When And How Do You Address People Formally Protocol for Piping a Formal Dinner: A Ceremonial Guide for Highland Bagpipers

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Protocol for Piping a Formal Dinner: A Ceremonial Guide for Highland Bagpipers

It is believed that the practice of dining began in monasteries, was adopted by early universities, and later spread to military units after the establishment of officers’ messes. British officers of the 19th century came from the aristocracy, and although they considered themselves gentlemen, they were not necessarily men of means; Third and fourth sons were less likely to receive inheritance and hereditary lands. Although the pooling of resources was out of economic necessity, the regimental officer’s mess maintained the social stratification of English society and the traditions of polite behavior continued and extended to junior officers. The primary elements are a strictly formal setting, esprit de corps and camaraderie of peers, fine dinners, traditional toasts to heads of state and military services, martial music and the presence of honored guests or speakers. Today, although the purpose of a dinner may be to celebrate a gift, promotion, retirement, or some auspicious occasion, the central theme of such events is a formal focus on the history of the host institution.

Although the tradition of placing a piper on a high table originated in the clan system of Scotland and Ireland, formal dining and ceremonial dining as we know it today is directly attributable to the traditions of officer messes in the British Army and the Royal Navy. Originally the fife and dholki or trumpet were employed; As Highland regiments were organized, pipers were used not only for this purpose but also to celebrate the great battles and victories of the regiment’s history and to commemorate their dead in Celtic bardic tradition. It should be noted that originally the army pipers were outfitted and not paid for by the exchequer but only through the confusion of the officers; Without their patronage, the modern Highland Regiment would never have had a piper, and without the Army to maintain and create this tradition the Great Highland Bagpipe would be as familiar to most people today as the Zampogna.

When a piper is requested to play calls and music at a formal dinner, you will be busy performing at the dinner; To provide limited performance such as pipe in head table, pipe the lament and/or pipe in port; Or just pipe into the head table and leave. Although there are many different traditions associated with formal dining, the following are some of the customs associated with formal dinners. You may be requested to submit some, all or some of them on occasion.

costume

Such events are always formal, requiring black tie, sometimes white tie, or full parade regalia. Small decorations and medals are worn. If flying a pipe banner, make sure the drone cord and/or ribbon is to the left of the banner; That is, not above the regimental crest. If there is more than one piper, the banner is traditionally flown by the ranking piper present, who will lead the contingent formed in order of rank or seniority.

sit down

Seating arrangements at the head table are always based on rank, seniority and status. The host sits in the middle, the next senior person (or guest of honor) to his/her right, the next senior person to his/her left, and so on, until all are seated. The senior ranking member of the mess is the head (or “chairman”) of the mess dinner and sits in the center. The president of the mess may appoint another (“Mr. Vice”), usually a junior officer of the mess, who is in charge of planning and who usually occupies the seat farthest from the host, sometimes to the far right. Sometimes at another table. Officials take priority over citizens. If the guest speaker has no rank or rank, he/she is placed as close to the center (to the right of the host) as possible without offending rank preference. Chaplains are usually seated at the head table, usually to the immediate left of the president.

Warning call

15 minute and 5 minute warning calls are usually sounded to notify guests that dinner is about to be served and may be provided by a piper. Piping warning calls require a short up-tempo tune but no specific title can be determined. In some regiments it would be the officers’ call (eg, “All the blue bonnets are over the border”). Naval tradition is to ring “six bells” (19:00) on the ship’s bell for a 15-minute warning (if dining at 7:15 p.m., of course). Dinner may be signaled by a brief pipe tune (“Bros and Butter” is traditional), after which the host or master of ceremonies announces, “Dinner is served!”

March-in

Guests (except at the head table) will enter the dining room and stand behind their chairs; The closer to the top table, the higher the rank or seniority. You may be requested to pipe in guests. The head table consists of a seating order, headed by the host and the chief guest. When cued, lead the head table people into the dining room playing the appropriate tune; “Roast Beef of Old England”, “A Man’s a Man for All That”, “Prince of Denmark’s March”, or Regimental March. If space permits, parade counter-clockwise around the room. This is especially important when flying a drone banner. The regimental crest on the front of the banner is always displayed first. When everyone is in place, continue marching and finish playing at a stop near the entrance to the dining room. At the host’s signal, stop playing and pay attention until grace is said. If you are not going to play music during dinner, leave the room after the grace.

Posting color

may post an honor guard and retire the colors; As a piper you may be asked to move them in and out. Since the American and Canadian national anthems cannot be properly played on the pipes, other suitable patriotic tunes must be chosen. If you are marching with a color guard, first make sure you are rehearsed in their drill; They march in close sequence with wheel movements to change direction. Of course, if it’s not playing, put the pipe down for the national anthem and pay attention. If you are flying a drone banner, watch the color guard and drop your bass drone horizontally when the color dips.

