Blandford’s Returning to Glasgow!
We are excited to announce that our Grade III band will be traveling to Scotland in 2024 to take on the World Pipe Band Championships! Please be on the lookout for more information and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
The Band had a wonderful time at the Las Vegas Highland Games last weekend; we were very excited to take home the awards for best drum corps, best pipe corps, and aggregate Grade III champion having taken first place in both sets. Thank you to all of our family and friends for helping us get to this point. A special shout out to our instructor Seumas Coyne for helping set our tone over the weekend.
Thank you to The Big Rab Show team for capturing our MSR and Medley performances!
We are super excited to be playing this weekend in Griffith Park to publicly debut our 2023 Grade III competition sets. Performances begin at 10:15 AM; we will be playing at 10:55 AM and 12:05 PM. Can’t wait to see all of our friends and supporters there to show off what we have been hard at work on.
The 2023 competition season is rapidly approaching and we are eager to get back into the competition circle. This year you will catch us at:
Las Vegas Highland Games, April 15-16, Craig Ranch Regional Park, North Las Vegas, NV
Scottish Fest, May 27-28, Orange County Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, CA
Chicago Scottish Festival & Highland Games, June 17, Hamilton Lakes, Itasca, IL
Caledonian Club of San Francisco’s Scottish Highland Gathering & Games, September 2-3, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA
Please stop by our band tent and say hi, can’t wait to see you all there!
We have started a training program for bagpipers and drummers looking to develop their current skills or looking to learn. Sessions are held twice a week, Wednesdays from 5:15 – 7:15 PM for drummers at Upland High School, 6 – 8 PM for pipers on Zoom, and Sundays 12 – 2 PM at Upland High School. For more info or to sign up, reach out to: Alex and Tiana at email@example.com for the piping classes or Mario at firstname.lastname@example.org for the drumming classes.
Martha Hall and Justin Hall, the dynamic husband and wife duo, have decided to step down after leading the band for the past seven seasons so they may spend more time with their family. With this transition, Alexander Walker and Carl McEntire will step up as the new Pipe Major and Drum Sergeant, respectively. The transition was formalized at the band’s Annual General Meeting in November, 2022.
Alexander joined the band in late 2019 and has been Pipe Sergeant since January of 2021. This will be Alexander’s first time leading a band to which he said: “I am beyond excited to lead KRB into its next chapter and couldn’t be happier to be doing what I love with such a supportive, talented group of musicians.
“I want to sincerely thank Martha and Justin for everything they’ve done for the band over all these years. Carl and I are incredibly lucky to inherit such a strong program, and thanks to their efforts we are in an excellent position to keep pushing the band forward for generations to come.”
Martha joined the band in 1994 and had been Pipe Major since 2016, after holding many leadership positions within the organization over the years. She will remain with the band as Pipe Sergeant, saying “I am excited about Alexander and Carls’ musical ideas and am really looking forward to supporting them to make these a reality. Really happy that I can spend more time with my family and can focus more on building the local Upland High School Pipe Band youth program.”
Carl is rejoining the band after 21 years away from pipe bands. He originally joined the band in 1997 and was Drum Sergeant in 1999. On his second opportunity to lead the drum corps he shared: “Justin and Martha have done a fabulous job leading this band and keeping us in competition ready form; I am inspired by what they have established and will continue their commitment to honoring Kevin’s legacy.”
Justin joined the band in 1994 as Drum Major before taking up the snare drum in 1995. He was Drum Sergeant from 2002 to 2004, and again since 2016. Justin will remain in the drum corps saying “I am looking forward to using my experience to help Carl achieve the goals he has set forth for the corps.”
The band is excited to welcome back these long time members, thrilled to tackle the 2023 season with the new leadership, and eager to return to the Glasgow Green in 2024.
Thank you everyone who was able to come to Claremont or join our livestream of our third Celtic Christmas Concert. The video of the concert is available here just in case you missed it or want to re-watch your favorite moment.
We will return for a fourth Celtic Christmas on December 10th, 2023; we are looking forward to seeing you all again then!
