Keydet Piper I'm thinking bagpipes

Monthly Archives: June 2010

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New beginnings

And another chapter in the life of the Keydet Piper has come to a close. As of yesterday, after submitting my students’ semester grades and attending the final faculty meeting, I am no longer employed by Fryeburg Academy. It’s been four years since I moved to Maine, and I’ve really enjoyed my time here, but it’s time to move on.

I’ve received many comments and compliments from my students and colleagues over the past few days, and many of them have said they’re going to miss my bagpipes. My piping has come a long way since I moved to Maine actually, in spite of the fact that there’s not a very high concentration of pipers in northern New England.

When I moved here, I was competing in grade 3 solos with no real intentions of moving up. I won piper of the day at the New Hampshire Highland Games in 2006, then again at a very small indoor contest at the end of October, and at the recommendation of the judge there I decided to apply for an upgrade. My initial request to move to grade 2 was denied, but I appealed and was moved up. I had no intention of moving beyond grade 2 at the time, until a judge at the Maine Highland Games in 2008 made a rather casual comment that I wouldn’t be in grade 2 for much longer. I set the goal of moving up after 2009, and IĀ achievedĀ that goal.

I also joined a band not long after moving, the newly-promoted grade 4 Graham Highlanders of St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont. I played with them for 2007 and 2008, then left to focus on my solo competitions. I met some good people in the band, and have a few very close friends from that experience.

Enough suspense already: where am I going? I’ll be moving to the Washington, DC area to start a graduate program at the University of Maryland in College Park. I’m pursuing a master’s degree in nuclear engineering, with the intention of working in the nuclear industry. I’m pretty excited about that,

I’ll still be actively piping, and will be competing with MacMillan Pipe Band at the following venues in 2010 (there may be some others I have missed). Hope to see you there!

  • Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, Ontario, July 31
  • Virginia Scottish Games, The Plains, VA, September 5
  • Ligonier Highland Games, Ligonier, PA, September 11, 2010
  • Celtic Classic, Bethlehem, PA, September 24-26

Curse my bad memory

I guess I should technically post one of my results pages for the competition I played this past weekend, but since I was the only competitor in grade 1 I don’t really classify it as a competition. There was something funny that I think is worth sharing.

I was working the day as the EUSPBA’s official monitor, a duty I’ve executed several times before. I wouldn’t exactly describe it as fun, but I enjoy it, and it’s neat to be behind the scenes and helping to make things run smoothly. On Saturday I did a bit of monitoring, listened to some competitors play, and began to prepare for my own performances.

As I was changing my clothes, I had a moment of panic when I realized that I had forgotten to bring my kilt. I’ve never done that for a competition before, and for any other competition in my career I’d have been out of luck. This particular event, however, was the closest competition I’ve ever done, just 12 miles from home. I actually had time to run home to get my kilt.

The funny thing here is that this is the only time I’ve forgotten my kilt, and the only time where I was in a position to do something about it. The only event I ever did that was close enough for me to run home in the middle of the day is when I actually did need to run home in the middle of the day.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Please share!

A new use for bagpipes?

One of my favorite blogs is There I Fixed It, a collection of kludges and impromptu fixes from the I Can Has Cheezburger family of websites. This was posted on it this afternoon:

I still can’t get over the fact that the pipes just wouldn’t work for this job, for several reasons. First, the air pressure in the bag (maybe 1.5 psi) is significantly less than that of a tire (20 psi or so). Air goes from high pressure to low, so if anything it would flow back into the bag. Second, too much air would be lost from the drones and the holes on the chanter that the air pressure at the bottom of the chanter is definitely not enough to inflate the tire.

People and their misconceptions drive me crazy.