Once again, the competition season is almost upon us. The first competition of the new season, the Dunbar Highland Games, is a month tomorrow. And the band is not ready.
There was some significant enthusiasm and excitement a couple of months ago, when it was finally confirmed that the band were being promoted to Grade 4A. There was then some further discussion about a Development Band, providing a means for younger players to make the step from 'learner' to 'competing'. (Unfortunately, we lost a couple of people due to that; ironically, the very people the Development Band was intended to help.)
But of late, the practices have fallen into a depressing pattern: the attendences are poor (and always the same people), the progress is patchy, and things are just going on. The band is getting better, but slowly.
I suspect the end result will see us going to Dunbar with only a handful of pipers actually being able to play. No doubt, there will be several people who get a rude shock when they are told that they're just not reaching the required standard.
But the truth is, that may be a necessary step. It's really quite clear that some people are putting in the required effort, and some others just aren't. Well, it's simply not fair on those who are doing the work to be dragged back by those who aren't.
Still, it seems very unlikely that we'll come away from Dunbar with anything. It's one of the bigger minors, and it's also an event that lots of bands want to "put down a marker" at, to show their intentions for the year.
#7: "Serenity: Out in the Black", by Tracy and Laura Hickman
#8: "Serenity: Adventures", by James Davenport, Ted Reed, James M. Ward, Alana Abbot and Billy Aguiar
#9: "Pathfinder: The Haunting of Harrowstone", by Michael Kortes