We are starting a training program for drummers looking to develop their current skills or looking to learn. Sessions will be held twice a week, Wednesdays from 3:15 – 5:15 pm and Sundays 12 – 2 pm. Sessions will cover reading and writing drum scores. For more info or to sign up, reach out to Mario at email@example.com
Celtic Christmas Concert returns December 11th at 3pm! Held once again at the lovely Claremont United Church of Christ in Claremont, CA.
This Celtic Christmas is the third in an annual Christmastime concert series and the seventeenth presentation of a concert by the Blandford Band in memory of Pipe Major Kevin R. Blandford. The band will present traditional bagpipe and drum music along with original arrangements for organ and bagpipes by Jeffrey H. Rickard and Kevin R. Blandford. Matt Keating, director of the Claremont Community School of Music, will conduct the bagpipe, brass, and percussion ensemble to complement the Church’s Glatter-Goetz/Rosales organ. The young talents of the Glendora and Upland High Schools’ Pipe Bands and Highland Dancers Colten Kraus, Eilidh Kraus, and Weston Kraus will be featured in the show too! The concert is rapidly becoming a Christmastime tradition for Celtic music lovers throughout the Inland Empire.
Tickets are on sale now in our website store, $5 off until November 11th.
Our bands have been busy recently.
Our Grade 4 band made their 2022 competition debut at the San Diego Scottish Games in Vista, CA last month. They took second place out of three bands that played that day. Many of the members were making their competition debut, very proud of them and the hard work they put in to making this happen.
Our Grade 3 band traveled up to Monterey for the Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival last weekend. The band placed second in the Medley and third in the MSR. We enjoyed playing for the Drum Major contest both days, the Roddy MacKay Memorial Marching & Deportment Parade contest, and the famous Monterey Ceilidh. We are looking forward to making regular trips back to Monterey.
We are excited to be back competing again! This year we have attended the Costa Mesa Highland Games in Southern California and we have traveled to Nevada for the Las Vegas Highland Games and Arizona for the Phoenix Highland Games. It has been a successful season thus far, most recently taking 1st place in the Grade 3 Medley contest and 2nd place in the Grade 3 MSR contest at the Costa Mesa Scottish Fest. Next up is the San Diego Highland Games in Vista, CA June 25 – 26th, see you all there!
Our Grade 3 band will be at Scottish Fest this weekend at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa!
This is the first competition of the season in Southern California and we are very much looking forward to seeing all our friends and family there.
Gates open at 10 am, some of our members are competing in solo competitions in the mornings while the band will be competing in the afternoons.
Saturday’s Grade 3 MSR contest begins at 4:00 pm, we are fourth on at 4:30 pm
Sunday’s Grade 3 Time Limit Medley contest begins at 3:10 pm, we are second on at 3:20 pm
Tickets can be bought here while schedules for other musical performances can be found here.
Please stop by our band tent and say hi, can’t wait to see you all there!
The 2022 competition season is nearly upon us, we are super excited! The band will be going to following Scottish Highland Games this year:
Phoenix Scottish Games, March 5-6, Gilbert Regional Park, Gilbert, AZ
Las Vegas Highland Games, April 9-10, Floyd Lamb Park, Las Vegas, NV
Scottish Fest, May 28-29, Orange County Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, CA
San Diego Scottish Highland Games, June 25-26, Brengle Terrace Park, Vista, CA
Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival, July 16-17, Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA
Caledonian Club of San Francisco’s Scottish Highland Gathering & Games, September 3-4, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA
Seaside Highland Games, October 8-9, Ventura Fair Grounds, Ventura, CA
Please stop by our band tent and say hi, can’t wait to see you all there!
Thank you everyone who supported our band by watching our presentation of Celtic Christmas on December 12th, whether at Claremont United Church of Christ or online. The concert is available on YouTube in case you missed it on the day or wish to watch your favorite parts again. We wish everyone a peaceful holiday season and a happy New Year.
This interview originally appeared on Bagpipe.News on September 15, 2021, and was republished with permission.
Where are you from and how did you get into piping?
