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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 07-13-2017, 05:20 PM   #1
RonSchlie
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Default A Sad Story

I'd like to share a sad experience my playing partner (I'll call him Tom) and I encountered a couple of weeks ago.
For the past year or so we have been performing together at local open mics. or music jams. The majority of the performers at these gathering are either country or folk music types with guitars and other string instruments. So far we have had positive reviews and warm welcomes and many have said thank you for introducing music other than Gordon Lightfoot or John Denver. How many times do you want to hear "Rocky Mountain High".
We recently have been performing at a local VFW post every other Friday night. All the performers sit in a circle and each is allowed to perform and others are allowed to join in. After one of the jams Tom had a discussion with the banjo and fiddle player to see if maybe in the future they could play some tunes together. They all agreed and a date was set for the following week. Tom and I arrived early and he selected a seat close to the fiddle player so they could discuss the tune. Unfortunately a man with a guitar sat next to my partner and ruddily told him he had to move because he disliked bagpipes and didn't want to sit next to one. Tom tried to explain to him that smallpipes are much quieter than GHPs, but the man was firm with his dislike for the instrument.
Tom is a kind gentle man who gives all of himself to teaching the craft of music. Not wanting to start a situation Tom moved to the other side of the circle. As I watched him reset his music stand and remove his pipes from the case I could tell he was upset (I was not playing that night). He was uneasy! He wanted to play, but he also wanted to walk out. After several minutes he decided that it was best to leave. He was to upset to play. Standing in front of the building we talked about the situation and part of me wanted to go back in and give the rude guitarist a piece of my mind, but Tom said to let it go, it's their loss.
There is a sign in front of the building that says, "All Veterans Are Welcome" .......But, sadly not Veterans who play smallpipes
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:13 PM   #2
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: A Sad Story

That is sad.

I run into ignorance about Scottish smallpipes (and uilleann pipes) all the time. Many churches and other wedding and/or funeral venues ban bagpipes, and when I try to explain that the bagpipes I intend on bringing have the same volume as a violin or harp or flute it often falls on deaf ears.

Your guitar eejit was just plain rude. There's no excuse for that.

You guys should schedule your next meet-up somewhere else, where ignorant bullies can't ruin things.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:03 AM   #3
Kevin
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Default Re: A Sad Story

A sad story indeed. Would it be worth bringing this up with the organizers of the session? A simple question to them to clarify whether all instruments are welcome, or not, might be in order. Depending on their answer, the offending guitarist will either have to shut up and put up or you and Tom can decide to move to greener and more appreciative pastures.

Sadly, examples of ignorance and small-mindedness are everywhere. That guitarist missed an opportunity to learn a bit about an instrument and genre he clearly doesn't know much about. His world is the same size today as it was before the session.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:12 PM   #4
will103
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Default Re: A Sad Story

Hi, what a horrible way to treat a fellow musician. I hope this experience doesn't put you friend off playing in public. Give him all my best, will103
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:02 AM   #5
Piper Joe
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Default Re: A Sad Story

A big pat on the back, and a pint if we ever meet, to your piper buddy.

What class he showed in the total absence of same displayed by the guitarist...and the others sitting in the circle if you ask me.

I've occasionally run into similar situations at sessions...it's music for crying out loud, just shut up and play!

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Old 07-15-2017, 01:29 PM   #6
Rafe
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Default Re: A Sad Story

Why give a stranger that much control over your life? If he doesn't like the seating he can make his own adjustment.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: A Sad Story

Wasn't the scenario that the guitarist arrived after and elected to sit next to the piper?...why'd the piper have to move?
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:34 PM   #8
Toxpert
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Default Re: A Sad Story

Exposure to piping can sometimes be a bad experience that close-minded individuals won't let go. Where I live, there are some very, very good pipers and a few that are very bad.

The bad ones have the tunics, plaids & spats...maybe one drone works (but not tuned) and the chanter not in tune with itself. Their playing is commensurate with their kit. You know the drill...the piper shows up dressed like professional military performer and audiences end up politely asking these players to stop...thank you please. Listening to that level of playing once is enough to last me a long time.

..still not an excuse for rude and exclusionary behavior....
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:47 AM   #9
RonSchlie
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Default Re: A Sad Story

Some have given an opinion that Tom (not his real name) should have confronted the rude guitarist. With children and families in the audience Tom did the right thing by walking out. No bagpipe tune is worth it!
We will move on to other possibilities in our area.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:28 AM   #10
Matt Buckley
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Default Re: A Sad Story

In addition to everything else, it's astonishing that the comments came from a guitar player at the session. Guitar players at sessions are not alpha, or even close to alpha. That role belongs to the melody players, indeed the strongest melody players. A guitar player's job at a session is to support, listen, not get in the way, and at times simply not play at all. The fact that he, as a support player only, felt empowered to comment suggests that the guy has serious ego issues.

I would have quietly leaned over and suggested he shove his little chords right up his ....

Rant concluded.
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