TAKING GOOD CARE OF THE BAND

Often my participation in the wedding ceremony is meant to be a surprise. In such cases, I need to be able to arrive unseen and to tune my pipes unheard (by the wedding party and their guests). Even in the case where there is no surprise element, an area or facility away from the ceremonial site is often needed for tuning. The tuning area ideally should have the same climate (temperature and humidity) as the ceremony site. In a church setting for example, this can be facilitated by having a "warm-up" room available in another building away from the main chapel. Please note: The piper certainly needs to tune before the first performance. If possible, he should be able to retune any time there is a break longer than 5 minutes before subsequent playing; the bagpipe being somewhat unstable, goes out of tune rather quickly when not being played. It is most helpful to provide the piper with a "runner" or assistant if possible - someone (ie., a wedding coordinator) who knows the order of events, and can notify the piper in advance of his 'cue' to play. (Nowadays, this can be usually accomplished by cell phone.) This enables the piper to fine-tune his instrument within a few minutes of his performance(s). It's not essential, but most pipers appreciate this assistance, and has the added benefit of a better-sounding performance.

On hot days, it is essential that there be water or other liquid refreshment avaiable to the piper. (I try to remember to bring water with me, but sometimes in the rush of leaving for the event I forget.) Providing liquid refreshment insures that the client will get a better and certainly more continuous performance. Shade on warm-to-hot sunny days, and shelter on inclimate days is a must for any performance lasting more than a few minutes. Extremes in temperature (hot or cold) may necessitate more 'breaks' and/or a shorter performance with the possibility of no adjustment in the musician's fee.

When in doubt about any of the above, or in the event of unforseen conditions and/or situations, the client's sensitivity to the musician's comfort and needs, will nearly always insure a cheerful demeanor and best possible performance.

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Plaid Menagerie Fort Bragg and Santa Rosa, CA 
Bagpipe Call: 650-391-5546 
Band Call:707-569-0565  nanette@plaidmenagerie.com
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