My name is Martha Srisamai Hall and I am originally from Upland, California. While in middle school, I heard bagpipes for the first time at an Upland High School football game. The summer before my first year of high school I joined the marching band with my friend, Tony Sewell. He suggested I learn the bagpipes with him and we have been playing ever since. In fact, we currently play in our first competition pipe band together.
How has the pandemic affected your piping personally?
Being the Pipe Major of a band means that I often need to spend my time helping others prepare for various competitions. I truly miss playing in person with my friends but the bright side of this pandemic is that I have time to focus on improving my own playing. During this time, I have attended two online piping schools, invited world class instructors to do workshops for my band, competed in three online solo contests and even competed in a piobaireachd contest for the very first time. I have enjoyed learning music just to play it for myself. I have learned how to write harmonies and play a crunluath a-mach! All this being said, I can’t wait to play with my band mates again and apply all of my new and improved skills.
When you travel is there something you particularly miss when away?
When I travel, I miss my kids, my bed, my ‘Mom’ van, and home-cooked food. I usually don’t miss my husband because he is the Drum Sergeant of my band so we travel together.
Do you have a set practice routine you could share with readers?
Being a mother and college professor, my practice routine is not as regular as I would like. During the week it is difficult for me to find time to practice but I do try to play parts of tunes on my practice chanter between classes or before my girls come home from school. I get most of my practicing done on the weekends. When I do practice, I usually focus on one or two things that I would like to improve. I record myself often so that I can hear what others hear when I play. I especially like to listen to my expression and tone. Honestly, the more I practice, the more I realise I need to practice. And the more I play, the more I want to play.
What’s your most memorable performance you’ve taken part in, either band or solo?
In 2017, my band played on Glasgow Green at the World Pipe Band Championships. When we made it to the Grade 3B finals, our medley performance was memorable. We had worked so hard to travel across the pond and we just wanted to play well. We had a few high school kids in the band and it was so exciting that all of us played in the medley. I’ll never forget that moment. We all played really well and ended up placing sixth. I was so nervous to lead the band but our coach, Bruce Gandy made me feel so confident that I didn’t even get butterflies during that performance.
Who has been the biggest influence on your piping?
It really is hard to narrow down to my biggest influence in piping because I think it depends on the stage of my life. The late Kevin Blandford was my first teacher and he helped me develop into the piper/leader/person I am today. He encouraged and inspired me to play outside of the box with innovative compositions rich in harmonies and ambitious endings. During my college years, I took lessons from Ian Whitelaw and he helped me improve my technique and expression. More recently, Seumas Coyne, Jack Lee, Bruce Gandy, and Dani Millar are my biggest piping influences. They are all so talented and yet willing to teach me. They inspire me to play better.
How do you relax and do you have other interests or hobbies?
Pre-pandemic I used to relax by going to Disneyland. I would often go alone and get on rides, eat churros [fried dough – Editor], and watch various performances. Lately, my family and I have enjoyed going on bike rides on a nearby trail. I love to read audio books, do puzzles, play board games, go to the beach, and watch shows on Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu.
What’s your favourite destination, either for a holiday or on a piping trip?
My favourite holiday destination is New York City. Every Christmas (pre-pandemic), my band performs in the Pipes of Christmas concerts (in NYC and New Jersey) produced by the Clan Currie Society. This event is so wonderful because we play with organ and brass. I love going there during the holiday season because everything is decorated so beautifully. I also enjoy going there because the cast and producers have become family so it is nice to catch up with them every year. Another reason I love this destination is for Broadway musicals, of course!
Do you recall the very first competition you competed in?
My first competition was on practice chanter at the Prado Games in Chino, California. I played the The Green Hills of Tyrol. I placed third out of three. I think the year was 1993.
Favour piece of ceòl mòr?
MacMhurrich’s Salute. It is the first piece I’ve competed with and it is just beautiful to me.
Any humorous piping anecdote you can relate to the readers (keep it clean!)?
I often tell people that I have two talents. I am good at making people cry and I am good at putting people to sleep. I make people cry when I play my pipes and I put people to sleep with my math lessons! Maybe I shouldn’t boast about these things? Ha!
- Thank you, Martha!