Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Check out my compositions.

I have composed a few tunes and have some others in the works. I've also done some bagpipe arrangements of a couple of LDS hymns and a tune for a friend of mine, Rose. You can check out her blog HERE. She's done a very good job.

Anyway, it was suggested in a comment that I should post my compositions on this blog, and I thought that was a great idea. After all, that is part of my bagpipe experience and I'm proud of my pieces as simple as they might be.

So, if you'll take a check out the right column you'll find a table with some of these tunes posted for download.

I hope anyone who happens across this blog and downloads these tunes will find them fun, but if not - oh well ... I like them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oooh! I almost forgot!

I did get my son and I registered for solo competition this year. I decided to get it in early and I didn't bother "discussing" with my son whether or not he wanted to solo this next year. That was one of the problems last year that made us late; Teagan just wasn't sure he wanted to compete and I didn't want to fork out the money if he wasn't going to.

WUSPBA allows for a discount if there is more than one competitor in a family. That means that if Teagan and I sign up together the total cost is $35. However, if we don't sign up before the January 15th deadline then we each have to pay $35. That obviously doubles our fee.

When the deadline came and went and we were late, I just decided to bag it for the 2008 season and take a break from solo competition. I think both of us regreted the decision, but them's the breaks!

Anyway, this year we'll be back competing again.

Band Party and Announcements

Teagan and I attended the band party last night. We dropped in a few minutes late and the feast had already begun. Ian had purchased about 20 pizzas and there were lots of pot luck treats available. Unfortunately I'd just eatten and wasn't very hungry, but I did have a piece of pizza and a couple of soft drinks.

I was mainly there to hear about the upcoming year and find out what was going to happen with the grade IV band. There had been a proposal to move the entire grade IV band up to grade III and I wasn't very thrilled about the idea. I feel like the grade IV is a little more relaxed and not as uptight about things.

The PM of grade IV does get frustrated with things from time to time, but it has always been a rare occassion and for the most part understandable. On the other hand I've seen there is far more pressure in grade III and from my experience it just isn't as fun. Perhaps as I get better my opinion will change, but for now that's the way it appears to me.

The other concern I have had is that the grade III gets a lot of gigs and yet the grade IV rarely gets an invite to perform. Interestingly the ranks of the grade III band have depleated. I've talked to one of the pipers who is probably ready to move up to grade III, but he said he will probably stay in grade IV for another year because he likes it better. Anyway, I wanted to find out if the grade IV band would be invited to play in more gigs this year.

Good news on both counts! The grade IV band will remain intact without a mass movement to grade III, and the grade IV band will be invited to play in more gigs. I'm very excited about both of these announcements, and my son even said it sounded like we would have a fun year next year. Cool!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pipe Band Forum

Response to tartan weight for band kilts

I've made two kilts and am working on a third right now.

I have taken two classes from Elsie Stuehmeyer author of the book
The Art of Kiltmaking. She is very opinionated about kilts and has literally made thousands of kilts for all purposes.

The first kilt I made in her class was a 13 oz. Colquhoun weathered. Being my first kilt I didn't want to put out a lot of money for material. I love the kilt and it swings every bit as good as my 16 oz. band kilt. The main problem with light weight kilts is that they don't hide the stitching and minor flaws as well. By the way I'm wearing this kilt in my avatar picture.

The second kilt I made was from a 15 oz. tartan (Highland Granite). It's a beautiful kilt and one I'm very proud of. I made it for my wife who has perfect curves (hour glass shape). Unfortunately it's a lot tougher to get the pleats and aprons to fit these beautiful lines. I think if I'd used a lighter weight it would have been a tough to get the fabric to move the way I needed it to while stitching it. In the end it turned out very nice.

I'm also making two more kilts of this same fabric for my son who is nearly straight (waist to hips), and me (the opposite of my wifes curves). I'm happy with my light weight kilt, and if it was being professionally done, I wouldn't have much concern about the weight.

BTW: There is a photo on
this page of me working on my son's kilt.

Pipe Band Forum - response to thread about Recording the Bagpipes

A few years ago my oldest daughter was dating a guy who played in a local rock band. His band had been together for several years and were mostly working local clubs and saving money to do their own CD.

On their first date he popped a CD into his car stereo and out came bagpipe music. My daughter asked him about it and he said he was a big fan of bagpipes.

A few weeks later he came over while I was practicing and knew several of the tunes I was playing (besides STB and AG). Just after my daughter and he broke up he called me and asked me if I would be willing to play the pipes on an intro to one of the tunes on their CD. He was willing to pay me, but he had treated my daughter well and they were still friends so I decided to do it as a favor and to have some fun.

The studio was fairly small and they had been recording each song in parts (vocals, precussion, guitar, etc.). I came in after much of the precussion had been recorded, so I had a beat to follow. I played a fairly simple tune (Farewell to Camraw by Robert Mathieson) for the intro.

By the way, knowing that they would be selling this CD, I wrote to Robert Mathieson and got permission to record it. He was very obliging.

To get the best recording, the technician miked the chanter and drones seperately and then put an additional mic in an adjacent room with the door open. I recorded several tracks with the drums playing through headphones.

In the end, I got a copy of the CD and it sounded pretty good although there was one spot where the drum beat was a little ahead of the tune (probably only noticed by me).

FYI: my daughter got married in September - to someone else