A couple of nights ago I played an interesting gig. I was contacted by a man who wanted to surprise his wife with some piping on their 15th wedding anniversary. We made the arrangements and I showed up at the appointed hour, expecting to find a party in full swing and a crowd of people waiting hear me play.
I was surprised to discover that there was no party as such. My audience consisted of just the man, his wife and their two daughters. They appeared to have just finished dinner, and were sitting in their living room waiting for the performance to begin.
Now, I’m used to playing in front of big crowds, but this was the first time I’d ever played for such a small group. I quickly re-tooled the performance I was planning to give, and the gig became a musical lecture on bagpipes, piping, and Scottish history. The family listened attentively while I introduced tunes, played on the Great Highland Bagpipes and Scottish Smallpipes, and demonstrated how the instruments worked. They seemed really happy with the performance. I even played part of a piobaireachd, Scarce of Fishing, since I never pass up an opportunity to expose the public to ceol mor! They really enjoyed it and said they could hear how different it was from the other pipe music I played for them.
I left thinking what a nice gift the husband had given his wife and family. I could handle a few more gigs like that!