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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:54 am 
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Location: Rockport, MA
It's that time of year again. 5:30AM EST (10:30 GMT) today, August 15th. Some of it will be replayed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e36c8g

-John

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:34 am 
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I'll be watching this tonight, thanks for the reminder!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:07 pm 
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If you do watch them, I think you'll find the medleys the most interesting. The MSRs (March, Strathspey & Reels) are like the compulsories in figure skating; very traditional and conservative in form. Still very beautiful I think, but after a few videos, you'll start to hear many of the same tunes. For convenience if you don't want to scroll through, here are medleys from the top 4:

Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia 1st Place overall WORLD CHAMPIONS (2nd Place drums)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zs0t6

Saint Laurence O'Toole 2nd Place overall. DRUM CHAMPIONS
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zrxlr

Inverary & District. 3rd Place (My favorite medley)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zrxgb

Field Marshall Montgomery 4th Place (World Champions last 4 years. Spectacular piping in this medley, but drums gave them a lower placement)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zrxw3

And here is the tabulation of results:

The first table shows Medley results with columns from: the 1st piping judge, 2nd piping judge, drumming judge and ensemble judge.
The second table shows MSR results with columns from: the 1st piping judge, 2nd piping judge, drumming judge and ensemble judge.
The third table shows the combined results and overall placing.

-John


Attachments:
2015 Medley.JPG
2015 Medley.JPG [ 98.89 KiB | Viewed 1540 times ]
2015 MSR.JPG
2015 MSR.JPG [ 102.99 KiB | Viewed 1540 times ]
2015 Combined.JPG
2015 Combined.JPG [ 77.99 KiB | Viewed 1540 times ]

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John Whittaker
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:19 pm 
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I was quite mesmerized with the touch and feeling that the top 2 lines played with. It seems to me that the
St. Laurence O'Toole group played a slightly more exposed book than did the Shotts & Dykehead ensemble.
I was impressed with the tenor technique. This shows you what single tenors can do for the overall ensemble
sound when played properly. I could listen to this style of drumming for hours. What a display!

Other observations and/or questions:

1. One of the tenor players from the Shotts group is the spitting image of Kim Kardashian.
2. The single bass of each group seems to be in charge of the entire feel of the ensemble.
3. It must have taken years to perfect the tenor mallet technique and it seems if you
were approached in a dark alley you could actually use this as a means of self-defense.
4. Was that Jim Kilpatrick in the Shotts group?
5. Are these groups neighborhood based or is it like in the U.S. where you audition regardless
of where you live? Are they supported by churches or other civic groups?
6. How did the inward facing circle come about and why doesn't the judge move into the
circle so he can get a better look at technique,etc..?
7. And my guess is that there's no G.E. judge. What a breath of fresh air!
8. Nice to see a lack of "expressive moves" among the groups at this competition.
9. Nice to hear a phrase without the annoying ear piercing sound of rim shots.
10. Also nice to see older guys playing and enjoying music. No age limits I'm guessing.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:32 am
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Location: Rockport, MA
Spirit Snare 80 wrote:
I was quite mesmerized with the touch and feeling that the top 2 lines played with. It seems to me that the
St. Laurence O'Toole group played a slightly more exposed book than did the Shotts & Dykehead ensemble.
I was impressed with the tenor technique. This shows you what single tenors can do for the overall ensemble
sound when played properly. I could listen to this style of drumming for hours. What a display!

Other observations and/or questions:

1. One of the tenor players from the Shotts group is the spitting image of Kim Kardashian.
2. The single bass of each group seems to be in charge of the entire feel of the ensemble.
3. It must have taken years to perfect the tenor mallet technique and it seems if you
were approached in a dark alley you could actually use this as a means of self-defense.
4. Was that Jim Kilpatrick in the Shotts group?
5. Are these groups neighborhood based or is it like in the U.S. where you audition regardless
of where you live? Are they supported by churches or other civic groups?
6. How did the inward facing circle come about and why doesn't the judge move into the
circle so he can get a better look at technique,etc..?
7. And my guess is that there's no G.E. judge. What a breath of fresh air!
8. Nice to see a lack of "expressive moves" among the groups at this competition.
9. Nice to hear a phrase without the annoying ear piercing sound of rim shots.
10. Also nice to see older guys playing and enjoying music. No age limits I'm guessing.


