Volume XIII Number 1 - January 2004


So the parties are over and it's time to go back to WORK! I hope all of you got goodies from McSanta and/or bux to spend on same. This issue marks the SEVENTH year online for Cuillinn Craft, and we hope we continue to grow.

With the improving economy we hope that there will be MORE new CDs and other neat stuff coming out this year; there was a dearth of new recordings last year (except, of course for OURS). So we hope you'll be perusing these pages for New Stuff in the near future.

NEWS FLASH: I will be performing with Golden Bough at the All Saints Episcopal Church Burns Night celebration on Saturday, January 17th; doors open at 6.30 for a 7.30 show; admission is $10 at the door. This is the fifth year we've done this, and it will be a good time for all. Piping, songs, The Haggis, and lots of fun. The church is at 911 Dowling in San Leandro; come one, come all!

Just received our first example from David Marshall Silverworks - only a chanter sole, but WHAT a sole! Heavy, deep-cut hand engraving (no machine crap here). The photo can't do justice to the quality of this silver. There's NO ONE ELSE making pipe mountings of this calibre - NO ONE.



Well, I've just recieved my Winter/AGM issue of Words and Music listing the proposed bylaw and contest rule changes.  First of all let me say that finally, after three years, the WUSPBA has acted responsibly by accurately posting the proposed changes I made and even allowing me to make a campaign statement.  Change has come to the WUSPBA.  And more will likely come looking at the proposed changes.  My congratulations to the WUSPBA this year.  But...I'm still running for President!  

Here are my remarks on the proposed changes and recommendations:   On the proposals from the Bylaws and Contest Rule Committee:  

Proposal #1:  Incorporate the WUSPBA Code of Conduct into the Bylaws: This would be similar to incorporating all of our civil and crimminal codes into the State or U.S. Constitutions.  Not really practical.  The WUSPBA is a separate document that outlines behavior at WUSPBA sanctioned events for WUSPBA members.  It really doesn't belong in the Bylaws.  Vote NO on this proposal.  

Proposal #2:  This proposal would make band and solo member dues due on the same day.  Vote YES on this proposal.  

Proposal #3:  Proxy voting.  Not quite Absentee Voting for elections and on changes to the bylaws and contest rules, but this proposal contains many of the points for fairness, equity, and representation I've been harping about for the past number of years.  I believe every member should have a say on what the WUSPBA does, or doesn't do, and on who runs the WUSPBA.  This proposal addresses and satisfies those elements.  I would still prefer to see proposals 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 adopted over this proposal, but that is a personal choice.  This proposal should be carefully considered by every WUSPBA member, and your views on it should be passed onto someone that will be attending the AGM.  Unfortunately, those not attending will still not have the opportunity to vote for your right to vote.  Everyone should vote none the less, even if your vote won't be counted. 

Proposals #4, 5, 6, 7,& 8.  These are essentially the proposals I submitted three years ago, except this year they are in the proper format.  If proposal #3 is adopted, these four proposals are to be withdrawn.  If this is the case, then Ol' Black Part has achieved one of his major goals:  The right of every member to vote, even if by proxy, which is assignable, and almost as good as absentee balloting.  Ol' Black Part looses only if proposals 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 are all rejected.  Then, once again, the very small minority that goes to the AGM enforces it's will, for better or worse, good, or bad, on the majority of the members.  It'll be interesting to see if a minority again rejects proposals that will give every WUSPBA member the right to vote.

On the proposals from the Music Board:

The Music Board still seems to think it is an Advisory Board.  The old Advisory Board was done away with last year.  The Music Board is supposed to only consider musical matters.  They were sent a question on Piobaireachd last year:  Should Grade IV pipers play a Ground only, or the Ground and first variations?  Do we have an answer?  NO! Also, the Music Board was supposed to continue work on the ACP.  Do we have a system that will certifiy judges?  Yes, but not one that will actually graduate judges.  I mean come on now; shadow judge 50 solo contests.  How does a solo competeitor, competant enough to do that actually do that and still compete?  This program needs to be revised so that people can actually participate in it and become certified.  The only thing certifiable about this program is that the people who have dreamed it up are certifiable if you know what I mean.

Music Board Proposal #1

This proposal would create a whole new class of membership for the WUSPBA. Adjudicator members who pay $20.00 per year, while bands pay $300.00 and solo members pay $25.00.  But the Adjudicators get paid to judge.  Bands and soloists have to pay entry fees.  So is it fair for the new Adjudicator members to pay less, and get paid while the rest of the members pay and pay and pay?  NO!  And, if a WUSPBA member pays his membership fee, and is also on the Adjudicator Panel and pays an additional $20.00, does he actually buy two votes?  I mean really, what is this Music Board thinking?  Vote NO on this proposal.

Proposal #2 from the Music Board.

