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Jim Fogelman 09-24-2017 08:40 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 03:09 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

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 04:11 PM

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

http://bagpipejourney.com/articles/dictionary.shtml

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.

Andrew

Leong 09-25-2017 07:19 PM

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

LEET, n.2, v.1 Also Ülite, Ülyte, Üleit(t), Üliet.
[lit]


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 08:13 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 07:04 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 05:23 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 08:45 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 01:52 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 01:42 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

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:

Pip01 12-02-2017 09:39 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Leong (Post 1318816)
From the Dictionary of the Scots Language:

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


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.



The OED also gives definition... though variant...
(There being more in Heaven & Earth... than in just one lexicon. :)



Pppiper 05-21-2018 12:09 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
I wanted to let you know that this forum thread was the inspiration for an article that I ended up writing and submitting to The Voice, which is the EUSPBA's quarterly newsletter.

Starts on page 15, you should be able to use the following link:
http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001IPXLQ...X9cyIkqKmHnQ==

It's rather lengthy (constant habit of mine), but it's my hope that the experiences noted might serve as insightful for others.

Cheers,
~Nate

Steven Knox 05-21-2018 01:23 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Nice article. Since you were too humble to mention it, I'll point out that your 1st in piobaireachd was a 1st out of 10. :)

Pppiper 05-21-2018 01:31 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steven Knox (Post 1327318)
Nice article. Since you were too humble to mention it, I'll point out that your 1st in piobaireachd was a 1st out of 10. :)

Ha, you're very kind. Yes, I was quite thrilled.

It's gone fairly well since, piobaireachd in particular. I'm certainly glad, but I've got a long way to go. Strathspey/Reel in the competition style is a tough area for me, though I do seem to be improving. It's mostly a matter of my getting comfortable .. a lot different from a Cape Breton dance hall and the like! Plenty of work to do.

Hope to see you out there one of these days. Cheers!

~Nate

SGT Ted 05-22-2018 07:24 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
I had played my pipes as a street band grade piper from 1988 until 2003 and then took a long break. I started playing again in 2014 and decided to get serious with taking lessons in 2015 with the goal of competing the next year.


My first time competing was in 2016 at the Redding Solo Competition in Grade 4. I took 2nd in 2/4, 1st in Slow air and 2nd in Piob, winning aggregate for G4. I was stunned.

Pppiper 05-22-2018 07:35 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SGT Ted (Post 1327336)
I had played my pipes as a street band grade piper from 1988 until 2003 and then took a long break. I started playing again in 2014 and decided to get serious with taking lessons in 2015 with the goal of competing the next year.

My first time competing was in 2016 at the Redding Solo Competition in Grade 4. I took 2nd in 2/4, 1st in Slow air and 2nd in Piob, winning aggregate for G4. I was stunned.

That's awesome, good for you. Glad you found your way back to playing!

Newbie question ... what's "aggregate?" Is that like "Piper of the Day," where you had the best overall results for the grade that day?

Cheers,
~Nate

SGT Ted 05-22-2018 07:42 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Yes, its the overall winner for grade.

Pppiper 05-22-2018 07:43 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SGT Ted (Post 1327339)
Yes, its the overall winner for grade.

Gotchya, thanks. I've heard "Piper of the Day" .. but not "aggregate."

Tomato, tomato.

Cheers,
~Nate

Mac an t-Sealgair 05-22-2018 09:50 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Well done Pppiper, and good article. It's nice to read about someone else going, or in your case already gone, through the return to competing.
I'm on that journey just now, competition coming up soon. It will be my first competition of any sort since 2001, and first solo since 1998. I've forgotten more than I know. I'm just taking the comp as a fact finding mission with the added bonus of getting to play.

Pppiper 05-22-2018 09:52 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac an t-Sealgair (Post 1327344)
Well done Pppiper, and good article. It's nice to read about someone else going, or in your case already gone, through the return to competing.
I'm on that journey just now, competition coming up soon. It will be my first competition of any sort since 2001, and first solo since 1998. I've forgotten more than I know. I'm just taking the comp as a fact finding mission with the added bonus of getting to play.

Right on .. best of luck to you. As a very wonderful judge said to me a couple of days ago ... "just play music; that's what it's about."

All the best, and have fun!

Cheers,
~Nate

bob864 05-30-2018 03:23 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by classicbagpipes (Post 1318974)
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.

Reading too quickly I thought you said that /you/ had played Brown Hair--High Road.

Good mental image there ;-)

BTW, wife and I have been working up an arrangement of your Bill Sawyer on smallpipe and fiddle. She's got a high E harmonic drone that really fits.

Mainebagpipes 06-01-2018 03:39 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
My first time was in 2003 - maybe a year and a half after I got going - at the NH Indoor Scottish Festival. I don't remember much about it, other than being nervous and not having a clue what I was doing. I think I placed fourth or fifth in the marches, but I don't really remember.

