Saturday, September 4, 2010

Silver Thistle: Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games

Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games in the San Francisco Bay Area:


Pleasanton Highland Games Solo Piping Competitions today at San Ramon Marriott in SF Bay Area - Scottish Games over weekend at Pleasanton Fair Grounds -

2600 Bishop Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583 ... NOT the other nearby Marriott :)


Can anyone go to the Solo competition in San Ramon? Do you know the hours? Like will it still be going on if I take Emma after she gets out of school? And what's the cost?


If I recall correctly from last year, you just walk into the hotel and listen, for free, to the professional Piobaireachd from 12-5 ... the rest of the Piobaireachd competitions - Grades 1-4 piping competitions are at the Fairgrounds, and I imagine a ticket is required at the gate ...


Awesome -- Are you going to be there today? I'm going to see what I can do to get there -- but it wont be before 4 we can get out that far.


I'm planning on going ... would like to see if I can start a piping quartet (new to me) or trio in the East Bay, and this is a good way to find some of the best pipers ... I'd try to get there at 4 at the latest, as things may start to wind down in the last hour ... see you there, perhaps :)

Next 12 posts:


Pleasanton Highland Games Professional Ceol Mor Piping Competitions underway at San Ramon Marriott in SF Bay Area - Scottish Games over weekend at Pleasanton Fair Grounds -

The "Lament for Captain MacDougall" (1864) (which I happen to be learning currently) is the next Piobaireachd to be played.


Darn it! So close to me, and I am scheduled to work both days. :(


The next Ceol Mor (Piobaireachd) is "Lament for Mary MacLeod."

And the next is "Lament for Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay" (?) played by Ken Sutherland

Justin Salazar's (actually Celek's) "Mary MacLeod" was particularly enjoyable ... some of his drones went off ... another lament is next ...

missed very nice ceol mor's name and piper's name just played

next piece is "Old Men of the Shells” (Bodaich Dhubha nan Sligean)

March, strathspey, reel and hornpipe and jig competition begins in same room around 4

Richard Gillies from Portland, OR, was the 2nd to last piper who is just turning professional in competing in this competition, and he played so well :)

Piobaireachd competition winners: 1) Ken Sutherland 2) Richard Gillies 3) Seamus Coyne

MSR 1) Richard Gillies 2) Justin Celek 3) Ian Whitelaw

Hornpipe-Jig 1) Richard Gillies 2) Seamas Coyne 3) Justin Celek

Interesting (Scottish/Celtic?) pattern - both youngish (in their 20s?) piping winners Richard Gillies and Seamus Coyne were accompanied by both parents. And Justin's girlfriend/wife accompanied him ... Is there a tie between family bonds and winning?


Pleasanton Highland Games today in the SF Bay Area - will probably pipe some at the Clan MacLeod tent ... How to connect Games & World University & School? ( and

Is Piobaireachd - Ceol Mor (classical bagpipe music, or Great Music) -'other' in its beauty? Is it in a different 'beauty' register, that is, its own, vis-a-vis the field of aesthetics, or some generally shared concept of beauty, i.e. many people find Mozart's 'Magic Flute' beautiful ?

‎... as in the sentence: 'Piobaireachd' is an acquired taste.':)

Pleasanton Highland Games: lovely day east of San Francisco on pleasant fair grounds. Enter the gate - $18 "1 day adult" ticket - sounds of pipes

- enter a different world ... on the left are men in kilts tossing the hammer: "52 ft and 6 inches," I hear in a Scottish accent ... I see a lot of clan tents

The Games are relaxed, out of doors, colorful, full of sound. Scottish-ness is in the air - many women drummers walking by, as well as many men with red beards.

MacLeod tent at Highland Games - warm welcome. Whiskey is passed around at around 9 am (Glen Livet, not Talisker). Stories ... talk of Clan Chief. Ongoing talk of new roof on Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye (expensive)

Head to the Scottish Country Dancing tent (did a lot of this in high school). Pleasant, elevating Scottish form - gets you 'high' (& healthy), - it's enjoyable to watch, too.

Scottish forms that get you 'high' (some healthy): dancing, celeidhs, (whiskey & beer), rants, pipe music, (as computer output, for bliss elicitation)? :)

... hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, reels ... cultural forms that get you high, naturally :) in contrast with the strife of Scots' history?

