Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pipes and Drums

This guy was not there,
but I kind of wish he had been.
There was an awfully
cute/smug drummer, though.
Last Wednesday an energetically green poster appeared on the door leading out of the stairwell in our dorm hall. I was hauling my body and my books up the stairs for maybe the forth time when I saw it. It stopped me in my tracks. I stood there on the stairs holding myself upright on the railing so I didn't fall over from the weight of the books I was carrying and read it, grinning the whole while. Three or four people went in and out of the door and gave me funny looks as they passed. Wrapped up in my own excitement, I ignored them.

As soon as I finished reading it new life came into my tired and bedraggled limbs. I launched myself up the stairs, yanked open the door and dashed up the dark hallway. I let my book bag hit the floor of my door with a thunk then threw myself out into the hallway and stopped in Susan's doorway.

She was laying on the floor reading a thick text book, but looked up when I arrived panting in her room.

"Pipes and Drums," I said, breathlessly.

Her text book dropped to the floor and a grin spread across her face. "Pipes and Drums?"

"Pipes and Drums. And a Ceilidh."

Susan jumped to her feet, her text book abandoned. "We're going."

I got tickets to the Pipes and Drums concert.

On Saturday night we were running late because we were having an enthusiastic conversation about true love, duty, archetypes, how much force is actually required to decapitate someone with a sharp broadsword, and Susan's manuscript. We got to the music building about ten minutes before the show was supposed to start and discovered that the only seats available were in the second row. And when building the auditorium our school decided they could fit more people in by halving the width of the rows, so we were really only about one real row away.

We listened to fifteen bagpipes and three snare drums play nearly continuously for an hour and half at close range.

While the playing was beautiful, I went in able to hear perfectly and came out feeling like I was listening to everything underwater. Because Susan and I yelled at each other for the next half hour I assume she felt the same.

We didn't care though. The fact that we go to a school that has Pipes and Drum concerts and a Ceilidh (pronounced "keili") every month was awesome enough to make up for the temporary loss of hearing.

The Ceilidh was just as awesome as the concert. Susan and I and, sometimes, my roommate go to almost all the ones they hold and they hold them about every month. It's a country dance. We have a caller and a band and we spend the night skipping around the hall in pairs. The Ceilidhs are always well attended. Sometimes guys even come.

This time though, all the people from the concert came and the numbers were nearly even. Almost all the guys had managed to produce a kilt from somewhere (Yes, we go to a school where the guys generally own a suite, a cravat and a kilt and the girls all own a floor-length gown, a cocktail dress, a flapper dress, a WWII era dress, a 1950s style dress, and a Regency ball gown. We use all of them.) and came in costume. Kilts, ties, socks, capes and all. We danced (in pairs, to a caller. "Turn your partner by the right hand! Turn your partner by the left hand! Now doesee-doe. Join hands and circle to the left!" etc.) 'till eleven then staggered home to bed with rug (sock?) burns on the bottoms of our feet.

That's why we haven't posted in the last few days. Susan and I were prostrate with the amazingness of our weekend activities.

The moral of the story is if you get the opportunity to go to a Pipes and Drums concert, go. It will be awesome. Just remember to bring dancing shoes and ear plugs.


  1. That is amazing. The school you go to must really be something. I hope your cultural experience there continues to be amazing.

    1. I'm sure it will. The Regency Ball (put on by our Cravats and Bluestockings Club, who also hosts English Naval battle reenactments on the school's pond) is in two weeks. I'm going to get to wear the empire-waist dress I made my freshman year in high school in public and not have people look at me funny.