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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 03-29-2019, 08:11 AM   #1
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Location: Minnesota
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Default Retrospective apology?

I was hired to play for a St. Patrick's Day party a couple of weeks ago, which was a grand time!! I had been asked to play for a half hour prior to the beginning of the meal, just background music. I had done this last year and all had gone just fine. Since highland pipes are not, in my opinion, the best choice fo background music since you really can't pause between tunes without everyone noticing and feeling they curtail their conversations and applaud, I decided this year to try to play as continuously as possible. That may have been a bad idea... Anyway, all went well for the first 15-20 minutes, after which my playing went down hill rapidly. I could get through the first time through a tune just fine but after that was huffing and puffing to finish out nicely. After the meal I was asked to play a bit more. Thinking the trouble had been a failure of stamina on my part and now being rested, I agreed. My pipes, however, had had enough and sounded horrible. I was quite embarrassed and explained that I was not able to play more. The folks were very kind and said that was OK. When I got home, I realized my reed had split. I'm tempted to contact the folks and let them know but also feel that would not be professional and the less said, the soonest mended or forgotten. What do you all do in these situations? Thanks, all!!
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:20 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Default Re: retrospective apology?

Maybe a nice catch-all approach might be to send a retrospective "thank you" for their understanding. You can then easily work in a one sentence explanation/apology. I feel that would be both professional and thoughtful.

Best of luck!

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 03-29-2019 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary block quote of entire first post.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: retrospective apology?

Sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately things don't always go well but that gives us a frame of reference so we can better identify the good days .

I don't know what your agreement was with the people hiring you but if it was me, I would consider delivering a refund or a 50% refund along with an explanation about your reed splitting. The gesture of goodwill will improve your chances of having a future opportunity to play for those folks.

Aside from that, I would probably chalk it up to a learning experience and bring an extra chanter and reed (as well as drone stoppers) for next time. If background music is on order in the future, you might also consider some breed of SSP and save the GHB for after dinner when you are the main act.

Good luck with it,
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: retrospective apology?

If it were me, I might offer a small discount if they want me to come back for the same event in 2020.

But don't feel bad- these things happen to all of us.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:18 AM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: retrospective apology?

A sore subject to bring up with some folks...just curious at what grade level piping were you delivering the performance?
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: retrospective apology?

Thanks for the input!! I am not a graded piper and, while I know about some troubleshooting with my pipes, I'm not that well versed in what all can go wrong. I do have extra reeds though it didn't occur to me to check that since I was so sure it was just a failing on my part. I don't think the people's expectations were terribly high but, when things go down hill like that, it's hard to imagine it going unnoticed. I suppose I could contact them and offer a partial refund. I will also suggest they consider SSPs for future background music; good idea, Kevin!!
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:12 AM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Retrospective apology?

Myself,.I wouldnt make contact..just go ahead and put half the sum...in cash...in an envelope and mail it to them with a short explanatory note card.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Retrospective apology?

Ah... johnsog...

Hmmm... many of us... if not most... have had those
pesky Gremlins... jump in... and with all four feet!!...
and make a bollix... of what we had hoped to have
been...some of our best performances... or tunes...
and most certainly... of our intentions... :(

And again... many... if not most... have had brushes...
or head-long bang-ups... with this bit of... humilite`...

While such may be... "Good for the soul"... it's a bit
of a rough go... at the time... (though always... always...

I would concur with parts of some of the above thoughts.

And... I... would arrange them thusly... (but it's your call).

A simple... and brief note... saying that upon your return
home... you discovered the split reed to be the culprit...
and offering to return a substantial (half?... but again...
your call)... portion of the fee... along with your wish to
play for them again next year.

Now, they probably won't take you up on the returned
funds... but it shows your concern... and willingness to
make a proper redress... and I would hazard that you
shall most probably play for them again... and perhaps
even before... next year...

And... and of course... the educational part having taken
proper hold... next time... and "just in case"... a second
chanter... with an already set up... installed reed... or...
just some additional ready-to-go reeds... may prove the
needed lifeline...

How e'er you go... this... will pass (it always does :) ...
and your playing will continue... and these matters... will
fall... into their proper perspective... (Just keep after it... :)

Wishing you... All the Best!!


My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 03-29-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Retrospective apology?

Experience counts for a great deal in this game: congratulations on levelling up.

As for how to handle it professionally, I'm not sure you *need* to do anything, but if you do, I wouldn't go into details, I would just say "instrument malfunction" and offer a discount on next year's performance.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Retrospective apology?

after a similar disaster early in my piping career, I learned to carry extra sets of played-in reeds (Chanter and drone reeds that have been played together in practice), and even a spare blowpipe, and to play the pipes the day before ( or morning before if the same day) to ward off the gremlins.
Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron
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