Today’s contest had moved from Adelaide High School to Scotch College at the last minute due to asbestos removal at the former site ... but overall think the move was good since is a better venue
Also was a really cold day today and as such the contest was held inside the Chapel
Lets start off with the results and then get back to my comments
MARCH PIPES / DRUMS MEDLEYPIPES/DRUM TOTAL
SAP&D 74 31 70 31.5 206.5
CEPB 1 68 33 66 32 199
CALLIES 66 30.5 66 31 193.5
CALLIES 69 30 54 29 182
CEPB 52 32 56 33 173
- Andrew Thomson 63 (CEPB)
- Luke Albrecht 62
- Willian Butterfield 61
- Sue Kempster 60 (CEPB)
- Heather Pennell 60
- Terrance Levett 58 (CEPB)
- Willie Dowie 53 (CEPB)
- Anthony McKenna 51
- Dan Meehan 70
- Willie Dowie 56 (CEPB)
- Luke Albrecht 53
- Sue Kempster 51 (CEPB)
- Peter Whitehead b/d (CEPB)
- Andrew Thomson b/d (CEPB)
- Craig McFadyen b/d
- Andrew Fuller 82
Elementary Tenor Shiela McKenna 70
Sub-Inte Side Claire Whitehead 72 (CEPB)
Now what does this all mean? I may well review these thoughts once I've looked at the recordings of today, but my overall impressions are as follows :-
First its the SAP&D were clearly the best band (as has been the case for the last year), and their medley was well played. However the march set had a bad start and, by their standards, too many errors ... meaning that they were beatable in that event .... so is a pity that we didnt play that well since if we had played at our best we may have got ahead in that half of the contest. The Royal Caledonian Society medley sounded nice to me, and in general would agree that there isn’t much between them and us ...
But lets look at what we did
Our main band played the marches reasonably well .. not at our best, but was reasonable. There were some errors and some problems with Chanters (mainly since had to change reeds at the 13th hour, and didn’t allow for the warmer hall sharpening things up). However the main problem was that our pace dropped right after the rolls .... I need to listen to the recording to work out what happened, but my impression at the time was that pipes and side corps drifted apart quite badly.
The medley started quite well (albeit perhaps too slow on the Piper of Dundee), the break into the air wasn’t quite together, and the strathspeys were well controlled ... but then came disaster. In the High Road to Linton a couple of pipers got lost, made errors and cut out for a while. To me this was so bad that I am surprised we got ahead of the Callies ... think this was again 'simply' nerves, but need to think about how to overcome this issue. Also was a minor problem with the finish ... the long low A need to be held, and this time I think some stopped a little early (or maybe I finished a little late). Again let me listen to the recordings and get back to it
The second band played as well as I had hoped. As we all know I've been unfair to Sue asking her to get all those tunes off quickly .... really takes a little longer to get everyone locked up properly. Also we had a flat chanter, Bass drones falling over in the moisture, and a couple of chanter reeds failing. In reality these are strictly my problem and will try to get them better later --- ie am letting people use light reeds whilst they get on top of things, but as you know my aim is to get everyone up to playing at least medium strength reeds by the end of the year --- and they are far less sensitive to temperature and blowing. So I accept absolutely that there are issues here, and should be much better by the end of the year
On top of this we were a side drummer short and though not a major issue may have created some problems. As for the playing --- we didn’t have the hits and throws together (need to get the timing closer) and other minor issues, but overall the performance was better that I had expected.
Then there are the solos --- and should start of saying I thought Claire sounded very nice, and its a pity that there was no-one else in her grade to give a bit more edge to the performance .. ie she seemed far too relaxed to me!
In the elementary piping Andrew quite rightly won (though would've been ever better if he had played a little slower and put more weight on some of the gracings). Sues fingering sounded musical, but the Bass Drone was too loud for my taste and think was taking so much air that wasnt quite able to keep the chanter sounding at its best. Willie made one very obvious error and got hammered for it meaning that Terrance managed to get ahead of him (with a good solid performance) ... suspect is going to take some time before Willie is allowed to forget this!
Subintermediate wasn’t quite as good for most of our pipers ... both Peter and Andrew were sounding good until they got lost and broke down. Sues bass drone was still taking lots of air resulting in some chanter hassles which I think was putting her off the pace a bit --- also over the last few weeks she has mastered the very strong 6/8 rhythm, but now we need to relax it a little to get more music back into the tune. However the good news is that Willie made up for his errors in the elementary by getting second place .... played Creeks at a relaxed and comfortable pace and though can be improved still (ie is a big gap up to Dan who won the event) it was definitely a nice performance.
Summing up --- I was very happy with the overall performance of the band. Things are getting better, and lets keep our eyes on October next year as a date when we should have a strong competitive grade 4 band.