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Old 06-18-2018, 11:31 PM   #1
PRAIRIEPIPER
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Default Transition to the Worlds

Our band will be travelling to the 2019 World Championships. We will be competing in Grade 4 and hope to do well.
However, we are from the dry Canadian prairies with an elevation of about 4000 ft.
We have finally gotten a sound we like with our chanters tuning around 482 to 484 depending on the day.
We know that our tuning may need adjusting to compensate for the weather and altitude at Glasgow, and this is where my concern is. How/what does a band that plays in conditions such as ours prepare for the lower altitude and humid weather (even on a dry day in Scotland it is different than we experience on the prairies).
Do we need more moisture control devices in our bags? Do we need to make adjustments to our pipes? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:15 AM   #2
CalumII
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

What do you use moisture-wise at the moment?


Ideally, you want to budget a couple of days for the pipes to settle and for you to re-pitch once you arrive. But if you're used to a very dry environment, you'll probably find the Glasgow climate makes your life easier.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:47 AM   #3
Anndrah
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

Zippered synthetic bags and at leasr a tube trap. I prefer the Ross system. Whatever you use make sure to open you bag, swab your drones, etc after each session so that moisture isnt allowed to continue to build. Generally you will find chanters much easier to work with.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #4
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

You can expect to readjust all of your reeds in the reed seats of your chanters as you'll be playing at a lower altitude for one. The humidity may cause some issues with your reeds as well since you're used to a dry climate.

I'd recommend everyone bring a better MCS with them as they'll most likely need it, and by all means get there a couple of days early so you'll have time for the pipes/reeds/yourselves to adjust.

Also, due to altitude and humidity all of your reeds will most likely feel much easier to play, so it may be a good idea to have spare reeds on hand for those whose reeds become to easy or unstable.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:00 AM   #5
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

We were over last year (from the US mid-Atlantic). We play Gannaway bags and tube traps. We held five full days of practice before the World's. The key thing for us was managing playing time/moisture. You can't run a three-hour practice, uninterrupted, in that climate. You can play for an hour-ish before lunch and another somewhat longer interval in the afternoon, IF it's not raining AND everyone in the corps is diligent about emptying all moisture from the instrument in between plays and drying everything out overnight (bags included). Avoid playing early in the morning when it's coldest (good time for chanter practice) and don't be afraid to skip an outdoor session if it's raining. If you must play in the rain, shorten your practice time accordingly. Once the sound starts to deteriorate, STOP. Nothing good is going to happen after that point .

Maintenance is critical: EVERYONE must arrive with their instrument in top shape, with bags fully seasoned and moisture control devices working right. We did NOT reseat our chanter reeds. We were maybe one or two hz lower than we'd be at home, but not enough to make wholesale changes worth it. I'd advise real caution about doing that. The important thing is to establish a stable and reproducible sound as early on as possible. On the day, you will NOT want to do a long warm-up. Particularly if you get through to the final, you'll need a good instrument sound for both runs, and the weather is unpredictable and can change very quickly. You won't have much time to chase errant chanter reeds.

The short version: make sure all the instruments are tip-top and manage your playing time carefully.

Good luck! Playing at the World's is an absolute blast. We're looking to back in '19.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:53 PM   #6
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

Make sure everyone has, at the very least, the same kind of bag and water trap.

As others have said, give yourselves some time to get your instruments acclimated to the Scottish weather. If you can, try to get to some of the smaller games to get a few runs in.

When we went a few years back, we got there 10 days before the Worlds, and competed at North Berwick and Bridge of Allan.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:50 AM   #7
Linz
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

Agree with what was said about moisture control and humidity. Our band competed last year, and we got there about 10 days prior to the Worlds. We also competed at North Berwick and Bridge of Allan, as dry runs for the games themselves. It was a good experience, because we had enough time to settle and adjust our pipes as needed, as well as do some sightseeing we wouldn't have done otherwise. We had a wonderful time, and while we didn't exactly sweep the finals, we weren't embarrassed, either... Enjoy your trip!
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:32 AM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

Yes I think it's critical to arrive enough in advance to play the pipes for several days so they can acclimate.

All sorts of issues can happen when dry-weather pipes are played in moist weather. And remember you'll be competing on grass! So practice on grass.

Some bands go to the extent of practicing at the same time of day that they'll be competing. I don't know if it helps. It can't hurt.

You'll find the setup that gives you the pitch you want in warm dry climates gives a much lower pitch in Scotland, on grass and in the rain.

You have to factor the rain in, too. It might be pouring rain when you compete.

If you've not competed over there you can watch videos of the 2007 Worlds and see bands playing in the rain, and how various bands deal with it. Drums in plastic bags, some bands wearing rain capes, some not.
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:21 AM   #9
el gaitero
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

I liked the world’s video a few years ago when a big empty plastic trash bag blew into someone’s grade 1 circle and sturdily wrapped itself on one poor chaps’ leg.....flapping away until near the end of the set...sheesh!...no pressure there...
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:51 AM   #10
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Transition to the Worlds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linz View Post
We competed at North Berwick and Bridge of Allan, as dry runs...
Sometimes they can be very wet runs!
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