sr. at the Richmond Highland Games in Richmond, VA. Another cool humid day, so I had tuning issues on the piobaireachd; and my drones cut off in the 2/4 march: "a pity", the judge said. "You would have placed with that march".

October, 2005: one 1st place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Anne Arundel Highland Games in Anne Arundel, MD. I was happy with my performance in the piobaireachd, but for whatever reason, didn't place. I did play in the pouring rain, and that was an interesting experience. I took a 1st and my second AGL in the 2/4 march.

September, 2005: one 1st, two 2nd, and one 6th place finishs in Grade IV Sr. at the New Hampshire Games in Concord, NH. The day was very cold, and I had trouble tuning for the piobaireachd, and that was my 6th place. I immediately walked over to the 2/4 march and took a 2nd and an AGL (my first of the year!) - meaning my pipes had finally settled in. One drone went out of tune in the middle in the performance, otherwise I might have taken first. I took the 1st in the 6/8 and another 2nd in the slow air.

September, 2005: one 4th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Ligonier Games in Ligonier, PA. I threw myself pretty badly; I had mistakenly registered for Gr IV. junior, and had to run like a decapitated chicken to get reassigned and get judges to hear me play. So that hurt my playing. This was my first chance to play a full-score piobaireachd this year, and I did pretty well. The judge wrote "3rd place" then scratched out and replaced it with "4th", so I must have been close. I didn't place in the 2/4, and I'm not sure why, I thought I did pretty well.

September, 2005: one 3rd and one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Capitol District Scottish Games in Altamont, NY. I had a hard time tuning up for the march, and it cost me, but I was spot on for the piobaireachd.

July, 2005: one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Virginia Scottish Games in Alexandria, VA. I didn't do as well here as I'd have liked, though I played well. I think I had a bead of condensed water at the bottom of my middle tenor drone, and it kept going in and (very) out of tune, and the judges docked me for it.

July, 2005: one 4th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, NC. The 4th place finish (field of 18) was for the 2/4 march contest. I made some minor flubs in the third part, and the pipes were cold from the night before, leaving my D and E a bit flat, but the judge was otherwise very impressed with my performance. I did not place in the piobaireachd contest, not for any error in my playing. The judge quite liked my execution and musicality, but hated the sound of my pipes. This is just one of those subjective things it's hard to account for.

June, 2005: one 2nd place and one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Western Massachssets Highland Games in Greenfield, MA. The 2nd place finish (field of 11) was for the 2/4 march contest, and the 4th place (field of 15) was for the piobaireachd contest. In both cases, the judges said my weakest point was a few crossing noises. My blowing, on the other hand, is much steadier. Now I know what I need to work on for the rest of the season.

June, 2005: one 2nd place and one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Harrisburg Pipes and Drums Festival in Harrisburg, PA. The 2nd place finish (field of 11) was for slow air contest. Not much to say about that one. The 5th place finish (field of 16) was for the 2/4 march. I was rushing a bit, as the last time I had for this judge, he felt I'd played too slowly, and I overcompensated. I didn't place in the 6/8 march (field of 12) because I lost the tune in the 4th part. I compensated well, and the judge even wrote "nice shave" on the score sheet (I found the corrected misspelling funny), but some judges consider wrong notes to be disqualifying, no matter how good the save, as was the case here. I scored in the middle of the pack in piobaireachd (field of 15); the judge liked my execution, but thought I underblew the whole piece.

June, 2005: one 1st place, one 3rd place, and one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Southern New Hampshire Highland Games in Greenfield, NH. The 1st place finish (field of 9) was for the 2/4 March contest; the judge my B-G-G movement was a bit crushed, but that my execution over all very good. I got the 3rd place (field of 11) in the piobaireachd, and the judge's only comment was that my A pitched low relative to the field, which was true (and annoying, since the beating off the other pipers' chanters was very prominent when I played that note). To be fair, the chanter's sole had been broken in half on the flight down, and was held together with superglue only, so it was a wounded bird! I took 5th in the 6/8 contest (field of 7); I would have places much better, but I lost my bass drone three notes in to the tune. The judge remarked on the good playing, and wrote "too bad about the bass drone". As it happened, the guy who took 1st in piobaireachd had the same thing happen to him for this contest.

May, 2005: one 1st place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Colonial Highland Gathering in Fair Hill, MD. The 1st place finish (field of 16) was for the 2/4 March contest; the judge thought my tuning was good and my blowing steady, and my execution over all very good. My expression was a little lacking, and I have to agree with him. They were picking pipers out of order, and though I was warmed up, I was waiting by the steward to find out how much more time I had, I wasn't quite ready to go yet! As a result, my first part was a tad rough.

May, 2005: one 2nd and one 4th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Houston Highland Games in Houston, TX. The 4th place finish (field of 15) was for the piobaireachd contest; the judge thought I had played quite well, except for a little bit of rushing in the first line and on my d-throws. The 2nd place finish (field of 10) was in the 2/4 march contest; aside from a few tiny bobbles, the judge felt that I had played very musically, and had my drones been fine-tuned better, I may have won this contest, having come in just one point behind the winner.

