Volume XVII Number 6 - June 2006

...that there are fewer Highland Games than there were fifteen years ago - or is it? Rising costs and prohibitive insurance rates have done in many of the smaller venues we used to see out here on the Left Coast - and of course gas prices don't help much either. I imagine that soon we'll see the 'Pepsi Highland Games at (insert location here)' - if big corporations ever go for that sort of thing. Worked for stock car racing....

SO many of you trekked down to Pomona over Memorial Day weekend; a little rain on Saturday, then things cleared up. I didn't make it, but I understand that the Gr III competition was hot and heavy, with RMM III splitting wins with Kevin Blandford Memorial, and RMM IV taking both events.

Just in: These pix from Blair Castle, taken last weekend by Jamie Cavan; quality due to shooting surreptitiously through glass case:

The Atholl Highlanders' Colours, presented originally by Queen Victoria in 1845. These are the new colours presented in 1978.

The uniform worn by 'Wee Iain,' the late 10th Duke (he was only 6'4"). Nice dirk....note that the belts are BUFF leather, not the white worn by the ranks - hey, those look just like mine! They ARE just like mine! Now if I could only swipe that plaid brooch....

New Product Department: CHANTER SAFES, for both pipe and practice chanter, small size for pipe chanter with cap or small PC, large size for long PC, $24.95. a new CD from Barnaby Brown and his group Band-Re, incorporating pipes, percussion, triple pipe, and some singing, $22.95; and a long-awaited reissue of Allan MacDonald's Moidart Collection, now including a CD of every tune played on a smallpipe. $47.95. Another new book, Is It Supposed To Sound LIke That by Carolyn Watts, a really good music theory primer for pipers, $16.95, and Bagpipe Brothers, $18.95, a truly moving account of the FDNY pipers and drummers and 9/11. This story is both compelling and tragic, and among the 343 firefighters who lost their lives were several members of the pipe band.

In addition, for the truly masochistic among you, we've got chanter reed making kits from Steve Harris, $4.95, just add elbow grease, and spare reed blades, $2.95/pr. We will also have John Pratt's locking chanter cap in a few weeks, a really great product, $19.50


I was given a bottle of Reed Life at the Woodland Games by Mr. Sherwood, the proprieter of Cuillinn Craft. "Try it, and let me know what you think," he said as he handed me the bottle. Well, I took it home, and carefully read the instructions, which aren't very complicated, and decided to give it a try with an older, well broken in reed. Damn stuff WORKS! The old reed's volumn and tonal response improved dramatically. So I tried it on the reed I've really been playing, and got similar results, and an increase in stiffness. How long does it work? I don't really know yet, as now during my practice sessions I have to switch off the two reeds. So far so good, and its been going on two weeks. So, for now, I'll say it again...Damn stuff WORKS!

John Eric Partanen, PhD Professional Piper since 1961, (Damn! Tha's 45 years! And I'm still learning new tricks!)

Ed. note - Reed Life is NOT recommended for use on NEW reeds!


Just last month I tied a new Ross zipper bag on my Glens. This marks about five years for the original Ross bag I tied on when I got the pipes. Black Part tied a roo hide bag on his Lawries a few months ago, after four years on a Ross bag. So it's fairly safe to say that the life expectancy on the Ross pipe bag is between four and five years. YMMV....

Black Part Speaks....

There doesn't seem to be any movement towards solutions to the Adjudicator Certification Program debacle within the WUSPBA. What is the Music Committee doing anyway, except sitting on their butts. To not be too critical, Andrew Morrill is probably up to his butt and then some trying to get ready for the ANAPBA meeting in Salt Lake City, but that's no excuse. There is a chairman of the Music Committee, and that person should be doing more than nothing. Are there seminars being scheduled? If so, where, when, and what subjects will be covered, who will give the presentations, and what tests will be offered and when? Bull Hendersen has asked me to set up an ACP Seminar for the Southern Branch, but that has me acting as if I were a member of the Music Committee. I am not on the Music Committee. So, I could put in a lot of work, get the seminar set up, and guess what? The Music Committee could simply say the seminar isn't recognized, and then of course lots of ill feelings between members of the Music Committee and myself would also occurr. NO! Its the Music Committee's job! So sorry Bull, and to candidates for and in the ACP. I can't help you. Get the Music Committee up off their arses and get them to do their job. And Andrew, if the they won't get up off their arses....FIRE 'EM! Put members on the Music Committee that care, and that will do something.

Now for those candidates who want to become judges, and for those already designated, but needing additional, shall we say, credentials, there are two opportunites coming up in the near future. One is being offered at the Monterey Bay School of Piping and Drumming, June 18 to June 23, at Pebble Beach, CA. Five Levels of Piping Examinations, through the Senior Level are being offered at low to moderate costs. The other opportunity is at the College of Piping School in San Diego, also in June, with again up to five levels of examinations being available. Any piper worthy of the title of adjudicator, or judge, should have, at least in my opinion, a Senior, or better certificate. These tests are not easy, you'd better know your stuff, and you'd better be prepared to perform the required numbers and types of tunes, at the level you've signied up for. You'll be tested by some of Scotland's best. Well worth the effort. Aharrgh!

Ol' Black Part

(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


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