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What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?


I admit it, I am not good with names. If I see you at the games, I’ll probably say something like "Hey man, good to see ya". We’ll chat, but all the while I’ll be thinking "name . . . name . . . name . . ." I’ll be half-way back to the band tent before I remember, of course, that was Gordon MacGregor!

It was a few years back, when I was a new Grade 2 player and had to submit two tunes. I approached my judge who asked what tunes I had for him. I announced the first one, and then . . . Blank. Stare. Think. Think hard. Still blank. I just played it a thousand times, what’s the name? I apologized. I tried to sing a bit for him. (Note to self: work on that canterreachd, dude!) Neither of us had a clue. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it came to me, he wrote it down, and I got started. Nerves probably caused the forgetfulness, which increased my stress levels even more. As you can probably guess, my playing was not my best.

At the next games I attended a few weeks later, same scenario. I approached the judge who asked for my tune. This time, I was prepared with a strategy. I confidently pulled a 3x5 index card out of my sporran. On it I had written the names and composers of all my tunes for the day, prepared days earlier. On the back, I had written what I learned at registration time that morning: approximate play time, judges name and tent number for each of my events. I was ready!

I played well that day.


Tom Crawford Tom Crawford is Pipe Major for North Atlanta Pipes & Drums and a piping instructor in Marietta GA. He’s been piping since 2000, when he began his studies with Winter Taylor. Tom has played rock, blues, country and Celtic music for nearly 50 years. He’s been a member of Keltic Kudzu since 2006, where he plays mandolin, bouzouki, whistle, and of course pipes. Tom has played and competed up and down the Atlantic coast, as well as in Canada and Ireland.