May, 2005: Scratched in Grade IV Sr. at the Bridgeport Highland Games in Bridgeport, WV. I wanted to go to these games, but exhausted from the previous weekend, I just wasn't up for leaving at 4 AM for a 4 hour drive to West Virginia. It's a bit of a shame - the piobaireachd contest was full score, and I also would have had a chance to try out my 6/8 for the first time this year.

April, 2005: one 2nd place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival in Calvert co., MD. The 2nd plave finish (in a field of 16) was for the piobaireachd contest, where I played extremely well except for one small choke, and a tempo too languid for the piece. I did not place in the 2/4 march contest; my marks and comments were mostly good, other than playing too slowly and a high hand that had gone sharp between contests.

2004 Competition Season:

Grade IV Sr. competition set: 2/4 March - Prince Charles' Welcome to Lochaber, 6/8 March - Cock of the North, Slow Air - Hector the Hero, Slow March - Leaving Rhu Vaternish, Piobaireachd, Lament for the Old Sword.

September, 2004: one 1st place finish and one 3rd place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the New Hampshire Highland Games in New Hampshire, NH. I took the 1st in the 6/8 march contest (field of 12) and the 3rd in the 2/4 march contest (field of 14) . The judge in the 6/8 was very complimentary, calling me over to talk after my performance. I lost points in the 2/4 for some chokes and unsteady blowing, and this was the case in the piobaireachd contest as well. I didn't place in the slow air contest either; the judge commented that I wasn't keeping strict time - but, on the recommendation of my instructor, I was deliberately playing that piecerubato!

September, 2004: did not place in Grade IV Sr. at the Ligonier Highland Games in Ligonier, PA. Again, I lost drones in the march, and on top of this, I warmed up too much on this cold misty morning, and my chanter reed got waterlogged and dull. The judge in the 2/4 contest wrote "Winning fingers, not winning pipes". The comments regarding my playing were quite good for both the the 2/4 and the piobaireachd, but in addition to the technical problems, the judges chastened me for my unsteady blowing pressure.

September, 2004: one 5th place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Capital District Highland Games in Albany, NY. I arrived at this contest frightfully late, and lost two drones in the 2/4 contest, and hence did not place - though the judge noted that had I not lost the drones, I would have. I did better at the piobaireachd contest, where I took the 5th (field of 15).

July, 2004: one 1st place finish in Grade IV Sr. at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina. In the piobaireachd, I started off with a major gaffe, beginning to play without realizing that the judge was still looking up the tune. This very obviously soured the judge against me. He basically disliked my instrument, my tuning, my blowing, my execution, and my interpretation. This makes an odd contrast to showing in the other contest. I took 1st place in a pack of 16 in the 2/4 March. All in all, the judge liked my performance a lot, though he felt that my drones were slightly out of tune with my chanter - and they may well have been. It was very hard to hear my own tuning with all the players warming up in such close proximity, especially considering how low my own chanter is pitched relative to everyone else's. He felt that my blowing was slightly unsteady, something I still need to work on.

June, 2004: two 3rd place finishes in Grade IV Sr. at the Harrisburg Pipes and Drums Festival in Harrisburg, PA. In the Slow March I finished next to last in a pack of 10. Though the judge commented on my unsteady blowing, he liked my execution (& my marching), but hated my tempo. I get the impression that he thought it was less of a Slow March contest than a Slow Air contest (and even called it that at one point), and I played at way too high of a tempo for his tastes. That cost me severely. He didn't like my tuning either, but no other judge faulted it. The chances of me competing in Slow March again are small (since this contest is so rarely held), so I'm not worrying too much about this one - had it not been for the huge mismatch in expectations as to what the contest was about, I probably would have done much better. In the piobaireachd, I landed in the middle of the pack (3-way tie for 7th) of 13. The judge liked it overall, but my slightly unsteady blowing cost me. Also, he couldn't hear one of my gracings. I wish the judge had made more comments, honestly - there's not much guidance on his score sheet. In the 6/8 March, I came in 3rd in a pack of 9. The judge liked it, but thought I was crushing some of my tachums, and had some unsteady blowing. Said I wasn't "musical enough". Maybe I was slipping from compound time a bit, and that's how he's expressing it. He also thought I was too fast, presumably because I was playing at close to a band tempo. In the 2/4 March, I finished 3rd in a pack of 16. The judge liked it, thought I was very bold in the 3rd part, but also that I had some blowing issues, that I was "losing D-throws" (I'll concede they were crushed). He also stated that I'd played too fast, suggesting that I was playing at a band tempo, and should slow it down. Judge liked my pipes, thought my chanter was a tad "coarse". Everyone else described it as "bright & balanced".

The page background is the Walker family tartan, registered by Robert Walker Hawks of Tennessee in 1991.

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Last Updated 10 January 2006, 10:35 PM ET