I Play in a Grade 3 Band!

Yesterday WUSPBA, the Western United States Pipe Band Association, made it official – my band, The Wasatch and District Pipe Band has been moved up to Grade 3.

This move is clearly the consequence of some very hard work on the part of those involved in the running of our band, and the band members themselves. The team of Andrew Morrill, Ross Morrill, Mike Postma and Justin Howland have created the conditions where this could happen.

    Andrew, our Pipe Major, has pushed the band (in the friendliest possible way) all season, never letting up and being relentlessly positive.
    Ross has tamed the beast that is tuning 20+ pipers, so that our unison playing sounds so sweet – you can hear the results of his pipe set-up in this video of the band playing at Pleasanton this past Fall.
    Mike, our Drum Sergeant, set a bewildering list of new standards for the drum corps at the beginning of the season, all of which they exceeded. The consequence of this was that the drummers actually outperformed the pipers. I hope they’re still willing to play with us!
    Justin provided the all-important guidance that shaped our playing of the tunes. It makes a big difference to have that particular set of critical ears constantly monitoring our playing – I never leave a rehearsal without some nugget of useful information that improves my playing.
    I’m pretty sure also that the level of solo piping and drumming has helped the band as a whole. A significant number of the players compete, and do very well. The depth of the pipe corps is evidenced also by the number of pipers playing piobaireachd. We are not just Jig and Reel players – we want to get to the soul of the music!

All this adds up to a band that is improving very quickly. This progress does however present the band with some new challenges: We currently have between 20 and 30 pipers. That’s too many for one playing band, but maybe not quite enough for a Grade 3 and a Grade 4 band The problem here is that everybody may be too good – how do you decide the roster of the Grade 4 band? I’ll start that particular ball rolling and volunteer myself! Another new challenge will be how to find competition to play against locally. The Salt Lake Scots are a Grade 3 band, but that’s it for Utah. Travel has been a topic of conversation this past week or so, because of the attendant expense involved in taking so many players to out-of-state games.

In any case, I’m sure all this will be worked out, and for now Congratulations to all. This is a great band to be in, and I’m sure we will all prove worthy of our new standing!

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