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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 10-09-2019, 04:24 PM   #21
Toxpert
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Another factor that I failed to mention...emotion.
For several years, I was “the” police honor guard piper.
Maintaining composure with a grieving family with young children...and a hundred or more law enforcement officers...is an emotive event.
The hardest gig (emotionally) for me...was piping at my father-in-law’s interment. It was military procession with horses, caisson, band, rifle salute...a at Arlington National Cemetery. I played well...crying the whole time.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:36 AM   #22
Greenpipe
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

I was once hired to do an 11 o'clock wedding on a Saturday wedding at a church new to me. I arrived at 10:35 and got the pipes out when suddenly the doors opened and the bride & groom started out. I threw up the pipes and played them all out and into the car, wondering how I was going to explain my absence for the bride's entrance. The priest wandered over and remarked, "That was nice of you. Now, your party should arrive in a few minutes." This was a busy church with weddings booked hourly every Saturday.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:13 AM   #23
el gaitero
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenpipe View Post

This was a busy church with weddings booked hourly every Saturday.
LOL. Had a similar experience with a funeral...I inexplicably arrived ‘ late’
just in time to hurriedly pipe the coffin out.
No sooner did the hearse pull away when then ‘my’ hearse pulled up....

Nobody missed a beat....
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:04 PM   #24
Molasses4masses
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Lenz View Post

1) If things go off the rails, just roll with the changes.
At a funeral, I specifically told the organizer to have someone cue me when to play since I wasn't familiar with the program. I was told to watch a certain person for the cue. The cue never came. When the organizer gave me a long stern look, I figured it must be time, which it was. It was annoying though. Just know even the best laid plans may not materialize.

Andrew
I had something similar happen at my wife’s grandmother’s funeral. I talked to the funeral director beforehand and I was going to play one verse of Amazing Grace, then lead the casket out. One verse comes and goes and the pall bearers are standing in the back just staring at me. I played three verses total and finished with a good cut off.

The closest I’ve been to messing up/catastrophic failure in a gig was when a little girl walked by me and stared, then waved. I winked at her and my brain farted and I almost went off tune. No one noticed, though.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:01 AM   #25
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Well, I’m sitting here in my van at the gravesite. One of the family members is stuck in an elevator at the hotel. So we’re waiting until they can be extricated. Another family member had a tire blow out on the highway the day before. Here’s hoping nothing happens to the pipes while we wait.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:19 AM   #26
el gaitero
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Well, I’m sitting here in my van at the gravesite. One of the family members is stuck in an elevator at the hotel. So we’re waiting until they can be extricated. Another family member had a tire blow out on the highway the day before. Here’s hoping nothing happens to the pipes while we wait.
..good time to practice whatever comes to mind....
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:29 PM   #27
Pip01
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?





Ah, crossingnoises,


Your (now gratefully past :) situation... and these tales...
and very good examples... thoughts... and suggestions...
are... and as they should be... endless... as are the rather
exponential possibilities... of all of the things that can go
direly wrong... when ever... we play !! ('Twas ever thus. :)


As I have made mention here before:
When ever I have played an engagement... and be it in a
band... or in a group... and especially when as a solo... and
it has gone well... I am never proud... I am... and but simply...
grateful !!


For plan how we might... do what we will... there are some
days... when our Fate... is but in the hands of... "The Little
People"... The Sioga... The Tylwyth Teg... The Sithichean...
(And had best put out that bowl of milk... All Hallows Eve. :)


(And from the Sasannach... the Saeaneg... the Bearla...
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your Philosophy.")


Right!!... Plan!!... Practice!!... Prepare!!... But be under no
illusion... for success... is never guaranteed!! ... ("We can
only live in Hope"... to quote another... Old Adage... :)


I have played for beaucoup... Military... Police... and Fire
Services... and at one graduation service... accompanied
by one drummer... I played the Cadets in... and at the close
of the ceremony... was to play the new Officers out... and
when I struck in... the drones worked handsomely... but the
chanter... was completely silent... and stayed that way...
and there was nothing to do... but for us all to march out to
the single left-foot beat of the drummer... Sigh and Alas...


And then... gratefully outside... inspecting my heretofore
perfectly wonderful chanter reed... I found just the tiniest
bit of bag conditioner detritus... seemingly skillfully wedged...
between the two blades... and ain't nothing coming out of
that reed!!... (But I was able to extract it, and it played well
thereafter. :)


As Andrew made mention above... when things go wrong...
and they will... we must simply roll... and with what ever
punches... we are fated to receive... come what may... and
with as much... residual dignity... as we can then... muster... :)


Trusting that all shall go well for you... and for us all... in
the... and our... Future... :)


Regards, and Good Fortune... to you... and to All,


Pip01









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With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 10-15-2019 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #28
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Gael View Post
I tried to give my drones a quick re-tune as I struck in, but to no avail
As I mentioned, a very useful skill to learn is tuning your drones while you're playing a tune on the chanter. Amazing Grace is ideal; most of the time you only need one hand on the chanter.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:53 PM   #29
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Lawther View Post
Ever since then, if I am asked to walk through any setup with seated diners, I have double checked that I can pass through...
That also comes up at weddings.

I've often had the people want the piper to stand to the side at the front of the church, then pipe out the couple. I always want to enter from the back of the church, come down the aisle, meet the couple, and countermarch out.

Why? Because though the route they envision looks great before the wedding, at the actual ceremony there's a pile of Bridesmaids blocking your path on one side and a pile of Groomsmen blocking your path on the other side. You start playing and you can't get through so the couple and all the rest go out before you do.

If you enter from the back of the church there's nobody in your way.

I just had this very thing happen at a funeral. I tried to sell the Priest and the others on coming down from the back of the church but they insisted that I stand to one side, at the front of the church, start piping, then go in front of the casket and lead it out.

Well it went as I warned them: everybody stood up and started towards the aisle, blocking my path, then all the people started spewing out of the pews into the centre aisle, and I was the last one out!

About stairs, possibly the worst thing was when myself and another piper were told to march down the stairs on opposite sides of a concert hall, in the dark, towards the stage. Somehow they thought that we pipers could keep in time with each other AND with the orchestra without being able to hear or see anything. (You can't watch a conductor while you're picking your way down steep stairs in the dark.)
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:03 PM   #30
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Takeaway tips from botched gigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
my instrument was taking FAR too much air. I did my best, but after a few long cutouts, I simply had to take my pipes from my shoulder and announce, "My apologies, my instrument has failed."
I would have grabbed the second set sitting beside me and continued playing.

I learned the two-pipes-at-gigs thing from a Scottish fiddler! I asked him why he brought two fiddles (in a double fiddle case) to every gig.

"Because if I break a string I can just grab the other fiddle and keep playing!"

Being that the pipes have far more things that can go wrong than the fiddle, I took it as a lesson learned, and began bringing two sets both ready to go. Sometimes it's a last-minute choice which to go with- what you want is a pair of good pipes to choose from, not a great-playing primary set and a crappy wonky 'backup' set.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 10-16-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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