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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 04-20-2018, 12:08 PM   #1
bagpipertom
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Default Leading a procession

The question is, when leading a procession such as a casket at a funeral or bride & groom out at the end of a wedding, how does a piper determine how fast to walk without blatantly turning around to see if the guest of honor is being left in the dust? I prefer to lean more toward "military deportment" by keeping the eyes forward in these situations. A rear view mirror attached to a drone seems a bit gauche. Or should we always just drag the pace even though the procession may possibly want to go faster?
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Leading a procession

For a funeral, the ground dictates my pace as often it is less than level in older cemeteries; so slow it is there. As for Church Service Sites, where the casket is set on a pall and wheeled to the doors. I can walk out at a modest pace and be outside to Pipe the casket to the hearse. Walk not stride with purpose, nor march. Often the tunes themselves set my pace.

For wedding service, usually it is well planned in advance as for what the Father of the Bride (the bill payer) prefers along with input from the Bridzilla, Momzilla, and or Groomzilla. The actually rehearsal before the event will make that speed of walk a known aspect if you are in attendance. Some parties, do not want to leave anything to chance and everything is choreographed.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Leading a procession



When ever in doubt... ease your pace...

"Stately"... most usually... does the trick...



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Old 04-20-2018, 09:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Leading a procession

Stately, as said above is correct. No one's going to jog with the casket, so they're not expecting you to do a quickstep. Even if you do end up way ahead, they'll catch up. Just set your eyes on a target spot, and turn toward the pallbearers when you get there.
In the case of leading out for a wedding, it's not a bad idea to put a bit of distance between yourself and the happy couple. That gives the photographer room to get in between you and them and get a few good pictures.
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leading a procession

It's not a parade ground and you won't get arrested for not facing your front. Every 16 bars or so, do a little half turn to the right, and look back. Adjust accordingly.

If I have reason to think pace could be tricky, I will sometimes ask the funeral director to lead.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: Leading a procession

I once played the Lt. Gov. of Ontario up the street to an event and then back. Up went perfectly. Back, not so good. When I got to the car, walking casually, as the LG was in high heels, and turned, she, her ADC and various others were a block back schmoozing with people on the street. No one was the slightest bit perturbed except me.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:34 AM   #7
Paul M Burke
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Default Re: Leading a procession

Funerals tend the leave the church in a rapid fashion, as all the action is still to come at the graveside. As the business is finished by the time a wedding leaves the church the happy couple have time to schmooze the crowed.

A stroll is the way I usually go. Not to fast or slow.

Paul
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:06 PM   #8
JP Cahill
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Default Re: Leading a procession

Agree with everything said so far.

Just one small exception from experience. When the family has chosen the large, mahogany, casket with the brass fittings and 5 of of the 6 pall bearers appear to be over 70 and they're carrying the casket because the little cart won't roll in the soft, long grass . . . well, those guys would really, really like to get where they're going sooner rather than later. Doesn't mean I should run; they can't anyway. But they will appreciate something a little, um, brisker than normal.

Often I walk to the side of the pall bearers so they can set the pace. Won't work in church but sometimes helpful in cemeteries.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Leading a procession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul M Burke View Post
Funerals tend the leave the church in a rapid fashion, as all the action is still to come at the graveside. As the business is finished by the time a wedding leaves the church the happy couple have time to schmooze the crowed.

A stroll is the way I usually go. Not to fast or slow.

Paul
I play a lot of funerals and it's rare that I play a processional or recessional march- that's usually done by the liturgical musicians- as there's inevitably an entrance an exit hymn. I am usually to play before the service as the people are arriving until the casket enters and again after as the casket and mourners exit the church.
As to funerals leaving the church in rapid fashion, in my experience that depends of the weather and the church- I've seen some people linger outside chatting after the service before they head out. I generally wait until the casket is loaded in the hearse, then head out to the cemetery ahead of the entourage, so to be playing as they arrive. Around here, the custom seems to be that the funeral home crew (or sometimes the cemetery workers) place the casket at the grave before the mourners leave their cars to gather around for the service- so no procession there either, but I'll be piping as people gather, until the officiant seems ready to start.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:04 AM   #10
Kenton Adler
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Default Re: Leading a procession

Walk in time to the music you're playing and take small steps. pretend drummers are following you and you know they are weighed down.
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