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Jim Fogelman 09-24-2017 09:40 PM

Your first time competing
Since the latest Blogpipe post on pipes|drums is about Andrew's first time competing solo, it got me thinking about mine (since he asks for readers to share their first time stories as well). This was originally going to be a comment on the blog post, but I decided instead to make it a new thread here and maybe get some life to this specific section.

My first solo contest was the 2015 Queen Mary Games. By this point I had already been playing pipes and competing with the band for about a decade. The grade 4 solos there are relegated to two general areas: in the sun on the top deck of the ship, or the echo chamber of the second to top deck. My first event was the 2/4 March and was on the sunny top deck. There were three leets for each event for grade 4 - one for under 18, the other 18 and up; I was in one of the 18 and up events with 15 competitors in my leet.

I played 25th KOSB's Farewell to Meerut. I was a little nervous; it was my first solo competition and I had just come back to my band after a 5 year hiatus to finish my degree and teaching credential. I was a little eager to prove myself to the band (and the PM at the time) that I still knew what I was doing. Even though it wasn't required for grade 4, I marched for all four parts of the march, something the judge thanked me for when I finished.

After I finished my 2/4, I went down one deck to the echo chamber to play my 6/8, Pipe Major Sam Scott.This one used to be a band tune back in the day, so I spent less time worrying about it. I should have spent a little more time looking at it because I kept playing a wrong note at the end of each part. I was going to march to this one as well, but the floor of this deck was much slicker and the last thing I wanted was to slip and fall and break a drone.

For both events, the PM of our organizations then grade 3 band was watching and had only good things to say - other than the wrong note in each ending of Sam Scott.

When the results came out, I wasn't surprised to see my name not on the prize list for the 6/8 march, not with regular wrong notes. I was, however, surprised to see that I took 6th place (out of 15) in the 2/4.

As the season progressed, I got more confident, taking 3 first places (including 2 at the biggest games on the west coast) and moving up to grade 3 for the following season. I'm still in grade 3, but that's because last season I was more focused on helping get the band ready to go to Scotland for the Worlds and this season my wife had our first child and I only competed in one solo contest.

EagleJCS 09-25-2017 04:09 PM

Re: Your first time competing

Originally Posted by Jim Fogelman (Post 1318799)
There were three leets for each event for grade 4 - one for under 18, the other 18 and up; I was in one of the 18 and up events with 15 competitors in my leet.

Cool story and congrats on the kiddo. Just one question: what's a leet? Not a term I've come across in competitions before. :hmm::confused:

The online dictionary gives either an archaic "English lords court" or the online 'language' that uses a combination of letters and numbers, e.g. l33t (leet) or l8r (later).

Andrew Lenz 09-25-2017 05:11 PM

Re: Your first time competing
Dang. We have a word that's not in my piper's dictionary!!

This is the first time in years that I've had to add a word.

So, anyway, a leet is a subgroup of a competition event. You have 100 pipers. It's not practical to have all 100 judged by one judge, so you break the 100 into 5 leets of 20, for example. Those leets may or may not later play in playoffs to determine the overall winner.


Leong 09-25-2017 08:19 PM

Re: Your first time competing
From the Dictionary of the Scots Language:

LEET, n.2, v.1 Also †lite, †lyte, †leit(t), †liet.

I. n. 1. A list of candidates or nominees eligible for a post or office, gen. the select list of those considered the most suitable, the long or short leet (see below) (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c. Also of any list of persons.

bob864 09-25-2017 09:13 PM

Re: Your first time competing
My first solo event was the piobaireachd at Stone Mountain. Probably 8 years ago. Stone Mountain is the end of the season. I've always played better in piobaireached than light music. So I only entered the piob event.

I won first place. I was really psyched.

Then next season I added 2/4 march at Loch Norman. My score sheet said "crossing noises. work on the basics." What a let down. But it was spot on.

It's kind of strange, but all this time I've always played piobaireachd best when I'm at my lessons, but overall I've done better in light music.

el gaitero 09-26-2017 08:04 AM

Re: Your first time competing
Not quite my first time....but after several seasons in the mid '70's I tried to make a habit of entering all the available gr 3 solo contests at each game insofar as I would be there anyway with the band.
They were usually only a 2/4 March and S/R. Occasionally rarely,a 6/8 March .

At one games I didn't enter the 6/8 until after much prodding 'on the day' by bandsmen, PM, other guys , etc....I didn't feel I was ready to go out against the field of entrants playing my The Laird of Blochairn tune.

Well,..grudgingly I did...kicking and screaming...; Color me surprised taking 1st.

classicbagpipes 10-02-2017 06:23 AM

Re: Your first time competing
Reading Andrew's blog on the first time competing, brought back my thoughts as well.
It as at the second year of the Alma Mi. games. I do recall that at the time there was no graded competition but just ages I was in the beginner 18 and over.
I arrived at the games early on fully expecting to play in the am and then sit and enjoy the band competition in the afternoon. Not so, they had so many soloists that they kept putting off the our competition and then it got to be later and later and I ended up not playing my solo competition until 730 pm, under a street light in the college parking lot.
The judge was the man who had actually started the games the previous year.
I do recall that there were 3 competitors total. One played Brown Haired Maiden and High Road to Gairloch. The next played 79ths farewell to Gibralter. I came on and played the Renfrewshire Militia. It was a tune that I had heard on a recording and liked it and somehow tracked down the music. It was way over my head but I recall that I did a reasonable job of it and won first prize. From then on I was hooked on solo competition and later on with bands.
I did notice that in the new A&SH collection of music just out this year that I found they had published this tune in the book.
But that's my story on the first time competing.

Padre 10-02-2017 09:45 PM

Re: Your first time competing
I've never competed on the bagpipes, but I do play word games on the computer and I've already used "leet" to good effect this week. This old dog appreciates that new trick!

Klondike Waldo 10-10-2017 02:52 PM

Re: Your first time competing
My first competition was at Loon Mtn in 1981. I had been Chief Steward the previous two years and had just taken up piping ( and a new career- long story). I placed just out of the medals in the Gr IV March., the same the next year in Gr III. The following year I took 1st in Gr 3 at Glens Falls and 3rd in the "Open" at Colby College. ("Open" meant any piper not from the State of Maine). The following year I started playing for weddings and such, so instead of spending a few hundred$$ to play a few minutes before a judge, I'd play an hour or so once, or even three times on the weekend and get paid for it. Since then, I've only competed in the LBPS Overseas Division Contest playing my own compositions where I've placed third once and second three times, and have entered compositions in tune contests- no winners, exactly , but have had them published and recognized.

Mac an t-Sealgair 11-23-2017 02:42 AM

Re: Your first time competing

Originally Posted by Jim Fogelman (Post 1318799)
the last thing I wanted was to slip and fall and break a drone.

1st thought on a pipers mind, forget about breaking a leg WHIT ABOOT MA DRONES!!!!! :grin:

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