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What was your proudest moment as a piper?

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  • What was your proudest moment as a piper?

    Me? I have a few...
    - Winning an aggregate piping trophy at the Pleasanton Games.
    - Playing well in front of a number of TV cameras and many hundreds of first responders plus thousands of people at a 10th anniversary event for 9/11.
    - Meeting Roddy McLeod, Richard Parke, Colin MacLellan, Ken Eller, and others and having them already know me from my website.

    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator - Reference for Bagpipers

  • #2
    Some active and some passive (sort of): Active-Getting through my first band competition without passing out (and the band placed 1st); Being appointed Pipe Sergeant; Being voted in as Pipe Major (and leading us through a competition without passing out...and getting 1st). Passive: Seeing my favorite student win her first 1st place in solo competition. She was 10. She's a Grade 1 piper today (at 30ish). Having any student do well will always top my accomplishments (as far as pride goes).


    • #3
      Playing for HM the Queen, twice....followed by a first place by Bill Livingstone in Piobaireachd.....Kingston...


      • #4
        Taking two firsts at Pleasanton in G4 solos in my first season competing solo. Unfortunately I didn’t get the aggregate award since I didn’t do piobaireachd the Friday before. I did, however, get upgraded to G3 solos for the next season.

        All 3 grades of our band took all 6 first places at my first contest back in the band after a few years off. This one especially since our PM who wouldn’t let me compete had stepped down and our new PM had me play, so it felt good to show the old PM his mistake for not letting me in.
        You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


        • #5
          Seamus MacNeill awarding me my College of Piping pin for passing my fundamentals.
          I still wear that pin on my kilt as a badge of honor.


          • #6
            Learning in my early teens, getting my first set of pipes, playing in my grandparents back yard, my arthritic grandfather dragging himself out, with tears in his eyes

            playing in the liberation day parade in wageningen, Holland, with crowds 8 people deep both sides the entire parade


            • #7
              Winning Aggregate at the Costa Mesa games a few weeks after my mother in-law had a stroke. I was thinking about her the whole time and I took first in every category. That was really something.

              A couple months later my wife and I were visiting Scotland and we were staying at a bed-and-breakfast in Lochgoilhead. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast used to play in a grade one band when he was in his teens, but hadn't played for about 20 years. His pipes were a set from 1880. He let me play them and told me he was impressed. That felt good too.


              • #8
                Woodland Games, California, 2017. Competing in Grade 4, 2/4 March. First couple of notes in, I made a mistake. Flashed through my mind, "Ok, ya blew it, you're out of the competition, just play music now..." Took 3rd... Judge told me later she saw the second when I stopped "Competing" and started "Playing." Was hard driving home, cause I was still so high my feet didn't touch the pedals... Treated myself to a new coffee cup, says "This is not a good idea, and we shouldn't be doing it" in Latin. Drinking my tea from it right now...
                "Your Honor, I solemnly swear I am up to no good"


                • #9
                  I played pipes while deployed.

                  Also got to play formally on deployment for a funeral for a K9.

                  Nothing topped those situations.


                  • #10
                    Two of my proudest piping moments are both Navy-related. One was piping aboard USS Constitution for an ensign’s commissioning and his Captain father’s retirement. I also sang the National Anthem. The other was piping for a Dining In for ONI at Joint Base Ft. Mead in VA.
                    Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron


                    • #11
                      That's a great question!

                      Several years ago my family & I spent a week at Walt Disney World in Florida. Our kids, both in their 20's, had never been.

                      We're walking around Epcot and my attention becomes drawn to the "atmosphere" soundtrack.

                      First realisation: "hey! There's uilleann pipes in the mix!"

                      Second realisation: "hey! That's me!"

                      (I had worked on the soundtrack for the Epcot night show, and Disney had included that soundtrack in their "atmosphere" loop.)

                      Another thing was the year I worked on a TV show. They churned out 50 episodes in that year! And they had decided from the get-go to feature the pipes in the soundtrack throughout the series.

                      It was a cool thing to drive to the Saban building in Westwood, knock out the couple dozen cues for an episode, and get home in time to turn on the TV and watch the show (an episode recorded a couple weeks prior).

                      proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte


                      • #12
                        With Greetings to All,

                        Hmm...not so much proud--as--and quite simply--grateful...
                        for all of those--Times--and Places----and People...

                        Over these now last--Two Score and Ten Years (and Blast!!--
                        How th' Devil--did that happen?! :-) --there are some--that oft
                        return--easily back to mind. ("The Ash Grove.. The Ash Grove...
                        How sweetly... 'tis singing...")

