Traveling to the World Pipe Band Championships: On The Day

This is the final post that I am writing about traveling to the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.  In my previous post, I describe our music and our musical preparation.  This this post, I will be discussion the events of the On The Day.

On The Day

In the piping community, ‘On The Day’ is another name for the World Bagpipe Championships, or simply, ‘The Worlds.’ No matter how or what you call it, It is still considered the most prestigious event in the world of piping and drumming.

Morning

The day started early.  We pulled up to the Glasgow Green a little before 8:00am and already there where lines of buses along the fenced parameter of the Green.  Bands from all around the world where beginning to file out of there buses and make their way inside the grounds of the Green.  The Worlds were set to start at 9:00am, the tension and odd calmness lulled in the air.  There were to be 6 performance areas (arenas) in total.  Arena 1 and 2 were solely used for Grade 1 pipe bands, in one Arena, Grade 1 bands would play their March, Strathspey, and Reel (MSR) set and on the other, their medleys.  Arenas 3 and 4 where for Grade 2 and 3, followed by Arenas 5 and 6 would host Grades 4a and 4b.  Capital City would be completing in Grade 4b and our battlefield would be Arena at 10:10am, based on the competition draw from 2 weeks prior.

Making Camp

As we entered the Games, it was surreal.  It had a feeling of Déjà vu, like we’ve done this before, like we’ve done this before.  It felt like home.  The surreal passed and it faded into like any other competition we went to this year.   Except 1) we were in Scotland and 2) we weren’t hauling in tents, chairs, and other gear.  Having lack of shelter or other amenities did not bother us, we still found an area and made ‘camp,’ a place to call home base, a meeting place for announcements and other business during the games.  With our spot selected, our pipes and drums un-packed, and we were all put together; it was time to get to work.

Prep and Tuning Circle

8:30am rolled around, 100 minutes until we were scheduled to step off the line to compete in the World Bagpipe championships. We were honored enough to be joined by some member of the grade 1, Peel Regional Police Pipe Band.  Members of Peel took time out of their day to assist use with our tuning, both pipes and drums.  We were joined by The Pipers Hut owner, Jon Maffett, Grade 3 piper, Dave Hopper, and some members of their drum corps.  We played through our set and found that we were ready.

To the line

As we approached Arena 6, we all did our own private last thoughts, got psyched, and stepped to our battle ground.  Brian Batty, our pipe major, called off the set and we stepped off.  We marched to the center of the arena and set our circle. We made sure our pipe and drums corps where in their spots and played our hearts out. The four and half minute set was over in a blink of an eye as we were marching out of the circle.  We marched into a group of our loved ones and supporters.  It was the best we played our set for the whole year.

Results

A few hours past and then we learned our scores.  We placed 16 out of 19 corps in our flight… not too bad since our main goal was NOT to come in last.

Remainder of the day and March Pass

It was great to be done competing; it was a HUGE relief to be done with a stressful situation, but still a little sad that it was over.  We packed up our pipes and drums at our camp and we all agreed to meet back at this spot around noon to get results.  We all went out to the games with our friends, family, and loved ones.  There were vendors to visit, other pipe bands to watch, and food to eat.  It was great to see the first hand, live and in person some of the greatest Grade 1 pipe bands in the world!  Field Marshal MontgomerySt.Laurence O’Toole,  Shotts and Dykehead, and our good friends, Peel Regional Police Pipe Band just to name a few. At the end of the day, they have a march pass.  Where every pipe that competed that day (all 350) can march pass the spectators and have their 5 minutes of fame on the grounds at The Worlds.  The march pass was awesome! We marched passed all the Grade 1 bands as they played their various march sets.

It was a great day, it was a great experience.    We will be going back. 🙂

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Categories: Music

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