What a summer!!

August 22, 2014

I'm finally home from Scotland and have had a few days to unwind, reflect, and try and get over that killer jetlag. This final trip of the summer began the weekend before the Scottish Championships. After about 25 hours of travel and layovers I arrived back at Casa de Jimsy. I spent this summer staying with Jim and Fiona Kilpatrick. Not bad getting to practice one on one with the best in the world whenever you'd like.

 

Practice that week went very well. The Scottish Championships would be an MSR, and we'd already played quite a good MSR performance at the UK Championships in Belfast. That Saturday we again drew the Highland Wedding set, and were happy with our play. We ended up finishing 2nd in drumming for the 2nd straight major. A little disappointed not to win, but definitely felt good heading into the final build up for the worlds.

 

A nice diversion from all the pipe band hooplah was the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow. Back in June, the Shotts corps had recorded the drumming for the BBC's score that they'd be using for the games. It was an awesome experience, and great to hear our playing everyday on the BBC broadcasts.

 

 

On August 7th before practice, Glenn, Blair, Ryan, Jim, and myself had to give interviews to the BBC which would be used for a piece during their annual Worlds show. Producer Nick Gunaydin did a great job as interviewer and I think overall the piece came out well.

 

 

Our Worlds week practice officially kicked off on Monday August 11th (the birthday of Glenn, Blair, and Jim KP). The corps played at Strathclyde University. Luckily the weather held off for most of the afternoon and we were able to play outside.

 

It was nice to get to play outside and have that little added pressure of spectators. I think having people watch increases focus and better prepares you for the on field performance.

 

Tuesday was relatively low key. After picking some choice KP2's for friends from JKP's road show it was off to the Shotts band hall for the evening practice. Again, there were many spectators. My brother in law Bryce was in attendance and it was nice to hear he thought the band sounded very good.

 

Wednesday was the one day off from practice, but definitely not a day off, as it was the annual Drumming for Drinks event. This year I was participating as an accompanying musician of Shotts tenor drummer Cammy Bennett. The event was won by Shotts snare drummer Gareth McLees. In my eyes Gareth was a very worthy winner, putting on a performance with a good mix of skill and entertainment.

 

Thursday was again, pretty low key. Practice at the Shotts hall from about 1-5, and then home to get the uniform ready and chill out before the next two days of madness. I was personally feeling very relaxed and ready. Quietly confident that we'd been practicing well and very ready as a band to put out 4 strong performances.

 

Friday and Saturday kind of blur together like they were one day! The Worlds as it stands now for Grade 1 bands is not just about your muscial ability, but also your endurance and mental stability. These are 2 long grueling days, and it really is a relief to finally finish that medley on the Saturday. As for how the competition went, I think Shotts was fantastic. All the sections of the band played very well, and everyone was delighted and excited for massed bands. I felt the drumming was very good, and knew we'd put ourselves in position to be at least in the mix for the drumming award. The last pit stop before the finale was a trip to the Pearl Drums booth to play two fanfares, the traditional Shotts salute as well as Alex Duthart's "Salute to Max Rayne".

 

By the time they finally reached the Grade 1 results, my feet were ready to kill me. 10 seconds later, that didn't matter, as being crowned World Champions makes everything feel good, even sore feet. Winning drumming at the Worlds this year was extremely gratifying. We knew the corps was consistently playing well, yet had not nabbed the top prize at a major in 2 years! There was a bit of relief mixed in with the joy and excitement. Hearing that the band as a whole had not only cracked the top 6, but had finished 5th overall, really put everything over the top. It was a great way to finish a season in which the band has progressed leaps and bounds. I'm already very, very excited to see what we can put together for next year. 

 

 

Sunday after the Worlds is one of my favorite days of the year. The annual parties at the Park Bar and Todd Bar allow everyone to cut lose after a very trying week. It's great catching up with friends, and enjoying pipe band people outside of pipe bands. The Sunday evening at the Todd is karaoke time. I have a bit of a reputation for not being scared to take the mic, but was quite reserved this year only singing once. Two things I learned: 1.) Field Marshal's Kris Coyle does a mean Elvis, and the Graham Brown-Kris Coyle-Carl Lenny Elvis trifecta has to happen at some point, and 2.) Shotts bass drummer Murray Winton dabbles in karaoke and his go to is Will Smith's "Wild Wild West". Amazing

 

I spent Monday and Tuesday catching up with more friends before finally departing on Wednesday. I now get one whole week off before getting back into action at the Pleasanton Highland Games in California. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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