                        One of the first--was my playing for the funeral of a young man--
                        who had lost his battle with a severe illness--and at the completion
                        of his service--his mother came up to me and said--and with tears
                        in her eyes--"He loved O' Danny Boy! Can you please play it?"--
                        (And how could any--say no??)

                        At that time--I had only--experimented with it--as many of us found
                        it to be--a tricksome--and difficult tune--for which to find--a proper
                        setting--but I told her--"I don't often play it--but I shall try." (And--
                        how not.??)

                        I stepped into the shade of a tree--for the sake of the reeds--and
                        with--trepidation--began to play...

                        And--with seemingly--with some--Old Spirit--sitting on my right-hand
                        shoulder--"IT"--just came out!!--clear!!--and imminently recognized--
                        and touching the hearts--of all--and I have played this "setting"--
                        ever since. (And again--I was--and am--simply grateful.)

                        Finding myself almost Providentially (though wishing to avoid Hubris)
                        in the singular position--of being able to assist The British Legion--
                        in having Bill Millin travel back to Sword Beach in 2010--for his final
                        return there--and then my being so warmly Welcomed In!!--and to
                        play--with that international assembly of pipers and drummers--who
                        were able that year-- to accompany him back to Sword Beach--to
                        play for Colleville-Mongomery's Annual D-Day Memorial Ceremony--
                        are memories to be cherished. ("Lest we forget... Lest we forget.")

                        (And allow me--please--to refer you all to--the major U.S. television
                        coverage of that day:
                        "Dan Rather Reports, excerpt of Bill Millin-Youtube")


                        The last time we all gathered there--back in Pre-COVID 2019--and
                        "The Day" part of it all was accomplished and over--and before we
                        all trooped off to play several evening dinner concerts--we were all
                        just--lounging about--in and around Colleville's Gymnasium--that
                        was our Rally Point (hmm--might have been--some drink involved :-) --
                        French President--Macron--had insisted--that all of his transport and
                        security helicopters--land in the Gymnasium's playing field--and he
                        and his team--walked over--and he cordially--welcomed us--and noted
                        our many past years of playing the pipes on Sword Beach--and of his
                        and his nation's--gratitude--for our again being there-- for this D-Day
                        75th Anniversary.

                        His visit--and our mutually warm conversation--lasted some 20 minutes--
                        and we played a couple o' good pipe tunes for him there--as well as for
                        his and their return to the helicopters--and their take-off back to Paris.


                        And Third??--Why--and of course!!--for The Children!! :-)

                        Whether in schools--or in parks--or other public places--where I have been
                        playing--where they are drawn (as were we :-) --to the sound of it!!--and--they
                        cannot--turn away...

                        "This Old Man, He Played One"--and so many other--"Children's Songs"--
                        that enthrall--when played on the pipes--and that so easily lead them--to
                        Singing--and to Dancing About--and to Laughter!!... :-)

                        I have always considered it--A Great Privilege--to be able to play these
                        songs for them--but above--and beyond--all that--it is--and quite simply--
                        A Great Joy!! :-)


                        Now--none of these--either takes--or has--any precedence--one over the
                        other--for All--have equal place--in that warm and glowing--Bowl of Cherished
                        Memories... :-)


                        Regards--and--A Very Happy Memory Gathering!!--to All,


                        Last edited by Pip01; 08-28-2021, 09:19 AM.
                        My friends all know,
                        With what a brave carouse...


                        • #13
                          Squeaking out a scale on the chanter with drones going was a moment for me.
                          "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong


                          • #14
                            At one of the larger summer games , addition to our band taking Gr 3 first place...again...and ultimately the EUSPBA Grade 3 CHAMPIONS for 2 consecutive years.... as band QM I was sent up to collect the Best Dressed Band Trophy...having spent several years finally getting everyone into proper matching kit ...worn properly.
                            In those days of the midnight blue balmoral bonnet ...argyle jackets were untouchable cost-wise for most bands....we like others opted for ~$15 USAF surplus dress mess jackets and bow ties.


                            • #15
                              Years ago at a Balmoral session in suburban Chicago, I was tasked to play reveille one morning. Later in the day in my group's lesson with Alasdair Gillies, he asked "Who played reveille this morning?" I said that I did. He replied "'Johnnie Cope started up and for a moment I thought I was back in the army." I took it as a compliment.
                              Last edited by phinson; 08-29-2021, 08:35 AM.