This limits contest sponsor choices for adjudicators to a list that is already to small to support the number of contests held each year within the WUSPBA.  Until there is a program that actually creates enough adjudicators this proposal is inappropriate.  Vote NO on this proposal

On the proposal submitted by Colorado Skye that band may play off after the contests.  The requirement to do so is to please the crowd at the contests; they expect it.  If bands suddenly don't have to, we'll lose some of an already too thin crowd at some contests.  Vote NO on this proposal.

On the proposal submitted by the Intermountain Branch to allow bands to "Challenge Up":  Why not?  It used to be done in Utah (and elsewhere - Ed.) some years ago.  We all had great fun doing it.  And the crowd loved it at these smaller games.  I can see though where it may not work at larger games, but this proposal has anticipated that.  Vote YES on this proposal.

Ol' Black Part,  AKA #0193PP,  AKA John Eric Partanen, PhD

Vote for me for President at the AGM February 6-8, in Las Vegas.

Just in from the Peripatetic Perigrinating Pirate on the road at the Gold and Silver Medal Comps. in Kansas City:

At the recent Mid West Highland Arts Festival, in Kansa City there were 35 solo competitors in the Silver Medal Contest.  I manged to record several of the performances on minidisc.  I also have Ken Sutherland's Bronze Medal performance in the Gold Medal Contest. I didn't get Ian Whitelaw's performance, but I'm sure Ian won't mind.  Here's a brief review on each performance in the Silver Medal Contest from the WUSPBA pipers:

Adrian Melvin who plays with the L.A.Scots performed MacLeod's Controversay on a beautifully tuned bagpipe.  Lots, of volumn, and great drones.  There were however a few slight chirps, but these were the only items I took note of.  I had Adrian picked as 1st, but the judges placed him 3rd.  Congratulations Adrian!  

John Sutherland who plays with Prince Charles Grade I performed Millbank's Salute. John took quite a long time with his tunning, but this was well worth the effort.  He had a great full chanter sound, well tuned drones, and good overall balance.  I found John's Urlar a bit slow, with a suspect C-grip in line 3.  All else went well until the Crunluath Variations.  A few Crunluath movements were very weak, and his Crunluath Doubling was rushed.  John place in the upper 25 % of the field of 35 competitors.  A Very Good tune and placing for John.   

Paul Langan from Los Alamos, New Mexico, had a well tuned bagpipe, but his tone was a bit unsteady, and more so towards the end of his tune.  John was asked to play The Lament for Donald of Laggan.  Line 1 of his Urlar was slow, but Paul then picked up the pace for the rest of tune.  There were a few suspect Taorluaths and Crunluaths, but overall a nicely played tune.  Paul was up in the upper 50 % of the field of 35 entries.

    John Partanen, AKA Ol' Black Part, from Bakersfield, CA performed Catherine's Lament.  I was barely in the upper 50 %, and perhaps this could be an overstatement.  Anyway, very disappointing for me.  I had well tuned bagpipe, but the chanter tone was thin.  My Urlar was played slowly, and it was flawed by mixing in some of the MacArthur setting for the tune with the MacDonald's setting as presented in the Piobaireachd Society Books.  I actually think the judges must have thought that this Ol' Pirate was navigating the tune with a compass that didn't point North.  Well, I threw away that compass, and now that I'm painfully back on course, there are four more Piobaireachd Contests to look forward to to attempt to redeem myself.  I also had a big chirp at the beginning of the 2nd line of the Dithis from overblowing, but after this I eased up a bit and things settled down.  There are notes though on my judges sheets that indicate I had a few more chirps.  BLAST IT! The judges aslo commented that my D Crunluaths were suspect in the tune, so I'll be doing some B finger lifts to correct this.    

John Cuthill who plays with the Colorado Skye Pipe Band also performed Catherine's Lament.  John's pipe was set up fairly well, but his tone was unsteady from the start, and was increasingly unsteady to the end. There was a big choke in the Taorluath Variation.  John's Urlar was slow, and labored, but the rest of his tune was pretty good.  There were however, some missed Taorluaths, Crunluaths, and Crunluath-a-Machs. John placed in the lower 50 % of the field of 35 competitors.   A good effort on this difficult tune from this young piper.  

Andrew Trimble, also with the Colorado Skye Pipe Band performed The Massacre of Glencoe.  Andrew's pipe let him down in this contest.  He was unable to get his drones well tuned as his chanter was set very sharp.  There was a bad tine shift on the High A. Andrew missed a Hiharin, (Cadence Birl), in Bar 2, Line 2 of the Urlar.  The High A problem spoiled his second variation.  There were two chokes in the Crunluath Variations.  There were missed Taorluaths, Crunluaths, and Crunluath-a-Machs.  Andrew placed in the lower 50 % of the field of 35 entries.  I see a great deal of potential from this young piper.  Hang in there Andrew.  

(Ed. note: the placings indicated in the above are John's, not the judges!)

For those that don't already know, Eli Fugate took the Gold Medal in the first ever Professional Snare Drumming Contest held in the U.S.  Way to go Eli !!       

until next month....