The day isn't too hot in the morning. Yesterday was hotter at 94 - onto the Scottish Goods' areas - Shall I get a great piping CDs (compact disk) played by Gordon Duncan, Bruce Gandy, or the yellow Pibroch tutorial?

just saw two lasses from the Clan Inebriated ... The MacInebriateds ... I know them :) they're from the far north Land Distilleries

... quite a fluid world they come from

While attending the Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games in the SF Bay Area: If the world, social milieus & landscapes can be seen as musical scores for bliss, then why not see & make music with the musical instrument of your bodymind? In this context, with what nuance can one engage these Scottish Games as musical scores; for me, they are allegro & enlightening.

Who is this singer on the stage? The lovely singer's name is Isla St Clair ... reminds me of Jean Redpath ... :)

from Isla St. Clair's lovely voice, I head on to the Birds of Prey area - fascinating explanations with 2 handlers on dais in pleasant walkway: falcons, owls ...

... eagles, raptors - the crowd is big & engaged with the Birds of Prey explanations - beautiful birds, some hybrids - from raptor breeding.

On to the Wicked Tinkers and their Celtic Trance music, which I saw last year at the next stage over in these shady fairgrounds.

Wicked Tinkers actually aren't here this year, instead Albannach will play Tribal Celtic Music at 1, for one - drums & bagpipes ...

Head to Living History area - very colorful & a LOT of it - nicely done - Viking battle now - drama - call for war - striking real swords & shields, no bloodshed

Come upon Vikings of Bjornstad way off in the north (out of the way at these highland games) - 1 warrior to 5 warriors - no bloodshed yet ... looks like actors, breaking into explanations, hmmm - lots of focus on weapons

A lot of fantasies are acted out here (historical re-enactments :)

On to the sheep dog trials - dogs poking their heads out of cages from vehicles

Shepherds & dog: "Carrie Bennett and Kate, her dog, are next up." Four sheep are released in far corner of the trials' area. Whistles. Then the sheep dog herding dance begins ...

The shepherd is still and quiet, she whistles - the dog crouches, rises, moves around - and the sheep evntually go through the gate. What's the code? ... 'controlled'

Lots of repeating patterns in Sheep Dog Trials. Handlers control sheep who do the same thing repeatedly ... all computer programs, that is both the handler's, and the trials, themselves, as a kind of social program repeated all over?

I head over to the Highland cattle (before heading to the shops), but the weather isn't the Highlands - it's hot - and these 3 beasts are long haired, with horns. Lots of breeding over millennia in Scotland

Heeland kuhs

California Highland Cattle Association, of course. Long horns, curly, - each has a brass ring in nose. They are docile, and there's cooling fan in background of the 1 bull's area. 1 bull, 2 cows

Pass by the Children's Glen ... Brother John, a rock band, is singing hypnotically, playing electric guitar and bagpipe, which is electronically synthesized. There's also a diggeridoo player, and a good drummer - He's singing about Australian Bush Rangers - outlaws who robbed stagecoaches down under

attractive woman is dancing in front of them ...

skipping the whiskey live pavilion - and heading into the Hall of Commerce - Scottish wifeys & lasses serving Scottish food at the food booth - family crests booth - beautiful clothes' booths

Decide to get Bruce Gandy's Compact Disk 'My Father's Son' ... ($19.76) looks great (Gandy is Richard Gillies' piping teacher; Gillies piped so well at the professional competition yesterday :) ...

Pipe Band competitions begin Grade 5 to begin ...

Time for a stuffed (veg.) baked potato with brocolli and cheddar cheese, no butter $5.50 - prices are so dear :) (an old Scottish refrain)

... then back to the MacLeod tent

O, there are the Revelers - not singing - green dresses for the ladies - have to listen for them (California Revels)

The Prince Charles Pipe Band - best in the Bay Area - is playing well, warming up ... right next to the MacLeod tent :)

... brings tears to my eyes

The Prince Charles Pipe Band, Grade 2, just competed - The PCPB actually has 3 bands - Grades 2, 3 & 5 .... a lot ... they're impressively well organized with a lot of young pipers and drummers coming up ... it seems they've created quite a culture ...

The Prince Charles Grade 3 Pipe Band Bass Drummer is small ... only twice its height :) "Smallest bass drummer on the Fair Grounds," I hear over the loud speaker ...

People migrate to Mass Bands around 5 ... and I head to the MacLeod tent for a visit & to share MacLeod stories ... caught the end of Mass Bands.

Scottish Games - a unifying, networking communitas experience? (anthropologically?) :) Pleasanton Highland Games - SF Bay Area


(Twitter & Facebook posts)

( - September 4, 2010)

No comments: