Friday, April 4, 2008


Band practice was last night, and I was asked to come in on Sunday for the Grade 4 practice. This is going to be really interesting.

First of all, since I don't seem to be catching on with the drum score, they asked me if I would like to try tenor.

Um, sure. Why not?

So I walked into a different room and worked out with the tenor drummers. This was pretty interesting since the lead tenor was amazed when I told him I started out my drumming career with tenor drumming. He asked me if I could read music--I told him I've been in choir for like onto 40 years off and on, and that I've been drumming for 20 of those same 40 years, but only off and on..but sure, I can read music. I know whole, half, quarter, eigth, sixteen etc...sometimes I don't get the phrasing quite right, but I'm willing to look at it.

They put a couple of sticks in my hands, and while they weren't flourishing sticks, I played about with them. I don't know all the flourishing symbols yet, but what can I say---it's different now than it was 20 years ago.

When I was the only tenor, and I didn't have to play what everyone else did, and I could ad-lib to my hearts content.

That's when they asked if I wanted to come on Sunday for the special practice for Grade 4 AND a small tenor clinic with Pete Whalen--who will likely work with the bass drummer, and perhaps not so much with the tenors. Beyond which, I have never seen Pete play tenor, and I don't know if he knows all the flourishing techniques. Beyond that they were going to give me a dvd of Lisa Frazier who I met 22 years or so ago when I first started playing tenor. I had been at it about 10 weeks or so...and I'm out on the grass working out, and she walks up and asks me how long I'd been playing, because she'd never seen me before, and when I told her, she nearly had a heart attack--

"GET OUT!" she says "You've been at this for at least 5 years!"

I swear, I had only been playing about 10 weeks. We'd just had a competition 2 weeks earlier in Glascow, Kentucky, just 8 weeks after starting tenor, and was asked by the Glen Erin Pipe Band to play with them in competition.

It was the beginning of a long road of bagpipe bands. Anyway, I wanted to buy a set of Lisa's sticks, but was as poor as a church mouse at the time, and couldn't afford them. I haven't seen her at Alma, Michigan's Highland Games since that time.

So in the space of a couple of weeks, the band and one of the premier tenor instructors of my time gave me the two biggest compliments. These things have been what has carried me through my life in bagpipe bands.

I talked with my hubby about the clinic, and he's not really happy about it. He doesn't want me to get deeply involved with another band. He isn't the slightest bit interested in bagpipe bands, and I sure wish he would try. It would make my life just that much happier.

Something happens to me if I watch a bagpipe band from the sidelines. The blood starts to tingle, and something deep and primal rises up inside, and if I'm not playing with them, I start to cry. It's almost as if my blood is going back to the time of Culloden, and I'm out there with my fellows, dying on the field...or that I lost a husband there in a previous life. (Not that I believe in such things mind you, but the grief is so strong it's nearly stifling!)

So when I am NOT playing in a band, my heart fairly yearns. I miss Grand Rapids at times, but not one of them has tried to contact me--and only the person who booted me out has so much as emailed me back a thank you for a joke I sent him. I have no idea what their problem is.

But I was fairly anxious about Pete Whalen coming to Flint to work with the tenors, because of course, he's going to see me there, and I can't control that he's going to tell people at Grand Rapids (since he lives there). I will ask him to keep it under wraps, but if someone is reading this blog STILL, after all this time (and I can't imagine why they would eavesdrop in such a way after what was done to me), they already know. So all the anxiety this morning was for naught, frankly.

Tomorrow, the plan is to work on taxes. Tonight is easy dinner night and I'm going to knit. At the office, I started a butterfly washcloth. I did another tribble today but the cotton yarn is indeed affecting my wrist. I have Icy-Hot on it as we it were.

So, I'm off to read some email, and then to knitting!

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