I wanted to get to this first thing but then all that other nonsense turned up...
THANK YOU. Thank you all. It is hopeless to try to identify every single person who did things above and beyond the call of duty last night, because half of it I wasn't even truly aware of... just knew that the bulk of you turned up early and stayed late, leaving a spotless kitchen, auditorium, stage and music room behind.
But in between there - glorious music, a stunned response from people with whom I spoke; I don't think most of them realized what a professional show it was going to be. In my opinion it was well timed; well thought out with a good flow to the music to keep it interesting; kept within our skill set yet varied and fun; pushed those who really are ready to be pushed... We looked terrific and, between Annette's ongoing efforts (I'm sorry, should have acknowledged her in my closing remarks) and Ken's on-the-spot, calm help, great ear and great tuner, sounded better than we had any right to expect, considering how much we played ahead of time and how much standing around we had to do in between times. Now do you believe in blowing through the pipes while waiting? Boy, I sure do. Coming in on Amazing Grace after standing around all that time was risky in the extreme but worked out just fine...
Driving home in my stupor (ok, in my Prius full of neatly stashed T shirts) I was thinking that, as an audience member, the one thing I'd have missed was a drum salute. There's a goal for the future. We need to spotlight this key portion of our band.
As we played I marveled at a number of things, not the least of which being the gr IV's mastery of Orange and Blue - how impressive was that for the fling?! - and the drumming for Highland Cathedral, When the Pipers Play, and Dept. Ch. Wingate. Seems like trying to get new drumming used to take ages and often caused me to abandon pipe tunes I wanted to adopt. Yet here were three things we pipers just kept playing and playing, and the drum corps just figured out somehow, and they're all very impressive. As is every drummer in our corps - we are hugely fortunate.
Isla was delightful. Several people mentioned how much they enjoyed her, how funny she was - Ashley said she enjoyed 'that part of the concert a lot more than I expected to!' which was great news, because I didn't want people wandering off because they just wanted to hear pipes. The only negative I've heard was about the film clip, which has won awards, but didn't, in one reviewer's opinion, seem terribly professional. Perhaps I am glad they ditched the first film clip for a song!
Anyway, from the T shirt washing/folding/sales to the ticket table to the food committee (Nancy!) to the decorators (all the flags, etc.) and to everyone who stacked chairs or folded programs - it was exactly the sort of whole-team effort we've experienced so often before with this band. It shouldn't even surprise me any more, but it does - and makes me glad.
Most especially, we go into Pleasanton well played, on the heels of a big success, knowing that, whatever the results of the contest, we are accomplishing our mission which, I believe, is to play well, improve, stretch ourselves, and bring the joy of our music to others. I'm not sorry we haven't spent the past few weekends playing the QMM or bigmed a hundred times over. We know the music, we've worked on playing well together, and we'll just go in and delight a new audience (a few of whom will have clipboards).
I usually do not use the word 'proud' because it denotes some sort of responsibility for others' success - but in this case I will take it. I am proud - of you, of me, of us as a band. You are my greatest accomplishment in a full and accomplished life and I thank you for allowing me to be your leader.
And yeah, I'm crying. Get used to it.
love, The PM