That being said, I have just returned from yet another trip to Portland with Travis to a) hang out and visit his family; b) for Travis to attend a band practice and c) for me to teach some lessons. After the longest trip ever via ferry, bus and train, we were welcomed at the home of Joe Hewitt for the weekend.
Joe, a pivotal member of the Portland piping and drumming community, is one of the nicest fellas you will ever meet and a gracious host. He, along with Jeff and Robbi Brewer, nurtured the bagpiping and drumming youth around Oregon and formed the Sir James MacDonald Pipe Band organization that has been running strong for years. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons, Sir James will not be competing this season...although Joe is now a part of another youth movement with the Portland Metro Pipe Band. In the past few years, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the kids that are now part of the Portland Metro Youth drum corps and was able to see them again on this trip. I was astounded at the leaps and bounds of improvement they have made in a short time. A lightbulb must have went off somewhere because these kids have matured rapidly and are having piles of fun! Nice to see.
The other part of my weekend was spent with the Clan MacLeay drum corps. This band is one of the oldest running pipe bands in North America, mainly being a performance band. This season, they will not be fielding a competition band but the drummers that attended Saturday's session were enthusiastic and willing to apply new tunes and concepts. A really nice group of people - I think it's safe to say that we all enjoyed ourselves!
Thanks to everyone who made the trip to PDX a great one!
While I was in Portland and the boys were at home preparing for this weekend - their annual Piobaireachd weekend with Andrew Wright in Washington - Mom was in Vegas....more on that soon.