Archive for July, 2008

Bagpiping in NW Portland

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Sub note: I apologize I haven’t been updating my blog for all those avid readers. The last eight weekends I have been out of town either at a Bagpipe Band competition or a Wedding Performance.

However, I did get to perform at the Armory at NW 11th this past Sunday for a lovely couple getting married. For all those who haven’t experienced the Armory, it is one Portland venue you don’t want to miss. When it’s not rented for private parties, many of the best Broadway shows in Portland can be witnessed here.

As usual, I met with the bride and groom a month before the wedding to select tunes and to go over the ceremony. Because I don’t normally partake it in rehearsals I always enjoy translating what I am told in our meeting to when I arrive and actual see the layout for the first time. This was no different.

I arrived promptly at 5:45PM in order to warm up my pipes and meet with the bagpipe wedding coordinator. The wedding layout, in terms of color scheme, table arrangement, food and drink selection was top notch. I even was fortunate enough to warm up on the actual stage where all the Broadway shows are preformed. The acoustics were out of this world. I wanted to stay and play my Portland bagpipe all night but as of course my first priority is the wedding.

For the processional, I stood at the top of the ledge overlooking the elegantly laid out dinner tables below and the guests on all sides gazing on. I ushered in the Bride and Groom with one of my favorites-Donald McCellan of Rothsey. It is a traditional and heavy 2/4 March, which I conveniently compete with, in my solo competitions. After playing all 4 parts, I stopped my pipes and headed back downstairs to await my next cue while the couple took their places.

After a short ceremony, followed by a lovely kiss, I reassumed the same position, just a couple of stairs down. My next task was to lead them down the stairs to the main room with Miss Ishabel, a very upbeat 6/8 March. While the tune itself I played well, I don’t know how I looked trying to march down a steep set of 20 stairs. I took my time, cautioning myself not to fall. Although it was probably quite comical for the guests to watch me attempt to march down stairs, I still managed to keep the beat in my head.

Once at the bottom, I cut my bagpipes and that was it. They Bride and Groom profusely thanked me, as well as the 200 guests. I really enjoyed playing for them and would perform at the Armory any day of the week.