Back in April I did my first competition since 2004, at the same venue, after three or four years completely away from the instrument. I was feeling badly out of practice and was expecting I wouldn't do well. I wound up first in piobaireachd and the 2/4 march, and second in the 6/8. I also had above grade marks, and got a mid-season upgrade to Grade 3. Apparently I'm ahead of where I thought I was, because the upper-grade pipers who've heard me play since April seem to think I should be somewhere in Grade 2, prompting me to find an instructor ASAP.

Mac an t-Sealgair 06-19-2018 02:35 PM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Played my first competition in 20 years, the other month.

Whilst I didn't have the unmitigated success of some of you. I was happy to get through my tunes and lay a marker down. A base point for me to work from. Lots to do to improve, and polish here and there.

I wasn't nervous at all, which was weird. I could have just been playing in my kitchen, until I finished my 2/4 and the crowd applauded. Whoaa! That made me realise where I was! Really got the blood pumping. Played my SS well but fluffed the transition (just a bit sticky), then played my reel well enough. Lastly was the jig which I hadn't prepared for properly and just picked on the day. Sounds like a car crash but, it wasn't (quite) that bad.

Looking forward to the next taste of competition. Unfortunately due to my work that might be next year now.

Steve Law 06-20-2018 05:54 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Pppiper/Nate,

What a thoroughly enjoyable read your article was- thanks both for writing and for sharing the link here.

I competed as a youngster 1965-1974-ish with some amateur success but then work/life got in the way and while band playing continued on and off I eventually stopped playing altogether for 20 years, only going back to the band 18 months ago.

Iím contnually frustrated to remember how I used to play and now canít get close to but determined that rising 65 I still have time to haul back something before things stop working altogether.

Iíd agree completely how long harsh marks/comments are remembered.... even 50 years later the few bad memories stick much harder than the many good ones.

Iím certainly nowhere near solo competition standard and wonder if Iíve trodden my last boards, but thoroughly approve of your judges insightful comment about ďjust play the music....Ē that is indeed what itís all about :thumb:

Pppiper 06-20-2018 06:00 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mainebagpipes (Post 1327730)
Apparently I'm ahead of where I thought I was, because the upper-grade pipers who've heard me play since April seem to think I should be somewhere in Grade 2, prompting me to find an instructor ASAP.

We seem to be in/on very similar paths, and we're not far from each other as well. I heard about your recent success at both NH Indoor and RI, good beans! Shame, I'd have liked to have met you among the grade 3s at RI, but I had an afar gig that weekend, so I had to skip RI.

If you haven't found an instructor yet, if I were you, I would seriously consider Lezlie Webster. I dunno where in Maine you're at, but she does great work, and teaches in a few different spots, ranging around northern Mass., and southern NH. I was somewhat loth to goto an instructor for myself, but Lezlie always had a way of holding my attention and trust, and I'm glad that she did.

Sounds like you're on a great path ... keep it up, and I hope to see you out there. I'll private message her contact info to you.

Cheers,
~Nate

Pppiper 06-20-2018 06:04 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Law (Post 1328358)
Pppiper/Nate,

What a thoroughly enjoyable read your article was- thanks both for writing and for sharing the link here.

I competed as a youngster 1965-1974-ish with some amateur success but then work/life got in the way and while band playing continued on and off I eventually stopped playing altogether for 20 years, only going back to the band 18 months ago.

Iím contnually frustrated to remember how I used to play and now canít get close to but determined that rising 65 I still have time to haul back something before things stop working altogether.

Iíd agree completely how long harsh marks/comments are remembered.... even 50 years later the few bad memories stick much harder than the many good ones.

Iím certainly nowhere near solo competition standard and wonder if Iíve trodden my last boards, but thoroughly approve of your judges insightful comment about ďjust play the music....Ē that is indeed what itís all about :thumb:

Right on, thank you for the kind words.

You too my friend, just play .. and enjoy yourself.

Cheers!
~Nate

Pppiper 06-20-2018 06:06 AM

Re: Your first time competing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac an t-Sealgair (Post 1328343)
Played my first competition in 20 years, the other month.

Whilst I didn't have the unmitigated success of some of you. I was happy to get through my tunes and lay a marker down. A base point for me to work from. Lots to do to improve, and polish here and there.

I wasn't nervous at all, which was weird. I could have just been playing in my kitchen, until I finished my 2/4 and the crowd applauded. Whoaa! That made me realise where I was! Really got the blood pumping. Played my SS well but fluffed the transition (just a bit sticky), then played my reel well enough. Lastly was the jig which I hadn't prepared for properly and just picked on the day. Sounds like a car crash but, it wasn't (quite) that bad.

Looking forward to the next taste of competition. Unfortunately due to my work that might be next year now.

We're always our own worst judge ... good going!

Hope you're able to get back out again soon ... life always gets in the way!

Cheers,
~Nate


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