Lament

In some military and veterans organizations it is customary to remember comrades killed in action, sometimes in an empty space, sometimes by placing a small table in front of the head table. You may be requested to mourn their memory. “Flowers of the Forest” is traditional, but other laments can work just as well if the host doesn’t prefer it.

Piping in the beef

In some traditions, the main course (traditionally beef) is ceremonially piped in to the head table (or “Mr. Vice”), who will sample it and formally declare it fit for consumption. “Roast Beef of Old England” or “A Man’s a Man for All That” may be used if not played before to pipe into the head table. You can also take out the beef.

Piping in the Haggis

If haggis is served (such as a Burns dinner), pass the haggis at the head table with “A man a man for all that”. Look out for a reading of Burn’s “Address to a Haggis” and join in a toast to his “immortal memory.” Break out the haggis for “Neil Gove’s Farewell to Whisky”.

Main course music

Wait until all is paid at the head table before starting to play intermittent fair picks in the main course. Pyobyarchad is often considered customary. If parading around the room, it is customary to start “widdershins”; counterclockwise. If flying a pipe banner, it may also be appropriate to counter-march, to display the unit crest on the front. Before serving the port wine, the host/representative will signal you to stop playing.

Piping in port

Piping port wine for a loyal toast is an old custom. After dessert and coffee are served, tables are cleared except for table decorations and wine glasses. Special music is not necessary, but it should be short and appropriate. As instructed, lead the wine stewards into the dining room, place yourself in a predetermined spot, and continue playing until the wine is sampled and declared drinkable by the host. A piper plays as guests charge their glasses and sometimes pass under the port table. Pay attention until the loyal toast is drunk and then march out of the room if the toast doesn’t need to be in the corps.

Loyal toast

At a Commonwealth dinner (or if UK guests are present), you may be requested to play “God Save the Queen” before the Loyal Toast. The person proposing the toast will ask everyone to stand and ask the Queen to join in the toast. The member will then raise his/her wineglass to the shoulder and say: “The Queen”. The Assembly will respond: “Queen”.

If there is an American dinner, the host may propose a toast to the Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Vice, rising and addressing the company, said, “Gentlemen, Commander-in-Chief of the United States.” Each member and guest then stands, repeats the toast (eg, “Commander-in-Chief of the United States”), takes a drink, and stands. The band then plays the National Anthem. If piping, play “America the Beautiful” or “God Bless America.” At the end of the music, members and guests are seated again.

A toast to the corps

You may be requested to play a regimental march before the Toast to the Corps. Unfortunately, the only American regimental marches that “fit” the pipes are “Marine Corps Hymn” and “Semper Paratus”.

Paying the piper

At the end of your performance, the host may offer you (or the lead piper) a quache containing a dram (about 3.5 ml) of whiskey. Stand to the left of the host. Holding the quach in both hands, hold it shoulder high and face the head table. It is traditional for the piper to toast the head table (Sláinte! “to your health” in Gaelic; phonetically Slanjer or Slanja), approach the company and offer a formal toast. After the toast, you’re supposed to drink the whiskey in a single draught, toast the company (Sláinte!), and flip the cup over and kiss the bottom. After the ceremony, take leave of the head table and leave the room. Unless you’re Gaelic, you’re better off offering your formal toasts in English.

The traditional pipe major’s toast of Liverpool Scottish may be adapted for various events;

Gaelic


Slante Mhor, Slante Banrighin

Slante Agus Buidh Th Brth

Le Gillian Forbes.

Phonetic


Slangerva, Slanger Banrin

Slanjer aggus booey goo bra

la Gillian Forbusach

English


Good health, health to the queen

Health and success always

Forbes for Kids

conclusion

At the end of the dinner, you may be requested to play the national anthem. Since “The Star Spangled Banner” or “Oh Canada” cannot be played successfully over the pipes’ limited tonal range, play “America the Beautiful” or “Maple Leaf Forever” instead. Of course, if it’s not playing, put the pipe down for the national anthem and pay attention. If you’re flying a drone banner, watch the color guard and drop your bass drone horizontally when it dips in color.

Duty Tune of the 48th Highlanders of Canada

Officers’ Mess Call (15 minutes)

“Bannock and Barley Meal”

Meal Call (5 minutes)

“Caller Herrin”

Pipe in the guest

“Lieutenant Colonel Robertson”

Pipe in head table

“Highland Lady”

Lament

“Forest Flowers”

First Set (Main Course)

Ends with “Highland Laddy”.

Second Set (Dessert)

Ends with “Lieutenant Colonel Robertson”.

Pipe Major Toast:

Host:

A Mhàidseir na pòipa, òlamaid deoch-slàinte!

(Pipe major, let’s drink a toast)

Pipe Major’s Answer:

A h-uile latha a chì’s nach fhaic, an dà rịiềmh ‘sa h-ochd gu brath! Slàinte Don Bhànrigh! Slàinte Mhòr! Slante!

(Every day I see you, or I don’t see you, 48 forever! Hail to the Queen! Good health! Hail!)

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