Well, the Christmas season is upon us...and some of the best music as well. Seek it in your neighborhood. Tonight I played at a local Lessons in Carols event at St. James Episcopal Church, the variety of songs and the level of talent were both worth braving the weather...plus there was soup, bread and desserts to en joy afterwards. I played a little known hymn called "Air of Arrogance" on my low G pipes and even chanted along with the pipes in the middle...I even did a reading from the pulpit...plus you missed the free meal.
We played St. Patricks Day at the Hamilton Club in Morris Run, PA...a grand night of celtic music and corned beef and cabbage. We had a whole new line up of musicians that included Daria Guelig on concertina and Greg Smith on tenor banjo and Irish flute. This is our pickup band while Bruce is on walkabout in Africa. We still don't have a name yet, here are some of our thoughts:
Banish the Bruce
Banish the Bugger
Banish the Clutter
Scatter the Clutter
Scatter the Gobshite
Knickered the Bruce
Knackered and Gnarly
This post is to say that the seventh annual Robert Burns Supper and Poetry Slam had to be cancelled due to a lack of pre-sold tickets. It had nothing to do with a haggis shortage, there is usually more than enough to go around. I personally can't understand why folks would not be interested in a cozy get together of live Scottish music, a great Scottish meal, poetry and single malt scotch. I guess Tioga County may not quite be ready for an on-going event such as this. Traditions build slowly, let's hope it can be revived next year, but six years in a row is not too shabby I guess. The event idea started when two brothers from NJ were walking down the street at the annual Dickens of a Christmas and heard me wandering the streets playing Great Highland Bagpipes....they asked where I was from and if I'd like to try and get an annual Burns Supper started in Tioga County. Well, you don't have to ask me twice to put on a kilt, play pipes, eat haggis and drink single malt scotch. My hats are off to some of the folks who helped keep it going these years. When I get the spelling of their last names I will add them: Jim, Jerry, Larry, Charlie and Pat. Till the next time, celebrate Robert Burns among yourselves. As Robert Burns once said "the best laid plans of mice and men oft' times go a stray".
The band is working on our Scottish tunes for the Burns Supper. We are working with a guest musician that day, named Greg Smith. Greg is an accomplished luthier and musician. Greg will be joining Anne and I for Burns night. Greg will be playing Irish flute, tenor banjo and guitar. We are looking forward to more dates with Greg, and at some point with Greg sitting in with the entire Vernal Pool band. In the mean time, we hope you all have had a restful holiday season.
I'm not quite sure....but I think a blog is kind of like a newsletter. Well, in that case, the band is busy polishing up our seasonally favorite instrumentals. We are working on lots of Christmas music from around the world, some Yuletiding types of music and even a Hannukah song. Every year we promise ourselves that we will put out a Holiday CD, but it never happens. I guess we will see what happens this year.
Check out our events calendar, if you enjoy holiday music (as much as I do), then you will have several opportunities to catch the band. Sunday 11/29 at the Penn Wells brunch, the following Saturday at the Wellsboro Dickens of a Christmas (at the Gmeiner art Gallery) and Sunday 12/13 Anne and I will be doing a short performance as part of "Lessons in Carols" at St. James Episcopal Church in Mansfield. That's all the news for now...stay warm and have fun.