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So I guess I should write something about having played with the symphony.
It really was a great experience. I wrote a while ago bout when I played with them previously, but that was for playing Scottish style medley; my style kinda thing, this time it was definitely a symphony deal.

The piece of music chosen was a Peter Maxwell Davies piece – Orkney Wedding, with sunrise. Anyhow, it called for an actual concert A chanter. The piece seemed easy enough, but it was the hardware that was to be the issue.

Turns out a guy I met in Macalester had one, and had even played the piece before. Small world. So he rented it to the symphony and sent it on up. I spent most of the time learning to play the piece properly. From the mp3 that Arthur sent me, it was only 90 seconds. I should be able to handle that right?

It was pretty simple. Right up until I had the hardware. I didn’t give it much thought, which was a mistake. Turns out the chanter was all sorts of fun.

The drones he sent were just set weird, the balance of pressure made it hard for the chanter, but easy for the drones. This meant that the drones would have to be WIDE open in order to play, which meant it sucked and lot of air. Couple that with the fact the drone reeds wouldn’t fit in my stocks because of the ash plugs so I had to put together a set hastily (with much much help from Rory – seriously, without him the whole thing would have sucked majorly).

So aside from some hardware issues, there wasn’t much else for difficulties. I did have trouble counting out where it was that I started, thankfully Stephane was there to give me my cues. It was really good in the end. I would tune for a minute then rest for about fifteen. Without a moisture control system the pipes would get soaked super easy.

When I was cued to go on I was quite nervous. But, as they say, you aren’t measured by how well you do in your best scenarios, but by how you handle yourself when the going gets tough.

My piece was kinda neat. It was explained that the score is set up as 3 parts: getting together, getting drunk celebrating and then the sobering sunrise. That’s when I step out and signify the rising sun in the morning. From what people who were there (including my parents, but they might be biased) it was a pleasant surprise and sounded really good. Apparently it was also in the paper, but I can’t find it.

All are part of growing up really. But not just aging, but growing in ability and diversity of my skills.

I had been feeling really bit of a funk for a while with my piping – being pipe major can do that. But I didn’t think I was really progressing… but thanks to Pierre Schreyer for the recommendation to play, it has pushed me.

Couple that with the last weekend’s activities in Winnipeg and I’m ready to be excited about playing again.

I’ll save the discussion about the SFU weekend for another blog post.

*note: that’s not a picture of me, I didn’t have any, but I’m sure it looked like that!

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