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Andrew Lenz's bagpipe journeyAndrew
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Andrew's Competition #3 - October 2, 1999

On October 2nd, 1999, I entered my third piping competition, at the Loch Lomond Highland Games at the Highland Park, in Ben Lomond, California. I competed at about 9:00 in the Grade IV Piobaireachd category then again at about 9:45 in the Grade IV Slow March category.

I had to get up about two hours earlier than normal, the competitors' shuttle was to leave the parking lot at 7:30 a.m. Gag. I was really tempted to sleep in.

My instructor, Jay Salter, who was involved running the competition and was also running Santa Cruz Pipes & Drums that day as Pipe Major, took a quick look at the tuning and figured it was close enough. It was pretty cold and foggy. I had the first time experience of having condensation coming out the chanter holes! I wiped off what I could. Surprisingly, my fingers seemed really limber and "on." I think the cold and early hours affected the pipers. Even Nancy who's been piping for five years and is in the band even made a couple "boo-boos" in her tune.

The piobaireachd. Talk about a frustrating experience. Everything was good: reed, blowing, etc. BUT, I was almost too relaxed. I wasn't thinking about the judge, the people, and unfortunately, not even the tune! I wandered off the tune twice after playing it a hundred times in practice great. I was nervous, but I didn't really feel that nervous, it's just a different environment in competition. Maybe my brain was still sleeping.

In the slow march, "Mist Covered Mountains" was a dud, but I wasn't planning to compete in the Slow March until about 36 hours before the event when Jay called and said there was an opening. So I said "sure." I made it though the tune the first part more or less ok, but though the second part I had a hard time with getting all the air into the blowpipe and had to just cut the tune off in the middle of the last line. Jim McColl said, "Need to memorize the tune a bit more." I told him I had been losing air and he seemed to understand.

There wasn't really a lot of pipers competing. I finished 5th in the Piobaireachd and 5th in the Slow March, but there was only 6 pipers in each event! Small turnout. "We'll get 'em next time."

Here's what was on my Piobaireachd Adjudication Sheet:

Contest Site: Loch Lomond, Date: 10/2/99, Name: Andrew Lenz,
WUSPBA Registration Number:
<my number>, Grade: 4, Event: Pio.
Tune: <blank> [Duncan MacRae of Kintail's Lament, Piobaireachd Society Version]

<from the comment area, the only critiquing on the sheet>

Drones a shade off tune at start.
Grip on C a bit heavy
Edre on F need closed in also like also with the C grip

[Jim drew three lines representing the three lines (the first line of the tune repeats), and marked four "X"s indictating errors.]

Points Awarded: 58

Judge's Signature: <James McColl>

Here's what was on my Slow March Adjudication Sheet:

Contest Site: Loch Lomond, Date: 10/2/99, Name: Andrew Lenz,
WUSPBA Registration Number:
<my number>, Grade: 4, Event: Slow March
Tune: Mist-covered Mountains

Tone and Tuning:





Is tune selection appropriate:

<from the comment area:>

[Jim drew eight lines representing the lines of the tune), and marked seven "X"s indictating errors, including two labelled "choke."]

Missed a gracenote [first time though, first line on the repeat]

Missed out half a bar. [second time though, first line on the repeat]

Missed a little [second time though, second line on the repeat]

Need to memorize this a little better

Points Awarded: 50

Judge's Signature: <James McColl>

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