I'm glad you liked this, Dennis! I'm no expert, but have been playing this style for quite a while now, so here's my take on it:

1. Hahaha! There seems to be a trend among established bands to have young, photogenic tenor drummers. Of course, first and foremost, they play really well. But pipe and snare corps are becoming more co-ed too. So many players start in juvenile bands on all instruments and they encourage girls to join.
2. The bass drum is the heart and soul of the band and not just for timing. They play a lot of light and shade and with the best players you can hear the tune being played all by itself. Some top bands have experimented with 2 bass drums, but not as much in the last few years as far as I can tell.
3. I can do a few basic flourishing tenor moves. It was a lot harder than I thought and it can hurt when you hit yourself in the face! The biggest complaint I hear from tenors is their skin being made raw around their fingers from the straps or bruises on their left thigh because there's no leg rest.
4. Indeed, it was Jim.
5. Yes and no. Some of the top bands have players fly from overseas to play. Some like Boghall & Bathgate are mostly homegrown and have a huge feeder system of juvenile and lower grade bands. Many towns there have bands that are supported by churches or local communities and there are military bands as well. The top bands seem to have corporate sponsorship, though I don't think they get funding at anywhere near the level of DCI. Now, I have no idea about how DCI gets money but it looks like they have much deeper pockets than in the Pipe Band World. Still it's kind of an anachronism to have an organization called "Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band".
6. I'm not sure, but they have to stay back a certain distance. It would be interesting to have a judge for each corp in the middle. I think it came about because Pipes are directional and the sound is more cohesive coming out of the back. Also, the snares seem to project more from the back and you don't hear as much of the top end as you would inside the circle. At any rate it is like we're in a huddle and you don't want to give away your game plan! The snare judge at least can see everything from the side and the good ones can hear every mistake from the back. I think it gives a better representation of sound from behind as well. And they do sit in front of you when you play solos, but in that case they're totally focused on your technique and expression. For solos (you actually are accompanied by a piper), they will be concerned with your snare sound and if you're complimenting the melody. But they're not as concerned with how well you're blending with the pipe sound because even if the pipes break down,which occasionally happens in solos, you just keep playing.
7. There is an ensemble judge, but I don't think he/she is dedicated to "general effect". And I don't think any of the judges would score or comment based on choice of tune (or snare score) unless the band is playing material above their grade level and not cutting it. Each of the other judges will be concerned with the musicality within the sections they're focused on as well as technique. The ensemble judge will be concerned with the over musical balance between sections, if the snare phrasing is supporting the pipes, if the bass is too loud, etc. They will listen for the sound balance between pipes and drums, if there are tempo issues between the pipes, snare, tenor & bass sections and basically how it sounds as a total band. And in the case of a tie between bands, ensemble score wins. They certainly aren't concerned with the visual aspect and even the tenor flourishing isn't counted as part of the scoring; just what they play on the drums. There are certain basic uniform requirements and deportment that might be addressed if it's an issue in a lower grade band. But at this level, everyone polishes up their instrument and shoes, presses their shirt, vest & kilt and move into the circle in pretty much the same way.
8. In this idiom there's no interpretive dance. No one does "The Wave". There are certain rules that state how you march up to the line and how you march into the circle. When you're in the circle, after one part (or a part and a half) the only movement should be the Pipe Major, Lead Snare and Bass Drummer's foot, the tenor drummer's flourishing and occasionally the bass drummer's flourishing. When you finish, you're supposed to march off in an orderly fashion.
9. Muscling through phrases; basically anything that overpowers the pipes is a no-no. And if we do rim shots with our light weight sticks, they'll likely snap.
10. Yes. Bill Livingston is a piper for the Toronto Police PB and I believe he's in his 70's, still going strong. It used to be that you got into it because of Scottish heritage. Now if you're a good player, it doesn't matter what your ethnicity, height, weight, sex or age is. The demographics are changing daily and it really is an equal opportunity activity, but that wasn't always the case. Back in the day, women who tried to pipe would get their hands cut off. Starting in the mid 1940's there might have been the occasional "female" band, especially in Canada: "The Heather Bells Ladies", "Sprigs o' Heather Girls" are a couple I've heard of. We had the "St. Andrew's Ladies Pipe Band" in the Boston area 20 odd years back. When I started in our band in the early 90's, there was one "female", as the Pipe Major said. Now it's about 30% for our band; much higher for others.

-John

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