I recently posted a video of my first competition with MacMillan Pipe Band at the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival, and since then videos of the other bands in the contest have been posted as well.
The videos are presented here in order of play, which was also, coincidentally, the order of placing. This was the grade 3 band MSR contest that took place on April 24, 2010.
1st place: MacMillan Pipe Band, Rockville, MD
Tunes: Balmoral Highlanders, Susan MacLeod, Colonel MacLeod
2nd place: Saffron United Pipe Band, Babylon, NY
Tunes: Pipe Major Willie Gray’s Farewell to the Glasgow Police, Dornie, Ferry, Fiona MacLeod
3rd place: Greater Richmond Pipes & Drums, Richmond, VA
Tunes: Captain Carswell, Highland Harry, Kalabakan
Just before my first competition with MacMillan Pipe Band, I discovered that my bag was leaking. This is of course bad, since leaking air means the piper has to work harder to keep the bag filled. The leak wasn’t huge, but there was a noticeable hiss of escaping air with the stocks corked. I managed to pinpoint the leak to the seam at the rear of the bag, just behind the zipper and determined that the injury was fatal. The bag had had a long life of good service (I’m estimating a good five years or so), and I knew it had to happen sometime.
The bag wasn’t quite dead, however, and with a competition in just a few days I was not in a position to pull the plug. With the limited time, I did what any self-respecting piper would do: I improvised. With a bit of superglue and duct tape, I was able to triage the patient until I could get a new bag.
The replacement arrived yesterday, and I spent the evening tying it in and giving the pipes a general maintenance overhaul. I’m about to try it out, so we’ll see how it goes.
Though I’ve been successfully playing a Ross bag for some years (and have been strictly on synthetic for more than a decade), I’m not opposed to trying new products. The new bag is a Gannaway, which I decided on after trying a few sets of pipes in the band for comfort, and it is a hide bag. I’m a bit out of practice with those, so it will need some good playing time to get used to it. I’ll keep you posted.