The Thornton Highland Games took place a week ago on Sunday, and represented the first outing of our new Development Band. In fact, the 4A band, with which I play, were not competing at this contest. Nonetheless, several members of the 4A band travelled across to the Kingdom of Fife to support the younger members of our band.
It was a bright and sunny day, at least in the East. This was something of a surprise, as I had almost not left the house that morning, due to the heavy rain. Still, good weather makes for a better performance, so that was an advantage.
The Development Band went on, and they played very well. In fact, they actually played twice; once in the Grade 4 contest, and again in the Grade 3 contest. Both performances were good.
In the event, they came second out of three in the Grade 4, but came fourth out of four in the Grade 3 contest. This latter was entirely expected, since the other bands were all 'naturally' of a higher grade. The former was, of course, a fantastic result, not least because it was the band's first outing.
Watching from the sidelines was an interesting experience. Playing is definitely preferable! Still, I must admit to a certain pride. A few months ago, the Development Band was just an idea. It cost us a lot to get it going (in terms of finance, of course, but also in terms of the effort involved, and also in the loss of several promising young players). So, to finally see it all come together was a great feeling.
The 4A band next play at the European Championships in Ireland this weekend. The Development Band next play at the Dundonald Highland Games. Then, both bands will compete (in different grades) at the World Pipe Band Championships. Each band has three more contests before the season draws to its close.