September 2010


Yes it was warm, but the crowd was larger and, wonder of wonders, they even spent some money this year, in spite of having a 'kiltmaker' plunked down next to us by the organisers. Many thanks to all of you who stopped by, even though it IS hard to find me, stuck in the back corner of the building....BTW SFU was THIRD at the World's, not fourth as previously reported. Seems there was a math mistake on the part of the panel...oh, well. There's quite a scathing article by Rab Wallace in the latest Piping Times - seems he didn't like the outcome, either.

Looks like we'll be attending the Seaside Games in Ventura next month, just attending, not vending. It's damn near impossible for me to travel that far without sufficent tents, tables, and a TRAILER to haul it all in....hope to see some of you there. I may have the Portable Pipe Shop with me in case you need some sundries.

Just received the base for my fancy new toolbox - and am actually moving towards having the workshop set up in the next few weeks so I can start producing again...yeah, I know.

ONCE AGAIN I NEED A KNITTER - my last attempt crapped out, so I am really looking for someone out there who will handknit custom pattern kilt hose for a reasonable rate. Please spread the word, I'm getting desperate - and stock is running low!

This issue is late mainly because I was waiting for John P. to send me his latest rant, just below. See you next month!


The past contests at Pleasanton were.....well....pleasant!  I think everyone had a good time.  No complaints from the soloists or bands reached my ears. A hearty thanks to Bill Merriman and Margaret Hokeness for another job well done.

But I did recieve one complaint, but not related to the contests.  Our venerable Music Board has done it again!  For the past two years they had Ian Whitelaw working on the Piobaireachd Seminar and Piobaireachd Exam.  Last year Ian presented the first workshop, after spending countless hours to complile the materials and to organize the information into a relavant program.  Similarly, a good many hours went into compiling the exam.  Guess what?  The Music Board, comprised mostly now of drummers and drum majors determined the seminar was to extensive, and the exam far too difficult. 

One member of the Music Board saying,"It's an exam only Whitelaw could pass !"  So what do you suppose the Music Board did?  Did they contact Ian to ask him to modify the seminar program, and the exam?  No !  What they did, was send him an email "Firing Him !"  I know this for a fact, as Ian shared the email message with me.  Now the Music Board started off on the right foot:  They asked Ian Whitelaw, Campbell Naismith, and Jimmy MacColl for input.  Now for whatever reasons, the bulk of the tasks for this program came to rest on Ian.  Ian also shared with me the materials in the seminar program, but NOT the exam.  From what I have seen, the seminar program is great.  So far as this test, it is my opinion, that any candidate that fancy's themselves as a Piobaireachd Adjudicator and that paid attention to the materials presented in the seminar, and with sufficient expertise in the area of Piobaireachd should have little or no trouble taking and passing.  The goal is to have qualified adjudicators for Piobaireachd.  A qualified adjudicator would not be someone who has played a dozen tunes for a few, or even many years, but who has in depth knowledge on the construction of Piobaireachd, some to even extensive knowledge of Canntaireachd, and sensibile opionions on the styles of playing the music, and variations of the music.  Canntaireachd?  Why Canntaireachd?  Because many of the specific embellishments in Piobaireachd have specific names in Canntaireachd.  Construction of Piobaireachd?  Why is this important?  Simply put, a qualified adjudictor should know the difference between Class 1 Primary, Class 1 Secondary, Class 2 and Class 3 tunes.  And what's this about styles and variations? There are more than one musical variation of many of the tunes that are published, and more than one way of musically presenting them.  So everything in Ian's program that addresses these issues is extremely important.  But alas, our Music Board doesn't agree, mostly because most of them don't really have a clue about Piobaireachd. 

So - lets fire the most knoledgeable person we have, and lets get a drummer to make up the program and the exam.  It seems to this ol' pirate, who's played Piobaireachd now for 53 years, and is a member of the Piobaireachd Society, that the Music Board needs to have a one on one with Ian to find out what and why his recommended program is as it is.  Absent this..........FIRE EVERY STINKING MEMBER of the Music Board, and lets get some persons on that board that know what pipe music is all about and care enough about it to do the right things.  Ya Dumb Swabs!  Its about the Music. not Politics!     Ahrrrrgh!    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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