Participating in the World Competition of Pipe Bands in Glasgow, Scotland, gave a big boost to the confidence of the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band from Carson City.
"If you can compete at the Worlds and not fall apart, you can do just about anything," said John LoGiurato, president of the group and drummer.
"If you look at our standings, we were pretty consistent throughout the competitions."
LoGiurato said the band came in just under the gun with only one minute to tune their pipes and head to the competition. They had arrived 45 minutes late.
The group was staying about 40 miles away in the dorms at Stirling University in Stirling. Their coach driver went to the wrong area of the university to pick them up. The delay nearly cost them their performance time.
"Everyone just held it together," he added. "They did great under pressure. We didn't get to savor the moment, but we did later.
"You only get one shot at the Worlds. If you miss it, it's over."
Fifteen members of the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band were joined by three members of the Black Bear Clan Pipe Band from Lake Tahoe. They performed "Duncan MacInnes" and "The Haughs of Cromdale," for a quick march at the Worlds.
"The tempos (of the music) were considered too slow by the judges," said Robert Bledsaw, a six-year member of the band.
"There are two types of competition. The first is the quick march medley, which is what we played for Worlds. The second is a timed competition. You can play an assortment of tunes, but it must be within a certain time frame."
LoGiurato said they learned the quirks of some of the judges.
"Piping is taken more seriously than drumming, for one," LoGiurato said. "We knew about some of our errors. But were pleased overall with how we did."
Final standings from each event were: World Championship, 18th; Perth, 9th; Rothesay, 10th; Crieff, 11th. Overall, they scored better than five Scottish bands, two U.S. bands and a Canadian band, and placed 12th of 22 in the ensemble category.
Member Ron James said one of the more memorable experiences was the band's departure from the games in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. The band marched through the historic community, past Rothesay Castle to the dock to pick up the ferry.
"The band played 'Yankee Doodle,' uncertain how it would be received," James said.
"Our pipe major, Burch Palmer, said he expected a cabbage to be thrown at the side of his head. But he was pleased to see puzzled looks turn to delight when the people recognized what they were playing.
"Amidst enormous grins, they actually started singing along so loudly we could hear the crowd over the pipes. No mean feat."
Bledsaw and LoGiurato agreed in order to return to Scotland for competition - and everyone wants to - they will need to find a sponsor. The group raised money for the trip through public performances, private donations, selling their merchandise, and money already in an account. LoGiurato spent seven months making arrangements.
"It cost about $32,000 to go to Scotland," LoGiurato said. "We raised $30,000.
"Everybody wants to go back. We'll know what to expect and we'll be better prepared."
The band's next performance in Northern Nevada will be in the Nevada Day Parade on Oct. 29. Their next competition will be Sept. 24 at the Dixon Scottish Games in Dixon, Calif., at the fairgrounds.
For information, visit www.sierrahighlanders.pipeband.com.
n Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.