Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It's August once again and us faithful pilgrims make our way to Glasgow Green, the World's and a week of Piping Live. Some of us have been making this trek for more years than we care to remember - how long is a lifetime? 1966 was my initiation - way back when jetplanes were not the medium of travel... we travelled in a turbo-prop - yes a propeller plane - 14 hours each way! Regardless of the time or money spent, this was the beginning of a lifelong love affair - a passion that burns as strong today as ever. But the scene has changed... Piping Live makes it a weekly event with superb entertainment condensed into a short few days. The actual World's Championship is almost anticlimatic... big ticket prices for grandstand seating... over-priced merchandise... inclement weather often... Glasgow Green service amenities like the food concessions and beer tent that need some dire upgrading... and a Grade One Championship that is predictable and even biased in favor of the pre-qualified bands. Here are the facts: The qualifying system which is made up of predominantly non UK based bands will DQ 10 of 15 bands from having two plays in the final. Yet the league table pre-qualifiers are all UK based - 6 of 12 to be exact... the very bands that spend the most and travel the farthest have the least chance of making it through to the final. To make matters worse, the qualifying event starts at 9 am - a time when it is almost impossible to avoid moisture concerns. Any fortunate band to make it to the final is faced with the unenviable task of three plays on the day - a hurculean effort is needed. The odds-on favorite must be one of the 6 pre-qualified UK bands. Fact - The World's Pipe Band Champion has never come from the qualifying event. Fact - The World's Pipe Band Champion has never come from outside the top 3 in the league table or the international pre-qualifiers! Fact - the Championship needs all the bands to make it a complete day's event. It is the 15 bands that attempt to qualify that are the heart and soul of the WPBC. Let's give them more of a stage! I will certainly be watching from the stands and by August 15, drop my bets at Ladbrokes or Thomas Hill; risking becoming the Pete Rose of the pipe band world! Who knows? Longshots anyone?....
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I am reading blogs much more while I am on the road teaching this summer. For one, it keeps me in touch with my own reality. Michael Grey touched a superb point on pipe bands and you-tube recordings - well worth the read at http://www.dunaber.com/2009/07/07/pipe-bands-and-youtube/ ... thanks Mike.... the critique aisles are full of those who slag the judges or the bands for what is perceived as a bad call or performance.... I received this from one of my closest friends after the World's qualifier last year. In his opinion, my result was totally out in left field. In hindsight, that is exactly where he sat with his new mp3 recorder - left field. I was perched in right field as my fellow adjudicators had control of the rest of the playing area. Needless to say, I missed some negative stuff over on the other side and had a band higher than I would have, if I had been placed with my compatriot. But, judging is a team sport and it was covered in the summary consensus. The band in question did not qualify for the final. Does that make me a bad judge? Does that say that from some vantage point the band didn't play well.... well, sideline adjudicators off you-tube and contest mp3 recordings, just sit back and reconsider ill-advised suggestions that can color and harm future endeavors... thanks Mike for giving me an opening!